CHELTENHAM AMERICAN SQUARE DANCE CLUB
“Cheltenham Swinging Squares”
WHAT IS SQUARE DANCING?
Square dancing is not done by straw chewing cowboys and their dames!! It is an ideal pastime for keeping the mind and body in good health. We are simply a group of people who enjoy mixing with others, learning new dances and having fun.
No particular skills are needed and no previous dancing experience of any kind is necessary-
Clubs usually dance to recorded sound tracks with a caller who adjusts the choreography the needs of the dancers. At Cheltenham we have been fortunate to have a top caller in the club for 40 years, and this has resulted in the club establishing a good reputation for dancing.
It’s Healthy -
Read more about the health benefits of Square Dancing.
It burns off calories – During an hour of dancing you can burn between 400 and 800. Square dancing combines all the positive aspects of physical exercise because it is low impact and requires the constant movement and agility that keeps the body in shape.
It’s a mental challenge and stress reliever– Reacting quickly to the square dance caller keeps you mentally on your toes.. The mental challenge is similar to completing puzzles and is proven to keep the mind active. Whilst concentrating on the moves you escape from your worries and pressures of the week. It is a proven way to combat stress.
It’s teamwork – Your team of eight dancers depend on each other to keep the dance moving.
It’s sociable – Square dancing contains a social component that solitary fitness endeavours do not. It is very tactile and friendly which contributes to self-
How do you do it?
Four couples form a square and dance a pattern of moves presented to the beat of the music by a caller. As with most activities, lessons are required to learn the basics.
The team of eight follows the calls – the moves flow from one to the next and the dancers move smoothly around the square changing partners as they go, and as the pattern concludes everyone finishes back with their original partner.
What skills do you need?
Absolutely none other than a willingness to learn, the time to keep up classes for 9 months, the tolerance to work as a team member and know we all make mistakes. Being a non-
And once I have learned the basic moves?
Once the basic moves have been mastered, a dancer is enabled to graduate and this opens up many opportunities to travel to other club dances, usually Saturday evenings, when a visiting caller leads the dancing. Local dances attract between 60 and 120 dancers. There are organised dance weekends, where dancers from all over the country meet and accommodation is arranged in a hotel, holiday park, caravan park or college etc.
Square dancing calls are categorised at different levels. When you graduate, you are said to have completed the mainstream moves. At Cheltenham we have many dancers who have learned also the next tier of moves called ‘plus’ level. The club will teach you these moves on a Friday evening after you have been dancing for a couple of years if you are interested. We meet also on Wednesday evenings to dance only plus level dances. There is then more levels above this, but currently anyone interested would ned to travel to the Bristol area to learn them.
Most dancers enjoy the challenge of mainstream and plus. Because square dancing depends on teamwork for success, once you have learned the mainstream moves, you will find yourself teaching the next generation of new dancers-
The Square Dance community need a regular supply of willing volunteers to learn to call, for the enthusiast there is a lifetime of challenge and money to be earned by becoming a caller.
A1, A2, C1, C2……
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