Welcome to the fall, 2016, edition of the Promenader. This is the “welcome back after a short hot Rochester summer” issue.
Roving Reporter Dick Halstead brought his camera to the Copy Cats
summer picnic and to the Shamrock Squares ice cream social, and in
this issue he brings to us his lively commentary on both events.
Sharon Meyer contributes photos from summer activities at the
Cloverleafs. Sally Baechle presents the Circle of Service Award to
Ruth & Russ Uhrenholdt.
In a more informational vein, Eileen Webster dispels several myths about Advanced dancing and helps us understand where this level fits in the dancing world. Also, Peter Emmel has updated the guidelines for Banner Stealing — a fun way to encourage dancers to get around to other clubs. Sidney Marshall presents an interesting glimpse under the hood at how the RAF website is constructed.
In the Federation section, RAF President Warren Olson welcomes dancers back after a hot summer that included lots of dancing in our area. He also gives a rundown of upcoming area dancing activities and reminds us to bring new prospective dancers to club Open House events. Please click HERE to read it.
In Memoriam: In this issue we remember Will Minges (Silver Squares) and national caller Tim Marriner.
Summer dancing this year seemed especially lively. I don’t know
how this compares with previous years — since
Sally’s and my summer life centers “north of the
border” — but I was able to attend several of Gary
& Alice Bubel’s Tuesday evening dances in Henrietta where I
found typically 5–6 squares dancing. I heard that Mike
Callahan’s Sunday Cloverleaf dances (in the same
air-conditioned hall) were equally well attended.
Although these are club dances for Boo Bull and Cloverleafs, both evenings are intended as teaching sessions for recent graduates, helping prepare them for the coming club dancing season.
What struck me as particularly important was the number of experienced dancers attending — some to dance and others to serve as angels — and the variety of clubs they represented. I think this level of support and attention from experienced dancers is one of the keys to bring new dancers into long-term club dancing.
Another feature of these sessions was the flexibility of the teaching. The focus was on dancing, not on one level or another. As a result, folks improved their proficiency and comfort in familiar moves and also learned new calls along the way.
Over the summer I heard about numerous dancing opportunities that emphasized fun for dancers at all levels. Jerry Carmen and Gil Porter called “Fun Fest” dances for all and, as you can see from some of the articles in this issue, the Copy Cats and Cloverleafs held a creative series of events that emphasized social fun along with dancing.
The level of participation in these events bodes very well for the health and growth of area clubs.
I hope that this enthusiasm will carry through to a high level of participation in the new Fall Friendship Ball, in Canandaigua on Sept. 24. The dance is free of charge (2 to 5:15 p.m.) and is followed by a catered dinner. The dinner requires reservations and costs $12 per person (paid to Peter Emmel by Sept. 10). Click HERE for the two-page flyer, with clip & send coupon and instructions on how to make dinner reservations.
Teaching in the coming year will see a few changes as well. I
haven’t surveyed all the clubs, but I believe that the Copy
Cats, along with many other area clubs, will hold their traditional
Mainstream classes, while the Village Squares will hold their Plus
The Cloverleafs will introduce a new 12-week format that is gaining popularity in other areas — teaching 50 calls to new dancers September–November, and repeating with new recruits January–March. Along with experienced club members, graduates from the first session will attend and angel the second session, gaining experience and confidence as well as encouraging the newer dancers.
Several readers have asked about a tabulation of area classes. Last year we solicited clubs to send us their class info and schedules. The response was overwhelming — and confusing. Almost every club provides some form of learning opportunity. For some it’s a specific class session on a different day and in a different place than the club’s regular dances. For others it’s a specific teaching session before each regular dance. And for the rest it s an occasional seamless teach woven into each regular dance.
Tabulating this in a useful way proved to be an impossible task. It seems to work better for folks to contact their nearest club and ask about learning opportunities. This is also more in keeping with the way both clubs and prospective dancers think about recruitment and learning — it begins as a local social connection.