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Promenader Editor’s Message — Fall, 2017

Welcome to the Promenader for fall, 2017. I hope you’ve had a great summer and found time between the heat and the showers to enjoy our wonderful section of New York State — or wherever you travelled for fun. I also hope you took advantage of the many opportunities to dance!

In this issue:

I was out of circulation most of the summer, but as I understand it there was plenty of dancing to be found. The Cloverleafs and the Bubels danced regularly in Henrietta and the Copy Cats held a series of summer fun events, as did Penn Yan, Shamrock and Waterwheel Squares.

Two articles in this issue cover different aspects of the “mechanics” of organized dancing in our area. Carol Ann Stahl reminds club officers that insurance forms will be available soon and rosters will be due soon after that, and Sharon Meyer shares her thoughts on the challenge of lining up venues for special dances.

This issue also includes an article called “Square Dance Do’s and Don’ts” came from The Central Florida Square and Round Dancers Association website. It contains good advice for all dancers to keep in mind as we begin the new dancing season.

In Memoriam:

Over this summer the dancing community lost Marilyn Andraszek and callers Mike Herne and Jerry Carmen, all of whose obituaries appear in this issue.

Rochester Area Federation:

On September 23, the Federation hosts the second annual Fall Friendship Ball. This is a free afternoon dance geared for all area dancers. It’s a welcome-back kick-off to the 2017–18 season of dancing. This year, a location with a larger hall has been selected. It’s still to the east side of Rochester (Shortsville American Legion) to make it easier for our Finger Lakes area friends to attend. Following the dance will be a catered dinner at $20 per person by the same great caterer as last year. Please send reservation coupons to Peter Emmel with your check. Details and the reservation coupon are on the flyer (Click HERE). (Regrettably, the 6pm dinner overlaps with Penn Yan’s 7pm Open House dance, but maybe the 40-minute drive is short enough to attend the 2pm FBB dance and still get to the Open house with a stop for a bite to eat on the way.)

Editorial Comments:

I’ve been thinking about where “opinion” fits in a publication like the Promenader, and I’ve asked a few others to comment on the question. Responses are mixed, but on balance it’s deemed a good thing to encourage and publish thoughtful opinions.

On the other hand, I’m told that most dancers prefer to “just dance” and not do a lot of talking about it. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, one of the great pleasures of dancing is that it displaces nearly all extraneous and worrying thoughts from our heads and replaces them with a focus on the dance movements themselves and the pleasure of a good time with our friends.

Luckily though, there are also folks who think and talk about the behind-the-scenes mechanics of dancing, such as club operations, teaching/learning programs and the many other aspects that must work together to keep this wonderful activity alive and well.

Square and round dancing are “organized” activities that depend on people to do the organizing. All dancers play at least some organizing role by volunteering to serve as officers and helpers at their home clubs. Many also pitch in to help with such things as setup or cleanup when they are visiting other clubs. A few dancers also volunteer to organize special events or contribute to inter-club coordination through their area Federation.

Another aspect of “organization” is the overall concept of dancing - ensuring the continued availability of instruction and opportunities for practice at all levels. Not everyone will follow the path all the way from novice through club dancing to festival dancing and beyond. But many will, and it’s worth thinking about what it takes to enable that to happen.

In the last issue, I expressed views about certain aspects of that path. My words hurt a few feelings and generated some negative feedback. I did not mean to insult anyone’s dancing skill or contribute to discriminatory feelings among dancers. Obviously, I did not do a very good job of expressing what I wanted to communicate. I apologize for any hard feelings that my clumsy writing has caused and I hope to make it up on the dance floor in the coming season.

Since then, I have read an excellent article by the well-known caller Ed Foote. It appeared this summer in “American Square Dance - The International magazine of Square Dancing.” Ed’s article does a much better job than I did of articulating the points I was trying to make.

More importantly, he explains why it’s vital for clubs to maintain a diverse range of skills and for the emphasis to be on strengthening every dancer’s grasp on the level they are dancing at today, rather than pushing too rapidly to higher levels. With strong encouragement from Ed himself, we plan to include his article in a future issue of the Promenader. In his email to me, Ed also weighed in strongly on the side of including opinion in square dance publications. The main reason he gave was that it promotes a livelier interest in the activity and brings out fresh ideas that contribute to its vitality. Those who would rather “just dance” can ignore whatever debates there might be about how the activity is structured or managed.

I would like to hear YOUR opinion on where opinions should fit in the Promenader. One obvious possibility is to include “Letters To The Editor” among our articles, but there may be others, such as a forum section on the website.

Please send me an email with your opinion on the subject to “promenader@rochester.rr.com.” Note that the Promenader is the newsletter of the Rochester Area Federation, so anything we publish must meet our standards of civility and constructiveness for square and round dancing.

If I receive no mail in response to this appeal, then I suppose I’ll have to conclude that nobody reads this page and I can say whatever I please, without necessarily letting anyone else express their views :-)

Peter Emmel, Editor

Quarterly Chuckles (From Jerry Carmen, RIP): Most Seniors Never Get Enough Exercise …

In His Wisdom, God decreed that seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things, and thus do more walking. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God saw there was another need. In His Wisdom, He made seniors lose coordination so they would drop things, requiring them to bend, reach and stretch. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the function of bladders and decided seniors would have additional calls of nature requiring more trips to the bathroom, thus providing more exercise. And God looked down and saw that it was good

So, if you find that as you age you are getting up and down more, remember it‘s God‘s will. It is all in your best interest even though you mutter and cuss under your breath.

Nine Important Facts to Remember as You Grow Older:

#9 — Death is the number 1 killer in the world.

#8 — Life is sexually transmitted.

#7 — Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which we can die.

#6 — Men have only two motivations: hunger and hanky panky, and they can‘t tell them apart. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.

#5 — Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won‘t bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.

#4 — Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.

#3 — All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

#2 — In the 60‘s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.

#1 — Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today may be a burning issue tomorrow.