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Promenader Editor’s Message — Winter, 2017

Welcome to the Promenader for winter, 2017. With the dance season in full swing now, it’s good to see new folks on the dance floor and, of course, to renew all our dancing friendships.

In this issue

In addition to Club News and listings for Special Events, Class/Club Dances and club Dance Schedules, this issue features photo articles from Batavia Silver Stars, Belles ’N’ Beaus, Village Squares, and Copy Cats. There is also a major theme article on barn dancing in our area over the years.

This issue also includes a reminder to submit nominations for the Daphne-Norma Service Award by the end of February. Nomination guidelines and forms are available on this website (Click HERE). The RAF Awards page has three “clickable” thumbnail images: the Nomination form, as well as a sheet of guidelines and a listing of past recipients. Nominations should be sent to Bob and Alice Hager at the address shown on the form.

In Memoriam

The dancing community has lost two long-time dancers, Jeannette Meagher (widow of caller Bob Meagher) and George Bauerschmidt (long-time member of the Copy Cats), both of whose obituaries appear in this issue.

Rochester Area Federation

The September 23 Fall Friendship Ball drew 56 dancers, 34 of whom stayed for the catered dinner. Dancer questionnaires indicated that all who attended had a good time, and nearly all had good things to say about all aspects of the event.

The RAF plans to hold this dance again next year, most likely in a different location, and hopefully with a lot higher attendance by recent graduates. There was only one 2017 graduate at this year’s Fall Ball.

Echoing Jim Gotta’s appeal (see RAF President’s Corner), the RAF leadership would like to hear from those who did NOT attend this dance, to find out what we can do to make it more appealing, especially to recent graduates.

Following is a compilation of the 41 Fall Friendship Ball 2017 Dancer Survey forms that were turned in. For each question, it gives the number of answers at various points on the rating scale, along with any added written comments:

Question 1 — How was the choice of location? (38 responses)
10 — Excellent / Great / Super / Wonderful
2 — Very good / Very Nice
19 — Ok / Good / Fine / Comfortable
• Nice facility, little warm, not too central, pretty good size
• Remote, but nice
• Nice dance floor
• Easy to find, not to far from EAST side, nice floor, acoustics good
• Very nice place to dance, not too far from Rochester
• A little far away
• Better dance floor more than offsets extra distance

Question 2 — Would you attend next year? (38 responses)
30 — Yes / Sure
4 — Probably / Perhaps / Yes, depending upon location
• Good Lord willing
• Oh yes, love these
• If able
• Yes, if still above ground

Question 3 — What would you have us do differently? (36 responses)
12 — Nothing / Beats me
4 — Hand sanitizer
3 — Get more grads to attend / promote more to new dancers
3 — Tell everyone to look for the jet / better directions/address
2 — There are some vegetarians, maybe you should consider them
• Chicken French
• Wooden floor
• Have snacks and desert
• The air conditioning was great, but could have been lower
• Have air conditioning that works
• Bigger water cups
• Order cool weather, change the room arrangement
• Something other than plain water to drink
• Having great time, no need to change
• The callers were great and so was the format — Kudos
• More help manning table
• Make start time 30 minutes later, 3 hours is a long time

Question 4 — If you did not attend dinner, why not? (24 responses)
13 — Attended / Yes / Very good dinner / Excellent meal
4 — Other commitments / Time constraints / Plans not conducive
2 — I’m vegan, meat for both main dishes
• We will always attend dinner, great meal with great people
• Dinner is served at home, I had big lunch
• Several folks we know had competing square dance events
• Signed up too late
• Cost

Written in comments:
— I really enjoyed when all three callers sang the same song
— Announced tips good for all

Regrettably, the 6p.m. dinner overlapped with Penn Yan’s 7p.m. Open House dance. Maybe this is why we only saw two couples from clubs in the Finger Lakes area. The RAF will try to avoid this conflict next year by scheduling the FFB for Saturday, September 29.

Editorial Comments

I hesitate to say how many emails I received in answer to my question asking for your opinion on whether (and where) you believe “opinion” belongs in the Promenader.

One message I’m getting from talking with dancers in multiple clubs is that most folks just want to have fun dancing. They don’t want to discuss the mechanics or the issues in “square dancing” — which is seen by most as an abstraction that doesn’t have much to do with any particular dance or club. They know it’s important to have an active and energetic dancing community, but they believe — rightly, I think — that it’s enough for most folks to come out regularly to dance and to support the activities of their home club and caller.

So, it seems that those who take it upon themselves to work behind the scenes for the greater good of the “square dance community” need to keep doing things that make dancing fun, and keep up promotion efforts to recruit new dancers into beginner classes.

If that requires re-thinking instruction programs and nudging the culture of “dance level” then those club leaders and callers who set up and manage dance programs should seek one another out and collaborate across clubs. We need to make sure that in our efforts to grow the activity we don’t lose the fun or fragment the existing dance community.

Peter Emmel, Editor

QUARTERLY CHUCKLE … Exercise for People Over 60

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.

With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.

Each day, you’ll find you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags. Then try 50-lb potato bags and eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand and hold your arms out straight for more than a full minute. (I’m at this level now.)

After you feel comfortable at that level, put a potato in each bag.