WHAT IS ROUND DANCING?
By Ken Boyd ( Kelowna BC)
I was asked the other day to write a brief article about Round Dancing. Why me? Well, I started square and round dancing as a teen over 25 years ago. I LOVE THEM BOTH. My wife and I are out doing one or the other several nights a week. We teach 2 round dance classes a week and I am the round dance cuer for the Westsyde Squares in Kelowna. We always try to make round dancing as enjoyable as possible, particularly during lessons and, for the most part, I think we accomplish our goal.
If I had to describe Round Dancing, in a dictionary like manner, I would so in this way: 1) Couples dancing, based on popular ballroom rhythms, with a carefully choreographed routine to fit each piece of music; 2) a challenging recreation centering around rhythmic, co-ordinated movement with side benefits of both mental stimulation and physical fitness.
Sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it? Well, it is. And just like square dancing, you get to use your brain, get some exercise, and have fun at the same time.
In his book Let's Dance, Peter Buckman includes the following with his history of square dancing’s development:
"As square dancing developed, waltzes and polkas were woven into the end of each figure, to add variety and a whirl of movement. Gradually, [North] American round dancing combined the rhythms of the waltz and other ballroom favorites, such as the two-step, tango, or even cha-cha, with the steps of the square dance, adding a leader who "cued" the movements as the dancers performed them. Interest in round dancing grew alongside that in square dancing from the 1940s on."
Of course, interest in round dancing has continued to grow. ROUNDALAB (similar to square dancing’s CALLERLAB) was formed and provides a standard base of round dance terminology, teaching and cueing. Levels of round dancing from Phase 1 to Phase 6 were identified. Common at most square dance evenings are round dances at the Phase 2 level consisting of two-steps and waltzes. The CUER provides direction to the round dancers just as the CALLER does to square dancers.
Just as in square dancing, round dances are not limited in the type of music used. You will hear music from the Big Bands, Elvis Presley, LeAnn Rimes and just about everything in between. And the rhythms include rumba, cha-cha, fox trot, jive, bolero, paso doble, quickstep, samba, west coast swing as well as two-step and waltz.
Each dance is carefully choreographed to fit the music which allows the dancers to flow smoothly through each step. Classes are normally available at any phase and the dancers can choose to stop or continue lessons when they are comfortable with the level they have attained.
Round dancing has become an integral part of most square dances. At jamborees and conventions, some halls are normally dedicated just for the round dance enthusiasts. At club and party nights, a round dance (or two) between each tip is often common practice. More and more square dancers every year are adding round dancing to their lists of things to learn and there are many Round Dance clubs across the country.
Round dancing really does "ROUND" out the square dance experience.
B.C. Square & Round Dance Federation Home Page
The Federation website
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Phil Douziech ,
British Columbia Square &
Round Dance Federation in the
hopes of promoting Square
Dancing in British Columbia, Canada.
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