Round Dancing -- The Best Is Yet To Come!
by Irv &
The Round Dance
activity began as an integral part of the Square Dance world
sixty-plus years ago. Contra and Round Dancing were used to “fill
in” the breaks between Square Dance sets. Short Round Dance
sequences were memorized by the dancers and were repeated many times
throughout each melody played by live musical groups. After World War
II, the Square Dance activity was booming! “Modern” electronic
equipment and vinyl records were readily accessible, and nearly every
U.S. town – large and small – had its own square dance caller.
Family recreation and entertainment was at its peak and so was
Exciting dance music
became available in the new rhythms brought to the U.S. during the
30s, 40s, & 50s. Round Dance routines became more intricate, and
Square Dance callers found that their busy schedules meant there was
insufficient time to adequately prepare for the teaching of both
Squares and Rounds. And so, the birth of the Round Dance Teacher!
Round Dancing has been
strongly influenced by many dance forms: Folk, Ballet, Tap and Jazz,
and International and American Ballroom. Musical rhythms have also
helped to shape the Round Dance programs. In the early days, only
waltz, two step, and polka were danced. In the late 1950s the foxtrot
was introduced and shortly followed by the tango and the Latin
rhythms: cha cha and rumba. It was not until the 1970s that swing
entered the activity. Currently, bolero, mambo, merengue, slow two
step, paso doble, quickstep, and samba are popular dance rhythms.
In 1977, the
International Association of Round Dance Teachers, Inc. was formed.
This “legal not-for-profit Educational Corporation” is referred
to as “Roundalab”. The purpose of Roundalab is to “promote,
protect and perpetuate, through education and standardization, Round
Dancing as a unique activity but also as a complement to the Square
Dance movement.” To this end Round Dancing will continue to grow.
implemented a tremendous influence upon the education of its teachers
and dancers. Standards for rhythms, figures, music, teaching
techniques, and skills have been published and made available for the
general public. Professional videos/DVDs and a website are available.
Techniques and descriptions of foot placement for over 1000 dance
figures are immediately obtainable. This professional teacher
organization is strong in its belief that education is the strength
of the activity.
Round Dancing has a
firm footing as it moves into the 21st century. Its roots are strong
and its goals are reachable. As long as there is music and movement
there will be dancers! The best is yet to come!
& Betty are Charter Members of ROUNDALAB. This article is from
clinic notes from a past convention. It was reprinted in the DRDC newsletter, July/August, 2014.