by Annette Woodruff
Both in round dancing (and in challenge
square dancing), the lack of a smile has been a recurring reproach.
We don't smile, so we can't possibly enjoy it.
Strangely, you don't hear the same
reproach made to tennis players, golf players, card players, amateur
gardeners, stamp collectors, horse riders, bird watchers, bicycle
racers, painters, musicians, etc. . . .
Somehow, they get away with straight
faces. Nobody has doubts about whether they enjoy painting, playing,
collecting. It is assumed that they enjoy their hobbies even though
there is no smile on their faces as they hit the ball, carefully
place a stamp in an album, adjust their binoculars, or gallop through
A child may laugh with delight, swiftly
coming down the slide, but the same child does not smile when
building a sand castle. There may indeed be a frown on his face, and
he may stick his tongue out a little as he carefully adds a tower to
The answer: concentration and smiles
simply don't go together. So, yes, we may well smile when dancing
Hush and Mexicali Rose, and we probably frown when
dancing The Children or Symphony, but concluding that
we enjoy Mexicali Rose more than The Children would be
quite a mistake. And as experience and self-assurance increase, there
may well be a time when we can do The Children with a big
smile on our faces, which will simply indicate that it is time to
move to something harder to keep us interested and challenged.
Regrettable as it may be for spectators, most of us dance for ourselves, for our own (hidden) enjoyment, for the satisfaction we derive out of performing a routine without mistakes. Often, we don't even notice that there ARE people watching, and if we do, I'm sure that we try to quickly put a momentary smile on our faces for their benefit, but on the whole, we enjoy our activity in a smile-less fashion -- so what?
from and article in the ROUNDALAB Journal,
summer 2000, by Annette Woodruff, in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, October 2011.