1. How do I get started square dancing?
Most clubs and their callers hold square dance lessons at least
once a year, and although there are exceptions, most lessons
last about 15 to 20 weeks. The easiest way to get information is
to click the "LEARN
TO DANCE" link at the top left to find lessons close
to you. You can also visit the "GCSDA Clubs" on the Home Page to
get contact information on the club nearest to your home, and
contact the club.
2. How much does square dancing cost?
Once you have taken lessons, you may visit and dance at
any club in the world. Most dances cost about $7 to $10 a
person, depending on the type of dance. Many clubs have a
pitch-in type meal included in the cost, so you can eat and
dance on $10 to $12 dollars a couple.
3. Do I have to wear the typical square dancing clothes?
Most clubs now days have relaxed their rules on square
dance apparel, however there are still some dances where square
dance apparel required. But the typical square dance outfit has
changed somewhat in that prairie skirts may be worn instead of
the square dance dress with a petticoat. This helps hold the
cost of outfits down.
4. Will I be required to join a club?
No, but there are certain benefits to joining a local
club. Most clubs provide insurance to members, and membership
into SARDASA. Clubs also arrange car pooling to local dances.
5. What is a typical dance like?
Most dances consists of 6 tips of square dancing, which
consists of a "hash" call and a "singing" call. The hash call is
where the caller moves the dancers around the square in no
predetermined way. The dancers job is to execute the moves as
the caller calls them and the callers job is to get the dancers
back to their original partner, in their original order. Hash
calls can be lots of fun because nobody knows what call might
come next. The singing call is a little more structured as the
calls must be completed in a certain amount of time because the
music is set at a certain amount of beats. The singing call is
where the caller can really "perform" for the dancers. In
between the 6 tips, most clubs perform either round dancing,
line dancing, or just rest up by socializing before the next
square dance tip. All clubs encourage visitors to their dances,
so a visit to the local club dance would be a great way to see
what a dance is like.
6. What are the physical and mental benefits from Square and
Square Dancing may be the Perfect Exercise
Square dancing is walking at a steady pace (about 120 steps per
minute) to a called pattern with musical accompaniment. The
patterns involve 8 dancers turning and interacting with hands
and arms in response to changing choreography that is called
using a common vocabulary of action names. Square dancing
combines mental concentration with many aspects of good physical
exercise including sustained activity, flexibility, balance and
Square dancers walk between 2 1/2 and 5 miles in a typical
evening of dancing burning calories with every step. Dancing
continuously for 10 to 15 minutes at a time improves
cardiovascular conditioning. Five-minute breaks allow
dancers to socialize with others from diverse backgrounds
who share a common joy. The energy put into dancing has an
effect on heart beat rate, blood pressure, rate of calorie
burn, and cholesterol profile.
We are only part of this big growing activity that is
attracting people of all ages. Contact someone
on your area about how to get started and enjoy the dance.
the content was reprinted excerpt from:
Health Benefits of Square Dancing.
If you secretly sashay across your living room when you're
home alone or long to cha-cha with your significant other,
you're in luck. Not only is dancing an exceptional way to
let loose and have fun, but it also provides some terrific
benefits for your health. In fact, Mayo Clinic researchers
reported that social dancing helps to:
• Reduce stress
• Increase energy
• Improve strength
• Increase muscle tone and coordination
And whether you like to kick up your heals to hip hop,
classical or country, the National
Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says that
• Lower your risk of coronary heart disease
• Decrease blood pressure
• Help you manage your weight
• Strengthen the bones of your legs and hips
Dancing is a unique form of exercise because it provides the
heart-healthy benefits of an aerobic exercise while also
allowing you to engage in a social activity. This is
especially stimulating to the mind, and one 21-year study
published in the New England Journal of Medicine even found
dancing can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other
forms of dementia in the elderly. In the study, participants
over the age of 75 who engaged in reading, dancing and
playing musical instruments and board games once a week had
a 7 percent lower risk of dementia compared to those who did
not. Those who engaged in these activities at least 11 days
a month had a 63 percent lower risk! Interestingly,
dancing was the only physical activity out of 11 in the
study that was associated with a lower risk of dementia.
Said Joe Verghese, a neurologist at Albert Einstein College
of Medicine and a lead researcher of the study, "This is
perhaps because dance music engages the dancer's mind.
"Verghese says dancing may be a triple benefit for the
brain. Not only does the physical aspect of dancing increase
blood flow to the brain, but also the social aspect of the
activity leads to less stress, depression and loneliness.
Further, dancing requires memorizing steps and working with
a partner, both of which provide mental challenges that are
crucial for brain health.
7. How Good of a Workout is Dancing, Really?
The amount of benefit you get from dancing depends
on, like most exercises, the type of dancing you're doing,
how strenuous it is, the duration and your skill level.
Says exercise physiologist Catherine Cram, MS, of
Comprehensive Fitness Consulting in Middleton, Wisconsin,
"Once someone gets to the point where they're getting their
heart rate up, they're actually getting a terrific workout.
Dance is a weight-bearing activity, which builds bones. It's
also "wonderful" for your upper body and strength. "Plus,
dancing requires using muscles that you may not even know
you had. "If you're dancing the foxtrot, you're taking long,
sweeping steps backwards. That's very different than walking
forward on a treadmill or taking a jog around the
neighborhood ... Ballroom dancing works the backs of the
thighs and buttock muscles differently from many other types
of exercise," says Ken Richards, professional dancer and
spokesman for USA Dance, the national governing body of
DanceSport (competitive ballroom dancing).
8. Specific Benefits of Different Dances
If you're looking for specific health results, here's a
breakdown of the benefits of some popular dances. Just remember
that any type of dancing is better than no dancing at all!
Square Dancing —
• Provides cardiovascular conditioning.
• May lead to a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure and an
improved cholesterol profile.
• Strengthens bones.
• Helps you develop strong social ties.
• Loosens and tones muscles.
Round (Ballroom Type) Dancing —
• Conditions the body.
• Helps keep the heart in shape.
• Builds and increases stamina.
• Develops the circulatory system.
• Strengthens and tones legs and body.
• Increases flexibility and balance.
• Helps with weight loss.
• Relieves stress.
Physical benefits aside, dancing has a way of brightening up a
person's day, says ballroom owner and operator Karen Tebeau.
"A lot of times, when people get want to get started, it's
because there's been a change in their life: a divorce or
they've been through a period of depression. They (continue)
coming in, and you see a big change. After a while, they're
walking in with a sunny expression. You know it's the dancing
that's doing that," she says.