Square Dance Merced

Learn to Square Dance

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Currently, The crossing at the tracks (D Street Crossing) is closed for repairs.

From the North:

You can still use the Yosemite Exit, then Follow 16th down to G Street, turn Left, over the tracks and turn Left again onto 15th street.

Where 15th meets B Street, is Stratford and Evans.

Turn in at the iron gates and the Hall is on the Left.

Note: MLK (187B) is NOT a friendly exit during high traffic times. Use the Yosemite exit and be happy!

From the South:

Skip the Yosemite Exit and use the next 186C Exit and then Follow 16th down to G Street, turn Left, over the tracks and turn Left again onto 15th street.

Where 15th meets B Street, is Stratford and Evans.

Turn in at the iron gates and the Hall is on the Left.

This article is from Eastern Ontario Square Dance Club.

Reprinted from Mayo Clinic Health Letter January 1994

SOCIAL DANCING

“Jazz up your fitness routine with a regular dose of dancing!

Evelyn resolved that in the New Year she’d exercise regularly. But it’s only the beginning of the New Year and she’s already bored with her new stationary bike. The rowing machine and treadmill at the YMCA held little appeal. When a friend coaxed her to go along for an evening of free dance lessons, she realized exercise doesn’t have to be a chore.

It’s true. Whether you’re swirling across the dance floor to a Strauss Waltz or doing do-si-dos to the commands of a square dance caller, you’re getting exercise – and probably having fun too.

Dancing pairs you up with more than a partner. From burning calories to socializing with friends, dancing offers these health benefits:

Calories – Dancing can burn as many calories as walking, swimming or riding a bicycle. During a half-hour of dancing you can burn between 200 and 400 calories. One factor that determines how many calories you’ll expend is the distance you travel. In, one study, researchers attached pedometers to square dancers and found that each person covered five miles in a single evening.

Cardiovascular Conditioning – Regular exercise can lead to a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol profile. Experts typically recommend 30 – 40 minutes of continuous activity three or four times a week. Dancing may not provide all the conditioning you need, but it can help. The degree of cardiovascular conditioning depends on how vigorously you dance, how long you dance continuously, and how regularly you do it.

Strong Bones – The side to side movements of many dances strengthens your weight bearing bones (tibia, fibula and femur) and can help prevent or slow loss of bone mass (osteoporosis).

Rehabilitation – If you’re recovering from heart or knee surgery, movement may be part of your rehabilitation. Dancing is a positive alternative to aerobic dancing or jogging.

Sociability – Dancing contains a social component that solitary fitness endeavors don’t. It gives you an opportunity to develop strong social ties which contribute to self-esteem and a positive outlook.”

In addition to all this from the Mayo Clinic News Letter, there’s MORE! Square dancing is less costly than a Health Club membership AND …

Dancing nourishes the mind-body connection. With all its moving, twisting, and turning, square dancing provides more than the daily dose of heart- and bone-healthy physical activity. Remembering all the calls — from “do-si-do” to “Allemande” to “Quick Vine Eight”– keeps the mind sharp, potentially staving off age-related memory loss, experts say. And the companionship that regular square dancing is a good antidote for depression and loneliness, a statement confirmed by square-dancing advocates everywhere.

Ready to Dance Your Way to Fitness? You’re tempted, but not sure if you’ve got what it takes? Don’t underestimate yourself. Come to an Open House and find out just how much FUN it is. As you might expect, MEN are the hardest to get in the door … but did you know they are last to leave once they try it.

We have secured the hall for Tuesday evenings!

As anyone knows, we need a place to gather if we are going to Square Dance. The people at Stratford & Evans were kind enough make their hall available to us for Tuesday nights.

Stay-tuned for first night of class to start. We still have to go through the channels with the club to get our ducks in a row.

  • Dress Code For the Activity

Can You Identify the Activity by the Dress code?

Often the dress code is dictated by the activity such as the Biker below where leather helps survive  contact encounters with the pavement. Many times I have stopped by a store on the way to or from a Square Dance with my Square Dance attire on. Many people will instantly recognize and comment on my outfit. If my partner is with me in dress, it is even more impressive to the onlookers. It makes for great advertisement for our activity.

Can you tell what the activity is by dress code in each picture below. Even the silhouettes are identifiable.

Square Dancing

  • Men: Western facsimile long-sleeve shirts. (Ladies don’t like sweaty men’s arms… for that matter, men don’t like ’em either.)
  • Women: Western facsimile dress with a crinoline petticoat and petti pants all in matching colors.

It is common to have matching outfits for the man and the woman. Often a club will have a club dress code whereby all the members have the same matching style and colors.

 

This video does a good job of showing the energy and fun of square dancing.

Having Fun, In Popular Culture, Videos

https://www.reference.com/art-literature/square-dance-clubs-cfb519f5ce40b4c1?aq=the+square+dance&qo=cdpArticles

Best look at learning to square dance reasons

https://squareyourdance.com/

You will find links to Searches for each topic below. Enjoy your research as you read.

Click on the (-) to the right of the line below to compress…

George Washington

Yes, the one and the same, cofounder of the Constitution of the United States

More Here Than Meets The Eye:

Everyone knows about George Washington’s great accomplishments but few know that he was a Square Dancer. Several engravings still exist depicting our most famous founding father engaged in early forms of Square Dancing.

Link: “George Washington”+”Square Dance”

Henry Ford

Yes, he invented the assembly-line for automobiles, but did you know he is also responsible for saving and preserving Square Dancing.

Ford dedicated vast amounts of his money and resources to documenting, promoting , and preserving square dancing for future generations.

He is also the one responsible for making square dancing a part of the physical education requirement of the public schools.

Search Link: “Henry Ford”+”Square Dance” (Not everyone knows how to spell Henry)

and: “Henery Ford”+”Square Dance”

 

Thomas Edison

First Square Dance Record Producer

We all know Thomas Edison invented the Phonograph, but did you know that the first record ever recorded by Edison Recording Company was a square dance record. The record featured Caller Benjamin Lovett who was employed by Henry Ford.

Link: “Thomas Edison”+”Square Dance”

Glen Campbell

“Gentle On My Mind”

Many people are familiar with this famous song made popular by Glen Campbell. This song was written by the famous American composer John Hartford. John was also known for being a lover of square dancing and a Hoedown Caller.

Link: ” Glen Campbell”+”Square Dance”

Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter credits a rural square dance club he joined in 1953 with helping him win a state Senate seat by a scant 66 votes. President Carter has said that he would have never become President if it wasn’t for Modern Western Style Square Dancing.

Link: “Jimmy Carter”+”Square Dance” Link:

Square Dancing Leads Back To The White House.
On January 25, 1982 the 97th Congress unanimously passed a Joint Resolution designating square dancing as the national folk dance of the United States and on June 1, 1982 President Reagan signed it.

This Resolution was a temporary action which would expire in two years. To make the national recognition permanent the Congress requested that the proponents return to the States for individual state endorsement and when two-thirds of the states complied, reconsideration by Congress would be automatic.

Search Word: “Congress”+”Square Dance”
Link for the text: House Joint Resolution/15

Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan made square dancing the National Folk Dance 1982-1983.

“Ronald Reagan”+”Square Dance” Search link:

Our National Dance and State Dance

Roy Rogers

Roy Rogers began his career as a Square Dance Caller from Ohio by the name of Leonard Slye. When he moved to California he changed his name to Roy Rogers as the movie studio thought it was more fitting for a cowboy. They must have been right since he ultimately become the King of the Cowboys.

Search Word: “Roy Rogers”+”Square Dance”

California Official State Dance

Square Dance is the official California state folk dance.

The law designating the Square Dance as the official California state folk dance is found in the California Government Code, specifically Title 1, Division 2, Chapter 2, Section 421.5b.

GOVERNMENT CODE.
GENERAL PROVISIONS.
TITLE 1. GENERAL.
DIVISION 2. STATE SEAL, FLAG, AND EMBLEMS.
CHAPTER 2. STATE FLAG AND EMBLEMS.
SECTION 420-429.7.

421.5. (a) West Coast Swing Dance is the official state dance.
(b) The Square Dance is the official state folk dance.

GIVE SQUARE DANCING A WHIRL

by Sam Shilmover
14 October 2006

Are you looking for an alternative to going to the gym?
Want an activity that you can do with your entire family?
Want to make some new friends?
Why not give Modern Square Dancing a try?

We all know that exercise is good for you.  Running, aerobics, jazzercising, weight lifting, event sports (basketball and tennis) all seem to be hard work.  Isn’t there a form of exercise that is also fun and doesn’t seem like hard work?

Yes there is – it’s called Square Dancing.

Modern Western Square Dancing may be just the activity you have been missing.

According to a 1994 Mayo Clinic Health Letter :

“Dancing can burn as many calories as walking, swimming or riding a bicycle. During a half-hour of dancing you can burn between 200 and 400 calories. One factor that determines how many calories you’ll expend is the distance you travel. In, one study, researchers attached pedometers to square dancers and found that each person covered five miles in a single evening. Regular exercise can lead to a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol profile. Experts typically recommend 30 – 40 minutes of continuous activity three or four times a week. Dancing may not provide all the conditioning you need, but it can help. The degree of cardiovascular conditioning depends on how vigorously you dance, how long you dance continuously, and how regularly you do it. The side-to-side movements of many dances strengthens your weight bearing bones (tibia, fibula and femur) and can help prevent or slow loss of bone mass (osteoporosis). If you’re recovering from heart or knee surgery, movement may be part of your rehabilitation. Dancing is a positive alternative to aerobic dancing or jogging. And finally, Square Dancing contains a social component that solitary fitness endeavors don’t. It gives you an opportunity to develop strong social ties that contribute to self-esteem and a positive outlook.

Square Dancing will Add Ten Years to your life, a surprising study shows:

Dr. Aaron Blackburn states:
“It’s clear that square dancing is the perfect exercise. It combines all positive aspects of intense physical exercise with none of the negative elements.” Dr. Blackburn said square dancing is a low impact activity requiring constant movement and quick directional changes that help keep the body in shape. The study was based on their physical examination which indicated that both female and male square dancers could expect to live well into their 80’s. Square dance movements raise heart rates like many good aerobic exercises should. All the quick changes of direction loosen and tone up the muscles–but not so severally as to cause injury. In square dancing, when you’re not moving, you’re clapping hands and tapping your feet, which all contributes to long-term fitness. “You don’t see a lot of 55 year old basketball players, but that’s just the age when square dancers are hitting their peak”, Dr. Blackburn said.

Good for Body and Mind according to WebMD

(article published July 9, 2001):
With all its moving, twisting, and turning, square dancing provides more than the daily dose of heart- and bone-healthy physical activity. Remembering all the calls — from “dosado” to ‘allemande’ — keeps the mind sharp, potentially staving off age-related memory loss, experts say. And the companionship that regular square dancing offers is an antidote to depression and loneliness, a statement confirmed by square dancing advocates everywhere.

Square dancing is a mental and physical challenge. It is dancing and it is thinking. The goal is to work with the others in your square. Moving in rhythm to the music keeps you physically fit. Reacting to the calls keeps you on your toes. No one knows what move will be called next. Experienced square dance callers teach you the moves and the names of the calls that you dance. You practice these moves until they feel as natural as walking. Then your caller combines the basic moves and steps into whole dance patterns. You (and the others in your square) simply follow the calls. Each arm turn brings a surprise, and as the pattern concludes, all the moves bring you back to your partner. The combination of dance figures is almost endless.

Square Dancing is for people of all ages who are ready to socially interact, it is said that “Square Dancing is Friendship set to Music”.  People of all ages square dance finding it a fun social activity where there are no prizes, no points, no wreathes of laurel, no winners or losers, just a feeling of self-satisfaction and well being. It is intended for everyone to have a good time without the stress of competition.  Dancing contains a social component that solitary fitness endeavors don’t. It gives you an opportunity to develop strong social ties, which contribute to self-esteem and a positive outlook.   Besides the actual square dancing, dancers learn teamwork (yet there are no teams), cooperation, tolerance and patience.  Let’s face it these are all attributes we all could use a little more in our lives.

A side benefit of Square Dancing is while you’re dancing you RELAX, mentally and physically, and completely forget any troubles that may have been plaguing you (bad day at the office, etc.). This pastime is a perfect way to forget your troubles, it is virtually impossible to think of anything else while you square dance. Because of the mental requirements of this activity, dancers forget about the day-to-day worries of the world and concentrate their efforts at making it through the dance.

Though many men avoid dancing in any form, in actuality, square dancing presents very few of the hated elements. Though square dancing is dancing in the sense of partners, trappings, and music, it’s actually like precision drill stepping performed with partners. Instead of a drill sergeant, there is a “Caller” who sings directions set to the music of popular songs. Following the Callers directions, the dancer’s moves are all coordinated. In square dancing, the dancers responsibility is to simply follow the “calls” and be where they are supposed to be at the moment they are supposed to be there. Novices can walk there; energetic dancers can boogie there – according to your mood at the moment.

Come learn to Square Dance. If you can walk you can learn to Square Dance. With most dance forms you have to learn to place your feet in specific arrangements – you have to learn to walk in a different way which is un-natural. This is not so with square dancing. Square dancing is based upon walking in defined directions for defined distances. Which is exactly what walking is. And as walking is one of the most natural things we do – square dancing becomes so easy to learn.

Square Dancing is good clean fun and generally safe, and people of all ages are involved. An evening of this entertainment is inexpensive. You’ll find yourself interacting with everyone from teenagers to the elderly… and you’ll find you all have something in common.

References:

Articles from the Internet:

For Physical & Mental Exercise, Plus Sociability. Try Western Square Dancing. It’s Friendship Set To Music

Do-Sa-Do: Square Dancing and Mindfulness  by Maya Talisman Frost

What is a Square Dancer

Don’t Be a Square — Dance!  Do-Si-Do Fitness   By Denise Mann  WebMD Feature

Learn To Square Dance!

A Brief History Of Square Dancing

Contributing Factors   by Jeff Garbutt

Prevention Magazine mentions Square Dancing as a healthy activity  by Bob Knowles

Dance for the Health of it!  from January 1994 Mayo Clinic Health Letter

Fun with Fitness   Square Up, Slim Down and Promenade the Pounds Away    By Diane Gustwiller; Defiance, Ohio

Dancing will add ten years to your life!

Square Dancing:  The Historical Geography of an American Folk Custom Richard M. MacKinnon  Allan Hancock College    Santa Maria, California

As you Watch the Video, Keep these things in mind:

This is Modern Western Style Square Dancing!
Likely not what you Think! Watch…

  • All age groups represented.
  • Mental as well as Physical exercise!
  • A lot of the Music used, you will recognize as up-to-date and familiar.
  • Club dances as well as Festival & Convention Dances represented in this video.
  • Which means that there is Local in your area as well as out of area opportunities to dance.


In the next video, There is a miss-spelling at 0:01:12!
The Word is “Not“… not “Now” in the phrase on screen “The dancers do now know what the caller is about to command.”

It should read “The dancers do not know what the caller is about to command.”

What is Square Dance?


Square Dance is for everyone!



Step it up a Notch! Square Dance is for everyone!