Australian 2013 National Square Dance Convention

May 26, 2013

It’s a long time since I posted stuff on this site.  No one has sent me anything to put on this site either.  This article is a bit late because I have been on the road, but…. better late than never!

The dance floor C


The 54th Australian National Square Dance Convention was held this year in the suburb of Niagara, Gosford NSW.  The convention lasted for 5 days starting on Thursday 25th April up to and including Monday 29th April if we include the trail in and trail out dances (which a majority of registered dancers attended).  My wife and I only attended the evening dances over the 5 days because we were located about 35 kilometres from the venue in Toukley (too few caravan parks accept dogs along the coast of NSW) so driving back and forth was limited to one trip per day.

On the floor C


Terminal 1

The principal venue for the dance was called “Terminal 1”, a large hall used for basketball; it was about 4 basket ball courts in size with a sprung wooden floor ideal for dancing.  The sound system coped surprisingly well considering the walls were constructed from corrugated metal.  At the trail in dance I encountered sound problems in one location, after that I did not encounter any spots on the floor where it was difficult to understand the calls.

The program catered for Mainstream, Plus and Advanced Squares (no Challenge) and many levels of Round Dancing (I don’t understand all their codes).  There was also some clogging.  There was a second hall “Terminal 2” which I did not visit, but I did hear a lot of adverse comments about its suitability for square dancing.

Thursday 25th April

This was the trail in dance when everything was put to the test, the marshals, the sound system and the callers.  I found the dancing standard and quality of calling to be in general very good, and this continued for the rest of the convention, my wife and I danced in some very good squares. 

Barry Wonson & Kevin Kelly C


Barry Wonson & Kevin Kelly

Others complained that their squares continually broke down and I did notice some squares having problems especially with the more complex choreography.  We did dance in a couple of squares where we had to “straighten out” one or two novice dancers but we managed to keep going without breaking down.  I should also mention that I was also “straightened out” a few times during the convention.  I did not witness any intervention by the marshals.  I have observed that those who complain about squares breaking down are often those who expect to just dance without helping other dancers of a lower proficiency, I guess you just get out what you put in.

Friday 26th April

Heather & Tony C


Tonight was the night of the opening ceremony, the convention slogan was “the world is small when you see it all” the theme being international travel - the nations of the world.  At the opening ceremony convention flight attendants addressed the audience asking everyone to fasten their seatbelts with further tongue in cheek advice on oxygen masks, lifejackets and other emergency procedures, prior to the conventions official take / lift off.

SA Dancers Group 2 C


Some of the SA Dancers

We met up with a lot more people from South Australia tonight, they who had missed out on the trail in, there would have been around 40 dancers from SA with around 750 dancers in total.  It was a great night, again lots of good callers but from my observation there were a lot of excellent callers who we would have loved to dance to, but they missed out (their faces did not fit?).

Apparently there are so many rules for the selection of callers at a convention as set down by their association and rules for a national convention.  Bureaucracy intervenes!  Why not give the dancers more say in the choice of callers?  After all we are the customers who fund these events. 

Saturday 27th April

Again some great dancing, some great calling and a great night

David Smythe C


David Smythe Calling

Tonight was dress set night and there were many splendid dress sets, I did not record the number but it looks like there were about 30 sets.

Dress Sets On The floor C


The Dress Set Dance

Dress Set 1 C


Adelaide Outlaws Dress Set

Dress Set 2 C


TAWS Dress Set

Sunday  28th April

This was the closing ceremony, essentially many speeches and thankyou’s for those who had helped make the event such a success.  It was also time to introduce next year’s convention to be held in Canberra.  Canberra’s theme is colours and their representatives dressed to impress, we had artists and clowns.

Introducing Canberra 2014 [2] C


Presenting Canberra 2014

During the closing ceremony it was revealed that 752 delegates had registered.  This would yield a potential 94 squares, in reality because around 25% were sitting out or doing administrative stuff; it seems that about 70 squares on the floor was the likely maximum ever achieved

Monday 29th April

We arrived at the square dance venue for the last time, everyone there was very relaxed, in reality most were physically exhausted.  Tonight was the Trail Out dance, dress rules did not apply and dancers were encouraged to dress to the theme, it was dress up night, i.e. come in international dress. 

Group photo C


Japan, Egypt and The British Empire

We had Arabs, Mandarin’s, kilted Scots, Indian’s (North American and India), Pom’s, (even an Admiral from the British Empire) Mexicans, Dutch and Swiss.

Indo Dutch Trio C  The Netherlands & Japan

Below: A Pommy Scotsman, A Pommy Sheila And Two Curry Experts

Anglo Celtic Relations CGoodness Gracious Me C


Arabs CMike & Phil C

Two Arabs plus Callers Mike & Phil

You name the country and someone was wearing their national dress (or should I say an interpretation of their national dress). 

Captain Kurt Rosenkranz CAlan Evans C

 Callers: Kurt Rosencranz Germany and Alan Evans Queensland

I went as a South Australian Bunyip tracker, my wife Helen as a farmer’s wife.  It was a fun night and thankfully the callers in general gave us easy to follow calls so we were not befuddled.


A couple of Aussies C


Not a Bunyip in Sight

A great convention let’s all do it all again in Canberra next year – but remember bring your winter woollies!


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