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Jim Pead’s Rovin Corner

November 6, 2007

YOUR ROVIN’ CORNERS

Jim and Betsy travel across the US and around the world, dancing and promoting dancing. Each month we share with you our experiences and thoughts. This month we want to talk about square dancing in California and Texas and “giving” in square dancing plus some special dances.
 
The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving has come and gone, along with “black Friday” at the stores and we are well into Christmas parties and our “Square Dance Christmas.” In some areas, Christmas calls for lots of dark nights while square dancers celebrate Christmas in other ways. In “Let’s Square Dance” the British square dance magazine, we found a listing for the Lune Valley Ocean Waves annual “Twixmas” in Carlisle 2007. For 139 British pounds per person get three nights dinner, bed and breakfast and three nights dances plus workshops! December 27-30. Contact Chris and Trevor Day chrisday_narca@hotmail.co.uk
 
Many square dance clubs have Thanksgiving feasts and celebrations, special dances for “Toys for Tots” and entertaining at nursing homes and other venues during this season. One long-time, highly successful event is the annual Thanksgiving/Toys for Tots dance in San Jose. There must be many more around the country.
 
Among the gifts you are bestowing on other folk this year could be the opportunity to learn to dance. Many of you have worked hard to get new dancers into class and are supporting them as they learn to dance. We were particularly impressed with two groups on our recent flying trip to San Jose, CA. The Santa Clara Valley Square Dance Association has their big annual “Jubilee” each year in October. This year they made a concerted effort to draw non-dancers to beginning dances and then announced a “Blast Class” the following three Saturdays. Ruth Reigelhaupt-Herzig taught the group. By the end of the day, the students have a bit of the ”deer in the headlights” look, but they covered the entire mainstream and plus program in the time alloted. Now they will gain experience dancing with various clubs and become finished dancers. We attended their graduation program which was inspiring and will bond the dancers to dancing for some time to come—especially with the help and support of the members of the clubs where they will dance.
 
John Sybalsky has been calling for 35 years, many of those for the Stanford Quads in Palo Alto, California. The club is a high energy, APD plus level club. We went to the first night of instruction and found some 37 new dancers eager to learn our favorite activity. John was doing an especially good job of teaching. With minimal talking, maximum dancing, the new dancers covered a LOT of calls, with most dancers alternating “boy” and ”girl”so they truly learn All Position Dancing.

We see a variety of systems to teach beginners. They all work. Whether the traditional 30 weeks from September through May, the Blast Classes, and the multi-start system. When the classes are taught skillfully, with enthusiasm and sensitivity they succeed. .
Finally, two special events: March 29 and 30, 2008  with the Funnyfish (guy.leclere@club-internet.fr) in Nice, France. The Funnyfish are a small group near Nice, one of only 4 square dance clubs in France keeping the spirit of square dance alive. They have no regular caller, and dance mostly to records. Michael Braithwaite of England is doing their special. If you want to do something different and enjoy a great welcome, contact the Funny Fish of Nice.
 
Many U.S. clubs (and almost all European clubs) are “singles and couples” clubs. The Single Square Dancers U. S. A. are having their 38th Dance-A-Rama August 28-31 2008 in Nashville, Tenn. The three “Tims” (Crawford from Canada, Marriner from N.C. and Tyl from Texas) headline the program. They have excellent tours and lots of dancing planned. After the National Convention, this is annually one of the best weekends in the country.   All are invited – couples and singles alike.  
 
We continue to have many international square dance contacts and are often contacted by dancers traveling abroad for suggestions and contacts. We are happy to provide some direction and suggestion of places to dance. We would love to hear from you and your experiences dancing overseas (as well as this country!) just email: jimbetsy@aol.com.
 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
 
Your Rovin’ Corners, Jim and Betsy.

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