Get ready to grab a partner and do-si-do for Square Dancing Day! English, Irish, and Scottish settlers brought square dancing to the United States. Our contribution was adding a caller to tell people exactly what to do and when because apparently this new land also caused memory loss. It’s not something you’ll find in any of the hot dance clubs, as any sustained popularity is entirely due to senior citizens.
I honestly wasn’t sure what to doodlewash for this day, so I opted for a pair of boots. These were called dancer boots for some reason, so I figured they would work. The were actually trucker dancer boots, because I didn’t have time to search thoroughly for references. On the sole of each boot is a silhouette of a naked woman like one might find on mud flaps, but the description assured me these are definitely meant for dancing. I used only Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue for this one over a base of Quinacridone Gold, positioning them upright to hide the artful, yet thoroughly tacky motif lurking underneath.
There was a time, years ago, when I actually tried something close to square dancing. It was in my early teens and I was part of a group called the Missouri Town Dancers, which actually performed contra-dancing, the great grandparent of square dancing. I don’t remember a single thing I learned and honestly think I was just in it for the hot apple cider they served at the end. That stuff was amazing! I know it wasn’t to meet girls as I didn’t suffer from that predilection, and most of the girls were over six times my age.
Later, while I was in college, I worked as an assistant to a real estate agent who wanted to learn ballroom dancing. She couldn’t get her husband to join her and asked if I would be her partner for the classes. I, of course, said yes as it was better than filing papers. The fact that I was getting paid to be someone’s private dancer didn’t strike me as odd until much later. At the time, I was perfectly content fox trotting between art classes, which was actually quite fun, while hoping she never asked me to join her in public.
There’s something to be said for knowing exactly what the steps are when it comes to dancing. As I got older and people wanted to “go out dancing” I was terrified as I’ve never been good at the free form stuff. In my defense, very few white men are and, like me, end up looking like a drunk yeti consumed with involuntary muscle spasms. Add the prospect of a crowd of people and I’d rather stay home, safe from yetis, with a civilized glass of wine.
I think i would have liked dancing back in the days when people did it as a way to come together as a community. This seems more attractive to me than the wild mating dances found in clubs today. Just people of all ages joining hands, smiling, and having fun. A friendly group of folks, waiting to hear the next move to be called while actually connecting with each other… one perfectly synchronized step at a time.