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  1. #81
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    My music teacher did a wonderful job teaching square dancing, and coming from an extremely rural place there were plenty of opportunities to use the knowledge. Most of my peers still hated it

    I have several friends who eat terribly and never exercise. Two of them are the two skinniest girls I have ever met. They actively try to gain weight by eating terrible stuff and still can't.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post

    At my school, the PE teacher had a master's in dance, which included curriculum on folk dancing. And we all still hated square dancing anyway.
    Contras and squares are really best experienced by going to an actual dance event. The combination of live music and experienced dancers who have a love of this type of dancing "in the blood" as opposed to having a teacher who may have learned about in college but doesn't necessarily have a passion for it gives a completely different impression to the newcomer than to learn about it in a sterile school setting. My first exposure to Contra (very similar to squares except you are in long lines with as many couples as can fit the length of the room) was at a folk festival 12 years ago next month. I was in a room with roughly 300-400 other dancers, & the only reason I ended up there is because I was dared. Thus... I've been dancing ever since, & now am a volunteer for that festival.

    FYI you'd be surprised by how many young people I see at dances. Even down to teens and younger. And they are just as good as the older folks in their 40's and older who've been dancing since before these kids were born.

  3. #83
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    Most schools are not going to provide funding so their kids can go to a contra/square dance.

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karina1974 View Post
    Square dancing actually originated in the New England region of the US. Contra dancing is also very popular in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire.
    I always thought that the part in square dancing when you move down the line and hold hands with a new partner every few seconds--whatever they call that-- was either a pleasantly athletic alternative to speed-dating, or a really bad idea in cold and flu season.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    I always thought that the part in square dancing when you move down the line and hold hands with a new partner every few seconds--whatever they call that-- was either a pleasantly athletic alternative to speed-dating, or a really bad idea in cold and flu season.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by michiruwater View Post
    Most schools are not going to provide funding so their kids can go to a contra/square dance.
    It would actually be easier to bring in a local caller to teach the basics, plus a simple dance. You wouldn't even need to bring in an entire musical group (a solo fiddler or pianist would do). And they could distribute flyers for the upcoming local dances, if there are any. Most dances I attend are only $10/person for 3 hours of dancing, very cheap entertainment as compared to going to concerts or the movies.

    The local traditional music/dance association I belong to is actually exploring the concept of bringing this pastime to the younger generation. If you don't come from a family headed by parents who dance (I've been on the floor with dancers as young as 6-7, including girls who can dance both the man's and woman's roles), the chances of being exposed to it are small, unless you know someone else who does it and who convinces you to come along to a dance some evening. I was brought into it by my older brother, and there are a number of contra/square dancers on both sides of my family, including my own parents who, unfortunately, stopped dancing once they started having kids.

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karina1974 View Post
    The local traditional music/dance association I belong to is actually exploring the concept of bringing this pastime to the younger generation.
    First step is to get rid of those awful dresses. They only look good when they're being twirled, and even then I wonder if I should be looking when a lady's underwear is on display. Which can pretty much be said for the average figure skating dress.

  8. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiruwater View Post
    Most schools are not going to provide funding so their kids can go to a contra/square dance.
    Or even to bring in a single musician or a caller.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  9. #89
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    It's not the school's job to help kids fall in love with square dancing.

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    First step is to get rid of those awful dresses. They only look good when they're being twirled, and even then I wonder if I should be looking when a lady's underwear is on display. Which can pretty much be said for the average figure skating dress.
    That's Western Square Dance fashion, NOT New England Squares/Contra Dance. Our fashion is long, flowy skirts that hit anywhere between the knee and the ankle, and the idea is for them to flow out , not up. Something like what the ladies are wearing in the foreground. Some of the guys even wear skirts, especially in the summer, because you sweat a LOT dancing during the summer months. You'll see the guys changing shirts a lot too, some go through 3-4 T-shirts in an evening.

    God... the idea that I would have to go to a dance with my outfit coordinated to someone else's... I have my own style, and I am always receiving compliments on what I'm wearing - people are shocked to find the "expensive" jewelry I wear mostly comes from Target or Walmart. There was a time when to do WSD you HAD to have a steady partner. My parents were a WSD couple even before they were married (mid to late 1960's), and they still have the matching/coordinated outfits. Also, if you are part of a performance team (like the group in red) your outfits are going to match.

    I don't care for Western squares because, in order to attend dances at certain clubs, you have to have taken up to a certain required level of classes, because their moves get very intricate, much more so than Contra or N.E. Squares (which is actually the genesis for Western). Doing hard moves just because they are "hard" just doesn't jive with me, personally. It's a dance, not a contest. OTOH, I've seen 1st time dancers doing contra with some proficiency by the half-time break - they aren't doing the flourishes or fancy improv, but they are pulling off the basics pretty well if they've paid attention during the beginner's lesson before the dance starts.
    Last edited by Karina1974; 01-24-2013 at 08:21 PM.

  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karina1974 View Post
    Our fashion is long, flowy skirts that hit anywhere between the knee and the ankle, and the idea is for them to flow out , not up. Something like what the ladies are wearing in the photo.
    Much better! Those ensembles can be re-purposed for one's invariable corresponding interests, including the upcoming NPR supporters potluck, the Episcopalian garage sale, and even the Women's Studies faculty drum circle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    Much better! Those ensembles can be re-purposed for one's invariable corresponding interests, including the upcoming NPR supporters potluck, the Episcopalian garage sale, and even the Women's Studies faculty drum circle.

  13. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by michiruwater View Post
    I have several friends who eat terribly and never exercise. Two of them are the two skinniest girls I have ever met. They actively try to gain weight by eating terrible stuff and still can't.
    Me too, till I hit menopause. :-)
    I'm 5"6" and weighed 104 when I graduated from high school. I used to tuck sweaters in my jeans to keep them from falling off. Once I started working and eating lunch out and junk, I got up to 130. Down to 119 after I broke my leg. I got back to 130 when I went back to work, hit 145 at menopause, but now can stay between 130 and 135 if I eat regularly. Some people's bodies are just like that. Metabolism? I don't know. My mom weighed 120 (at 5'7") her whole adult life, except when she was pregnant with me.

  14. #94
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    Karina, do you have any idea exactly how small the budgets are for either the PE or Music classes, in particular? I remember distinctly one year when my band's budget was zero. My band teacher had no money to spend on anything. We had to fund raise in order to afford to go to MSBOA Band Festival. Teachers in those two departments are not going to spend the extremely limited resources they have trying to instill in their students a lifelong love of contra dancing by paying to have a decent caller and a fiddler come in, as nice as that sounds. More likely, they will distribute flyers themselves and possibly offer extra credit if the students want to go. I actually really enjoyed square dancing when we learned it. In fact I may have enjoyed it more than anyone, because I can't remember any of my friends saying they liked it very much. And my dad had a lot of hippie dippie professor friends from Finlandia, so I had (and took advantage of) many opportunities to square dance again. And then I lost interest. Not everyone likes folk dancing. Just because it was a positive thing in your life does not mean it will be a positive thing in everyone's life.

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    I watched this week --can't help myself, I like Bob-- and it looked like Bob must have filmed his little confessional sidebar pieces at a very different time than he was actually working with the folks. It looked like his beard was much fuller. They have always been sloppy with their editing, but this was really pretty bad.
    Last edited by sk8pics; 01-31-2013 at 12:23 AM.

  16. #96

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    But how shocked were you to hear that the Biggest Loser Chef (wtf?) endorses Jenni-O turkey products?!?!?!?!

  17. #97

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    Oh, I was SHOCKED, yes, SHOCKED , I tell you! So shocked that I couldn't take my finger off the fast forward button on my remote!

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by michiruwater View Post
    Karina, do you have any idea exactly how small the budgets are for either the PE or Music classes, in particular? I remember distinctly one year when my band's budget was zero. My band teacher had no money to spend on anything. We had to fund raise in order to afford to go to MSBOA Band Festival. Teachers in those two departments are not going to spend the extremely limited resources they have trying to instill in their students a lifelong love of contra dancing by paying to have a decent caller and a fiddler come in, as nice as that sounds. More likely, they will distribute flyers themselves and possibly offer extra credit if the students want to go. I actually really enjoyed square dancing when we learned it. In fact I may have enjoyed it more than anyone, because I can't remember any of my friends saying they liked it very much. And my dad had a lot of hippie dippie professor friends from Finlandia, so I had (and took advantage of) many opportunities to square dance again. And then I lost interest. Not everyone likes folk dancing. Just because it was a positive thing in your life does not mean it will be a positive thing in everyone's life.
    Considering it would probably not be hard to find a caller who'd be willing to come in a couple times a semester for FREE, and recorded music is not a sin, having a segment on folk or contra or C&W or ballroom or some sort of dance is not going to be any more a colossal waste of time or money than all the hours spent on traditional sports that a significant percentage of the students hate and always will hate, resulting in PE continuing to be a major contributor to turning kids OFF exercise for their entire lives. Traditional PE and PE activities DO NOT WORK. They reinforce the idea that the only physical activities that "count" are difficult, competitive, require running and eye-hand coordination with a ball, or intense rote-work activities like running and calisthenics. They do far more to put kids off physical activity because only certain kids, usually the ones who need them least, are good at them.

  19. #99
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    Considering it would probably not be hard to find a caller who'd be willing to come in a couple times a semester for FREE, and recorded music is not a sin, having a segment on folk or contra or C&W or ballroom or some sort of dance is not going to be any more a colossal waste of time or money than all the hours spent on traditional sports that a significant percentage of the students hate and always will hate, resulting in PE continuing to be a major contributor to turning kids OFF exercise for their entire lives.
    Sounds like a fun way to show a new athletic activity. Has there been any observation of bullying and harassment issues in dancing in PE classes? I could envision kids refusing the dance with the unpopular kid, and possible issues with students accidentally-on-purpose touching others inappropriately. Of course, both of those can be problems in PE in general.

  20. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    Sounds like a fun way to show a new athletic activity. Has there been any observation of bullying and harassment issues in dancing in PE classes? I could envision kids refusing the dance with the unpopular kid, and possible issues with students accidentally-on-purpose touching others inappropriately. Of course, both of those can be problems in PE in general.
    See, the thing with contras and squares is that your "partner" is only a point of reference, and the person with whom you progress in a contra set from one couple to another every time you go through the dance. You're executing moves with EVERY person in the dance set, whether you like them personally off the dance floor or not.

    As far as conduct goes, that's one good reason to take kids to an actual dance so they can see what it's about. I've been doing this since 2001, and I've never had any issue with the guys I dance with behaving inappropriately, or touching me where they shouldn't. It's in a whole different class from clubbing/bar-hopping, one of the reasons being that you don't have to deal with drunken, boorish behavior. You also can get away with asking other people's SO/spouse to dance without getting into trouble, because social interaction is another name of the game, and the only people who would get offended are newbies who haven't acclimated to the dance culture yet (and that's unfortunate because two newbies who insist on being paired up the entire night won't learn a damn thing, which they would if each was paired up with someone who's experienced).

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