Questions About Square Dancing

Q: What is modern square dancing?
A: Square dancing is a fun, easy to learn social dance with eight people dancing as a group. The group dances to music while moving in formations called out by a "caller". What makes it so fun is that you aren't just dancing with one person all night, nor with a whole room of people. Seven others are just enough to interact with and have a good time. Since the choreography is called out during the songs, you don't have to memorize entire songs, just the calls. Men, that means you aren't expected to make up a fun routine for your partner on the spot, as with ballroom dancing. Ladies, that means the choreography is left to the professionals!
Q: Do I need a partner to square dance?
A: You can come with a partner, or come as a single. If you don't have a partner, we have a partner rotation so you can be teamed up with an experienced dancer during a pair of songs.
Q: I can't dance; I'm too uncoordinated.
A: You don't need any special dance experience or skills: if you can walk you can do square dancing. Unlike most forms of dance, what is important is to move around the floor in patterns with the other dancers to the cues from the caller. Exactly how your feet get you there or where your arms are doesn't matter much. The caller will teach you the steps to the pattern you need to know. You'll learn quickly because the patterns are repeated often. By the end of the class, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the new moves you learned and even the complex patterns you can perform.
Q: I hate country music! Isn't square dancing all country music?
A: Square dance is played to a wide range of music from classic square dance music to top contemporary songs of today. We dance to rock, pop, country, marches, top radio hits, and even an occasional rap song!
Q: What should I wear?
A: Wear low, smooth-soled shoes, and loose, comfortable clothes. No traditional square dance attire is required. In fact, many of our dancers come in casually dressed.
Q: Is it good exercise?
A: Square dancing is great physical exercise. Each night of dancing is the equivalent of walking several miles. It's also great mental exercise, too, as you learn the calls and put them into practice as the caller cues them.
Q: I'm cutting back on spending. Is it expensive?
A: The first class is free! If you enjoy the class and want to continue, then a 12 week class is $96 for 12 weeks of class -- that's just $8 a class. Many other dance classes can run twice as much for half the time. Once you have learned and go to dances, they typically run $15 for two and a half hours of fun, exercise, and snacks! For our current class schedules, please check our main page.
Q: Isn't square dancing for old people?
A: Modern Square Dancing hit its peak in the 1970's when it became popular with young adults. As the popularity declined (lost its fad status), many people continued dancing and naturally aged. This lead to an aging demographic, which became self fulfilling as the myth of this being an "old people" activity spread. The reality is that square dancing started as young and exciting, and it still can be. Some clubs cater to high energy youths, while others cater to a slower elderly crowd. The Tam Twirlers range from 30's through 80's, most of whom are quite fit, physically and mentally, thanks to years of dancing.

Questions About Round Dancing

Q: What is Round Dancing?
A: Round Dancing is known as Cued Ballroom Dancing. It is a form of social dancing in which the steps are choreographed precisely to the music, and a cuer announces the steps for the dancers to follow. The presence of the cuer makes a round dance look different than the usual ballroom dance. All the couples dance in unison and counter clockwise around a circle. The choreography can be interesting since the man doesn’t have to think it up. Round dancers hold their partners in the same position as ballroom dancers, and they take the same kinds of steps. It’s fun, easy to learn, and can be used on any dance floor. Think of it as Ballroom Made Easy!
Q: What rhythms are taught?
A: Typical rhythms include Two Step, Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, and Tango. Other rhythms by request are Slow Two Step, Bolero, West Coast Swing, Quickstep, and Mambo.
Q: Do I need a partner?
A: Many people come as couples, but singles are welcome. Some rhythms are easy to learn without having a partner. It is acceptable to dance without a partner at a round dance event.
Q: What should I wear?
A: Wear casual clothes and comfortable shoes. Shoes with a leather sole are best for gliding around the dance floor.
Q: Can total beginners learn to round dance?
A: Yes! Learning to dance is a process for everyone. Since there is no leader or follower, people often find round dancing easier to learn than traditional ballroom dancing. Each figure is taught step-by-step with continuous repetition in a relaxed environment. We offer classes that focus on a range of styles, and you can practice them throughout the evening when we round dance in between the square dance tips. Come and give it a try!
Q: How to find us?
A: Classes meet every Wednesday from 6:00-7:00 pm in the Social Hall at the Marin Rod and Gun Club 2675 Francisco Blvd, San Rafael, CA 94901. Additional practice from 7 – 9 during the square dance breaks.
Q: How long is each session?
A: Between 8 – 12 weeks depending on the rhythm. We generally focus on beginning levels so that students can participate in dances and festivals in the bay area.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: $6 per person/week.