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L'AMITIE EN MUSIQUE (1/2) Parlez vous "Square Dance"? par Patience Andy Ploumacie
Do   you   consider   yourself   bilingual?   I   mean,   do   you   speak   Square   Dance?   You   know   the   scenario:   you   are   driving   along   with   a   fellow   dancer,   and   when   asked   for directions   to   your   destination,   you   say,   "Veer   to   the   left!"   or   "Press   ahead!"   or   "Zoom   around   this   slow   poke!"   or   the   ever-popular   "U-turn   back!"   Only   square   dancers understand your precise meaning and will do as you say. How   many   other   times   in   our   everyday   life   do   we   think   in   Square   Dance,   even   when   the   situation   at   hand   has   nothing   to   do   with   our   beloved   activity? As American Square   Dance   Magazine   once   pointed   out,   we   know   we   are   in   it   deep   when   our   boss   says   "Keep   busy!"   and   we   walk   away   reciting   the   definition   to   ourselves! Think about it next time you find yourself thinking in Square Dance in your everyday affairs. Seriously,   I   have   been   wrestling   with   the   issue   of   what   makes   square   dancing   so   attractive   to   me.   While   some   folks   have   trouble   committing   to   a   once-a-week classs   or   club   night,   I   have   difficulty   making   time   to   do   much   else.   I   have   realized   over   the   years   that   as   I   learn   more   and   more,   both   new   calls   and   the   mechanics   of calling   a   dance,   I   am   really   learning   to   speak   another   language.   One   of   my   lifelong   interests   has   always   been   the   science   of   language,   or   the   syntax,   grammar   and structure   of   how   a   language   is   put   together   and   understood.   We   as   square   dancers   interpret   what   a   caller   says,   vis-a-vis   the   command;   we   click   it   into   the   gray matter   of   our   brains,   come   up   with   an   interpretation   of   the   call,   and   execute   it   in   our   square.   In   effect,   we   speak   Square   DAnce,   but   instead   of   verbal   feedback,   we communicate   with   the   caller   and   the   other   dancers   that   we   understand   the   call   by   performing   it   in   our   square.   Square   Dance   is   a   language   spoken   and   understood only   by   other   square   dancers.   Notice   the   reaction   if   you   ask   just   anyone   off   the   street   if   they   "box   the   gnat!"   Square   Dance   is   really   an   international   language. Consider   the   German   "allemande",   the   French   "deucey"   and   the   Japanese   "ah   so."   We   can   go   anywhere   in   the   world,   walk   into   the   local   firehall   or   school   cafeteria, and   feel   right   at   home   as   soon   as   the   needle   goes   down.   Never   was   this   more   apparent   than   at   the   National Advanced   and   Challenge   Convention   1990   in   Virginia Beach.   This   was   my   first   time   at   this   convention,   and   right   away,   at   the   trail-end   dance   on   Wednesday   night,   I   found   myself   in   a   square   with   6   other   Swedish dancers. Thanks   Lars,   Lotta,   Else, Yvonne,   Leif,   and   Bjorn   for   making   the   squares   lots   of   fun! These   people   were   super   dancers,   and   made   the   whole   weekend   lots of   fun   for   my   partner   and   me.   An   English   couple   on   their   way   to   Virginia   Beach   joined   us   at   Mike   Jacobs'   home   club,   Spinning   Windmills,   for   an   evening   of Advanced   dancing.   They   too   added   a   lot   to   our   dancing   enjoyment   at   Convention.   Several   dancers   from   Japan   were   also   at   Convention,   as   were   German   and Canadian dancers. They all were a pleasure to dance with throughout the weekend. Square   Dancing   has   added   a   lot   to   my   life.   It's   an   activity   that   satisfies   my   interest   in   another   language,   and   yet   also   allows   a   physical   interpretation   of   that language.   Best   of   all,   I   now   have   international   friends   from   abroad   who   share   my   love   of   square   dancing,   and   we   all   speak   the   same   language,   Square   Dance.   I look   forward   to   the   day   when   I   can   travel   abroad   and   dance   with   them   in   their   hometowns.   {author   insert:   I   was   priviledged   to   accompany   Anne   Uebelacker   to Sweden   in   the   spring   of   1991,   and   dance   up   a   storm   with   the   very   same   ones   who   were   at   convention   the   year   before. The   Swedish   language   is   a   very   difficult   one, and yet, we all were on common ground as soon as we started dancing. It was a wonderful experience} After all, square dancing is just "friendship set to music!" So until then, keep on dancing, and yellowrocks to you all! From the Western Square Dancing Web page. Copyright notice.
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