A few notes on https://www.facebook.com/groups/562404143864058/permalink/714178722019932/ which asked, among other things:
So it just clicked when I was reading another post here saying the "Stats" show the average dancer stays 3 years.
I had an interesting conversation with a relatively new dancer the other day. He's probably in his 50s, been dancing just over 2 years and has a partner who's just started her 2nd year. They are very decent Plus APD dancers.
They have already started taking an Advanced class because they feel their clubs' Plus floor level is not too fun and is filled with too many weak dancers - many have been dancing for decades. Having danced with the clubs in question many times, I'd have to agree.
And I had two notes...
On old leaders stepping aside: One of the things I see in our club is that our leaders are a huge portion of what makes the club work. They're the people who show up on a moment's notice if we need another person or two to complete a square. They're the ones following-up with new dancers, passing around cards for the people who are out sick, and yet...
A couple of dancers have complained about calls for volunteers where the leaders ended up showing up a little early and completing the task, so when the volunteers showed up there was nothing to do. There are leaders who are effective at executing, and these people make a club work, but those same people aren't necessarily good at bringing the community together, at providing shared experiences...
On 3 Years
On 3 years: Weekend before last I was at caller school, and the student dance. The students were nervous, so were calling fast, relatively simple material. Those of us students who'd led off the dance found a square towards the back and were flourishing the hell out of it, and then a ninth person was standing there so we started tagging into the square.
This led to an extra level of complexity: Who's my partner or corner now? Where am I promenading home to?
Similarly, a few weeks before that I was at a local Plus (and A) dance and there was a couple just through Basic, but who had some other dance experience. So we stacked a square in the back of the hall, dragged them in, and made sure that they knew where to be going, waved when we were the hand they were supposed to grab, pointed to the holes.
And in both cases, we *DANCED*. Not shuffling around, but twirling and flourishing and butt-bumping and patty-cakes.
We get so caught up in the Sudoku/Simon Says aspects of Square Dancing that we forget that dancing is a part of it. I'm digitizing old 45s, and they're all at 134-136BPM. As a caller, I drag out something that's 126BPM these days and you have to slow it down to 120BPM so the square has the reaction time to get through it.
After 3 years I dance a solid Advanced as both genders, and various members of my club were trying to drag me into a Challenge class, but I want Square Dancing as a contact sport, as a mosh pit. I should come off the floor sweaty and breathing hard and laughing. We need to bootstrap that culture.