REPORT FOR the AGM of Tudor Squares on 28th September 2020
A WORLD VIEW OF Square Dancing during this time of Virus
Susie & Simon Kelly
It is a strange fact that through the lens of Zoom meetings we have felt closer to the rest of the world than ever before. We have been able to talk to every country where Square Dancing lives and to some the top names in those countries. For me in particular, having been in the activity since it started in the early 1950’s in the UK , some of the people we have been able to talk to have been just famous names who have been part of the organisation of the activity world wide since it started. It’s so interesting to meet these people virtually face to face.
Last Wednesday there was a meeting of the European leaders of the Grand Square organisation so there was a leading caller from all the European countries where there is dancing. Most pleasant too was the presence of Top Caller Tony Oxendine from the USA who is married to the Founder of Grand Square International, Kim Curlee.
We learned that everywhere the situation is about the same. There are small pockets where people have been allowed to start dancing, in areas that have small, virus free, communities who can feel confident in each others company. The USA, Canada and Australia have such isolated communities.
In Germany a few clubs have met but they are limited to having no more than 25 people in the hall and may dance without masks, but with hand sanitising between tips and should wear masks between tips when socialising.
Sweden and Denmark have similar rules and one or two clubs are using foot long lengths of wood as hands so there is no actual touching.
Serbia has no dancing yet but the Czech Republic has more young people involved so feel more able to meet as usual.
There is no dancing at all in the Netherlands and there are now only about 100 dancers there altogether and only 2 or three clubs.
Virtual dancing via Zoom is quite popular but the caller has to arrange the choreo so it can be enjoyed by single dancers or couples imagining the rest of the square. Two couples dancing together is very possible, you just need another couple you feel safe dancing with.. Generally the choreo is aimed at reminding the dancers of the moves so they are fresh in their minds when we are able to dance together again. There are a few UK callers who are doing this regularly but in the main it’s aimed at the plus and beyond as there the dancers may feel more comfortable imagining the rest of the square.
We visit Australia on a Saturday at midnight for sessions aimed at new callers and there we hear that in one or two areas clubs have started dancing, but whether this is in normal squares or in in two couple bubbles is not clear. It varies I suppose.
In the USA one or two States have eased the distancing rules . Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and Washington State are allowing regular dancing and there have even been one or two big events recently with up to 22 squares dancing. It is reckoned to be late spring before this will be possible generally and some events are being advertised for later on next year.
Whether this will be possible in the UK looks doubtful. It boils down to whether the dancers themselves feel confident that they will be safe. In the mean time do try to keep in touch with your friends, even if it’s only for a chat or to have fun with a short quiz. And if you can get your heads round Zoom technology even better, you don’t have to get dressed up for that.