1.   Why Dance?
2.   What are Square and Round Dancing?
3.   Where Can I Dance?
4.   Can I Try it Out before I Commit?
5.   Where Do You Learn to Dance?
7.   Is It Expensive?
8.   Do I need to Buy The Fancy Clothes?
9.   Are There Other Types of Dancing?

1.     Why Dance?

There are three benefits to dancing - It's Fun.  It's Healthy.  It Creates a Great Social Life.

 FUN - Square and Round dancing are fun activities.  Dancing isn't a competitive sport so there is no pressure to succeed, no eligibility rules.  Square dancers laugh a lot.  If you like to get out and meet people on a regular basis, square dancing provides the opportunity.  With a basic dance program you could spend many years dancing with the friends you make at a dance club.  If the fun is in the challenge, different Square & Round clubs have multiple levels of difficulty that will keep you learning for many years.  It can be just a night out, or the challenge of a lifetime - your choice.

HEALTHStudies by the American National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found that dancing lowers coronary heart disease risk, decreases blood pressure and helps in managing weight. The weight bearing movements of your dance steps can strengthen the bones of your legs and hips to maintain bone health.  Dancing increases the blood flow to the brain which aids in boosting memory.  The degree of cardio conditioning depends on how vigorously you dance, how long you dance and how frequently you dance.

Dancing's benefits extend to mental health.  Albert Einstein College of Medicine researchers reported that people who devote their leisure time to brain enhancing activities reduce their risk of memory loss problems. Dancing was cited as one of the brain enhancing activities and we suspect that because of the complexity, speed and the listening skills required, Square and Round dancing are among the best activities to undertake.

SOCIAL - Square and Round dancers usually belong to a club in their area which have weekly dance nights (except during the summer months) where you can make friends and participate in a regular dance program.  Clubs also host special dances and other extra-social activities like bowling and pub nights.  Clubs also visit other clubs to "steal" their banners which gives the "host" club a chance to visit the "banner napping" club and retrieve the banner to get interchange between clubs.

Your circle of friends in square dancing can be enormous - encompassing people from the home club, regional clubs, Northwestern American clubs, and even international visitors.  Square dancing is an international activity; as a dancer, you can find clubs in Japan, Sweden, Germany to name just a few countries.  Since all the calls and cues are in English, you can dance anywhere in the world, even if you don't speak the local language!
2.     What are Square and Round Dancing?

Square Dancing explained.     
Round Dancing explained.

To see the video Dancing Keeps You Young - An Introduction to Modern Square Dancing, click here.
NOTE: Best viewed on a broadband connection.
3.     Where Can I dance?

 Square: Depending on where you live in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley area, there is likely a square club within 30 minutes of you.  Vancouver has a club in the West End.  There are multiple clubs in Burnaby, one each in Aldergrove, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Maple Ridge, Mission, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Port Moody, Richmond, and Surrey. There are two clubs for youngsters, one in Burnaby and one in Delta.  The majority of clubs are considered "couples clubs". Burnaby has the Swinging Singes who are welcome all singles and have allowed couples to join for several years. Most clubs will pair people who need dancing partners.

For clubs (listed by city) offering beginner square dance lessons  please click here.  Note: Some clubs may also offer beginner round dance lessons. Please ask the club representative. Round: Round dance clubs are located in  Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Maple Ridge, and Surrey.

4.     Can I Try it Out before I Commit?

Some clubs conduct a program called "Square Dance ABC".  In this program there are 3 different beginner square dance nights. The three dance programs, the "A", "B" and "C".  Each dance is independent of the other.  Each dance has a limited number so dance steps that are easily learned early in one session and applied in the session. The "ABC" sessions can be done in any order.

Check with a local square dance club to see if they offer an "ABC" program.  For more information on the "ABC" Program check it out here
5.     Where Do You Learn to Dance?

Some clubs hold New Dancer sessions in September and sometimes in January depending on the number of people interested in learning to Square dance.  Some clubs with insufficient resources to hold an exclusive program use a cooperative approach to instruct their new dancers.  New dancer programs can be found here.

The New Dancer Square Dance program - called "Basic/Mainstream" - is comprehensive, covering 69 steps ranging for the simple "Allemande Left" to a complex formation like the "Grand Square".  The program sequence is set by the international standards body, CALLERLAB, and takes approximately 58 hours of instruction. 

The New Dancer Round Dance Program - called "Phase 1 & Phase 2" - covers both waltz and two-step dances.  The program sequence is set by the international standards body, ROUNDALAB.

Most clubs hold introductory sessions for New Dancers and provide a few of the first lessons at no charge. This will vary with the sponsoring club.  

6.     Is It a Seniors Only Activity?

The reason we see so many seniors dancing today is that they started 30 to 40 years ago - and are still dancing!  So no, it isn't a seniors only activity.  There are a couple of youth and teen clubs in the region so one can get started early.  Many of the current Club Callers and Cuers started as youngsters and their children are in square dancing now.

Some of us took up square dancing after retirement.  Many dancers are still working.  We take up dancing because of the fun, it's healthy, and we love the social life!

7.     Is It Expensive?

Talk about a cheap night out!  Most clubs charge about $7 to $8 per person per weekly dance session.  That's less than a video rental!  What do you get for that money? - 2 to 2 hours of healthy activity and some "eats".  Usually the club pauses during the session for a snack and tea or coffee.  Some clubs are famous for the "spread" that their members provide -enough so that one has to watch what one eats to keep one's weight down!  No alcohol is allowed at Club dances.  Dancers who drink can't follow the calls.

8.     Do I need to Buy The Fancy Clothes?

Attending "learning to dance sessions" does not require going out and buying fancy square dance clothes.  There is currently debate within the square dancing community about whether the fancy clothes hurts or helps the image of square dancing.  So no, you don't need to buy fancy clothes when you start.
9.     Are There Other Types of Dancing?

The most popular forms of American folk dancing are Square and Round.  However, there are other types.

CONTRA dancing explained. 

CLOGGING explained.