|Table Mountain Association Square Dance & Potluck Dinner 2003
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The Table Mountain Association Square Dance and Potluck Dinner, held Saturday evening, May 31, 2003, at the Altona Grange, was a rousing success. How does one judge Square Dance success, you ask? Plow on.
They came from near and less near, bearing food and the desire to dance. The food, in the form of steaming or chilled pot luck dishes, was more than interesting enough to fuel the dancing that was to follow. There were babies, children, pretty girls and gallant gentlemen, and I was there too. Ages ranged from 8 months to 80 years, by this writer’s estimate. The event was reasonably calm – no fistfights broke out and no cowboy pranks were played (such as the great baby swap in the novel “The Virginian”).
Don Rouze, of Boulder, was our caller and instructor, and a fine caller he was, leading beginners and old hands alike through the Basic Movements of Square Dance. Don treated us to a variety of music, including “Popcorn”, the huge synthesizer hit by Hot Butter, and the Eagle’s “Lyin’ Eyes”, to which Don lent his own vocal stylings. I don’t recollect a single tune that incorporated pedal steel guitar and nary a yodel was heard from Don’s sophisticated sound system, perhaps a slight disappointment to those of us expecting more of a cultural anthropological field trip. At least there were a few pairs of cowboy boots and at least one hat.
After some warm-ups, which included “The Hokey Pokey”, we were off and dancing. Well, the others were – I foolishly waited until later, when I was dragged in against my will, at which point the complexity of the dance moves had increased dramatically. There were dosados and allemandes, sashays and promenades. Grand squares were formed and partners were swung. At some point, the wind picked up and a storm blew through, pointing the musty Grange curtains sideways and cooling us off. The old wooden floor was crowded and got a workout not seen since the coal miners’ strike of 1910. Our legs, brains and mouth corners were all pleasurably exercised.
Now to the big question – “Will this be an annual event?” For an answer to that, be sure to carefully read all future issues of the esteemed publication of the Table Mountain Association.
These photos offer proof positive of the immense fun had by all. Those wanting to study up seriously for next time can read “Cowboy Dances: A Collection of Western Square Dances.” by Lloyd Shaw of Colorado Springs. First published in 1939, Dr. Shaw’s book was the first definitive gathering of data on this style of dance. Henry Ford was also involved, but that’s another story. For edification, as well as amusement, visit the web-site of Noriko Takahashi. There you’ll find animations of basic Square Dance movements.