Croakers Square

The success of square dancing relies on consistency and abiding by certain rules. When large groups of people are expected to move as a single entity, organization is essential.

However, it is sometimes nice to mix things up a bit. Some dancers enjoy adding variations to their dance. These generally fall into one of three categories: flourishes, sound effects or games.

Flourishes

Flourishes are movements dancers add to their routine or replacements made to traditional steps. These additions are not universal; there are no set guidelines for flourishes. They often vary between groups, clubs and regions.

Examples of common flourishes include doing a highland fling instead of a dosado. Or, dancers might add a twirl after executing a promenade.

Proponents of flourishes boast they add additional opportunities to interact and socialize. However the opponents—and there are many—claim they are too disruptive. In fact, in many groups, flourishes are quite controversial.

Many dancers cite the following reasons for their disapproval of flourishes:

  • Square dancing standards should be upheld at all times.
  • Adding flourishes will confuse the less experienced dancers.
  • Those who don’t know the flourishes will be disrupted.
  • Things like unexpected twirls can be dangerous.

Sound Effects

Sound effects are much better received than flourishes. And that’s a good thing—because sometimes dancers just can’t refrain from voicing their enthusiasm!

Common square dancing sound effects include clapping hands, stomping feet, and shouts. These additions are better received because they do not interfere with the execution of the step. Although, newcomers might be shocked by the extra noise!

Often times, the vocal responses coordinate with the original call. For example, the group might shout pink lemonade after hearing Triple Trade (because they rhyme). Or, dancers might yell, “boom” after the caller utters Explode.

Games

Games are another somewhat controversial addition to standard square dancing. A game is anything that is considered breaking the rules. Often times, games are introduced to add an additional level of difficulty to a dance.

However, it is poor manners to include games without receiving permission from the group and the caller.

Games are well received in certain situations. For example, dancing with fewer than eight people is considered a game. However, it allows dancers the opportunity to participate when they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Hard and fast rules are good—they lend a much needed element of standardization to the dance. However, it is also fun to mix things up every once in a while!

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