Abbotsford Grand Squares

The Fun Club with Heart

What Is Round Dancing

Round dancing is best described as choreographed ballroom dancing. It is a fun, social, non-competitive activity where all the dancers progress as couples counter-clockwise in large circles around the hall. Round dancing uses a cuer so that dancers don't have to memorize a vast list of dance sequences. Dancers learn individual movements and then simply follow the cuers instructions. Each choreographed routine is set to a particular piece of music. The round dance has many choreographed sequences of steps that are borrowed from or can be transferred directly to normal ballroom dancing.

The aspiring round dancer gets started in the activity by joining a club that offers new dancer sessions. They receive instruction, workshop review and dance in a fun atmosphere that's also a smoke and alcohol free environment. The dance season usually runs from September through to April. To learn even more, dancers can buy videos to supplement their formal instruction. Many square dance clubs incorporate round dancing into their programs because it is seen as a complementary dance form where couples can have a break from their squares to enjoy a few moments of dancing together.

There are six levels of accomplishment in round dance instruction, called phases. They progress from beginner through easy, intermediate and advanced. The music enjoyed in round dancing is mostly popular instrumentals and vocals from the easy listening category to golden oldies from the 1950's. The tunes include Broadway show themes, swing, rock and western.

The easy level of round dancing emphasizes rhythms in 2-step and waltz. As one makes the transition to the intermediate level, the fox-trot, quickstep, tango, rhumba, cha cha and jive are introduced. Advanced levels add more rhythms and sophistication. In higher levels, the dancers might also find themselves doing the Macarena. As in any other activity, the dancers control how far they want to go.

Round dancing is a world-wide activity and English is the international language, although most clubs are in North America. An international association of round dance teachers, called ROUNDALAB, maintains the syllabus, instruction standards and the introduction of new steps and rhythms.