Sunday, March 29, 2009

Square Dance Weekend!

Tim and I just got back from a square dance weekend - an Advanced program put on by John Marshall and Mary Hutchinson. The weekend was held in York, Pennsylvania at the Yorktowne Hotel. Tim and I both enjoyed ourselves.

Advanced dancing is a program that can separate aficionados from the social butterflies, and I don't mean to impugn anybody's character with that remark. In my own experience, the conceptual leap from Plus to Advanced is greater than from Advanced to C-1. Advanced really opened up my eyes to the endless possibilities of square dancing.

The other dancers on the floor, for the most part, had much more experience than Tim and I. Most of the couples were older than us, and the floor probably moved more slowly as a result. That's not a bad thing, either. Many of the couples do not have regular opportunities to dance Advanced, so they eagerly look forward to this weekend. The reach of square dancing is declining, and I keep hoping that something will happen in America to rekindle its interest in this folk dance.

John had a number of dance surprises for us. While the level of the dancing wasn't particularly difficult, his calling demands a focus on his instructions, and a strong grasp of square dance call definitions. John always means what he says, no matter how confused the dancers are. He had us do several calls from non-standard positions, and he taught us some new moves, too.

Tim and I danced together. We were the only gay couple, and we alternated boy/girl each of the five dance sessions. The women quickly got used to one of us dancing as a girl. The men were a little more challenged by it, but by the end of the first session, were not have any difficulty with it. A couple of times, a guy would mistake our "changed" gender, but that didn't happen very often. And to the guys' credit, almost all of them would swing us when we were in the girl's role.

The Yorktowne Hotel is a great square dance location. It has hardwood floors in the Continental and George Washington Rooms. The hotel has composite flooring for other rooms that have carpeting. The hotel features a four-star restaurant, but also has a cafe and a couple of bars. This being York, the bars close very early. The guest rooms and beds are comfortable. Eating opportunities outside the hotel are kind of sparse within walking distance; however with a car, there are many places to dine.

So that's my report: I'm hoping for more dancing at the Yorktowne.