Sea Dogs Square Dance Demonstration

This past July, more than 80 dancers (10 squares) participated in a demonstration of Modern Square Dancing before our local AAA baseball team, the Portland Sea Dogs. There were dancers from every state in New England, plus some from along the eastern seaboard as far south as Florida and one couple from Germany, making this a truly international event. See the video at YouTube or search YouTube for "Sea Dogs Square Dance"

It was a beautiful afternoon, partly cloudy with a light breeze – perfect summer afternoon. We squared up along the first and third base lines and danced patter to an assortment of music, none of which was standard square dance music. This was followed by a square dance singer arrangement of "Sweet Caroline" which has become a baseball anthem (at least in Red Sox territory). The crowd was responsive and participated in singing along with the chorus of the song.

Following the demonstration, I worked the crowd a bit, handing out business-card size advertisements for our new website "Dance For Fun in Maine (www.danceforfun.me). For the most part, people were very receptive to my promoting square dance and a fair number of people commented on how fun it seemed and how different it looked and sounded from what they remembered (there was no western attire on the field).

The new web site is dedicated to recruiting new dancers and says nothing about upcoming Mainstream dances. There are videos and links to other sites which also promote square dancing. The site did receive a fair number of hits from the 1000 cards passed out. The organization which put up the site and continuing this promotion – Four Corners Association – continues to distribute these cards state-wide and plans to complete distribution of 10,000 of these cards by April 2014. FCA is also encouraging local clubs to hold regular “Community Dances” which are not directly promotions for their upcoming class.

Plans for repeating this type of demonstration at other sporting venues are underway. It is hoped that these short demos in front of large audiences will begin to change people’s opinion of square dancing from that thing they did in junior high gym class to something more positive. I encourage anyone who is interested in doing positive square dance demonstrations to consider this type of event. There are lots of little details which I am willing to share – just send me an email ( ) and I’ll give you the nitty-gritty.

The general decline in square dance participation over the past couple decades will not be corrected by any single solution. But I believe that if we take our time and begin to change people's initial reaction to the invitation come to a square dance from "I did that in school" to "that sounds like fun", we'll be on the right track to turning this around.

Music selected for the patter was a mix of Last Night Cha (round dance), Honey Bee (Blake Shelton), Mountain Dew (traditional bluegrass), I Love It (Icona Pop), Without Love (dance remix of Doobie Brothers), YMCA (Village People), and Sweet Home Chicago (Blues Brothers).



This article was submitted for publication in several square dance magazines and newsletters.