Well a fine time was had by all at the February Gypsy Squares. We gave February a firm handshake, a kind word, and a warm send-off, rounded out with lots of lively music and non-stop dancing.
Joanne Pontrello provided expert instruction, tying knots with strings of people and somehow, miraculously, untying them again. The crowd was a great neighborhood cross section, with adults of all ages, and children too. That's one of the magic things about this dance -- it's a rare venue that can accommodate both the young and not-so-young on equitable terms. And as ever the Rabbit Stew String Band, this month with Adam Price sitting in on banjo, stomped out upbeat tempos, rhythmy backbeats, and catchy melodies. This dance has all the ingredients of a great community square dance. Here's the recipe:
A Great Caller
Like all of the callers at the Gypsy Squares, Joanne carefully and quickly provides instruction for every dance. This practice is part of what makes social square dancing at the Gypsy Squares so accessible -- no experience required! By the time the music starts (almost) everyone has a (mostly) good idea about what to do next. And any mistakes made along the way are part of the fun :).
People Ready to Dance
A social square dance isn't a spectator sport. Sure, it can be fun to take in the live music and watch a room full of happy dancers, but this is an activity best experienced directly. There are so many great moments in a square dance, where you're guaranteed to shake the hands of everyone in the set, exchange some smiles and laughs, and leave the dance feeling better than when you arrived.
Live music at a dance is a must, and we play tunes that for many decades (some for over a century) have helped people tap their toes and Do-si-do. When the dancers are stepping in unison there's a feedback loop that happens between the musicians and the dancers, who all lock on a tempo together. When that happens we can play for a long, long time without getting bored or tired, because the energy is just amazing.
A Great Venue
It can be in a house or barn, in a park or tennis court, or in a cafe or tavern -- but it's got to be somewhere! We love the Stone Way Cafe because it's a neighborhood hangout already, because it's open to all ages, because it offers food and drinks for the attendees, and it's got a dance floor, a stage, and room enough to socialize around the edges. Plus the good folks at the Stone Way Cafe are excited to provide the space for this regular public event. I can't tell you how rare a venue this place is -- we're lucky to have them in the neighborhood!
Add caller, dancers, and live music to your great venue and there you have it -- a beautiful community event.
Hope to see you next month -- March 28th, the last Saturday, at the Stone Way Cafe!