Tech Squares has fun with 6 couple squares. How about Team Dancing.
Jim Mayo
In a message dated 8/11/2016 9:37:10 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

John Freeman wrote:

<< How about we just call it “square dancing” and not worry about a made up generic name.>>

Sherri Nevins wrote:

<<… I think a fresh term could be very helpful.>>

Great! This is exactly the kind of exchange I was hoping to encourage.

My heart says we should just call it “square dancing,” whereas my head says that if one is going to discuss something, it can help to define one’s terms. The main problem with calling it “square dancing” is that a sizable number, perhaps a majority, of modern “western” square dance people have appropriated that name for themselves. Over and over again I hear them refer to themselves as “square dancers” and their activity as “square dancing,” usually with a little extra emphasis on “square,” whereas they refer to any other kind of SD as “traditional dance” or “heritage dance” (never with the word “square”) or as part of “contra.” I’d ignore this if we weren’t trying to foster improved dialogue between the camps.

(Historical note: In 1969, Bob Osgood of “Sets in Order” and some of his colleagues attempted to create a form of SD that would appeal to many more people than the then-current version of modern “western,” which required 30 or more lessons to learn. After much discussion, they came up with a list of calls that essentially re-created traditional SD – knowing full well that that was what they were doing. There were 50 calls, with a suggested class length of 10 lessons; the only non-traditional calls were Allemande Thar, Square Thru, and Star Thru. The next step was to agree on a name. Reportedly there was much wrangling; I’d love to know what names were proposed and rejected. According to Osgood, the committee finally decided that the “new” program should be referred to simply as “square dancing,” presumably with the hope that more complex programs would then need qualifying adjectives. It didn’t work out in quite the way they had hoped: they released it as “the Basic Program of American Square Dancing,” and everyone since then has referred to it as “Basic.” It didn’t find its audience, either: instead of capturing a multitude of people who wouldn’t otherwise have touched SD, it was used only as a stepping stone to “higher” levels. Few if any clubs worldwide dance solely the Basic program.)

If no one suggests a name that’s acceptable to everyone, I’m OK with that. But it would be handy to have one or two words to identify this emerging style in discussion, to distinguish it from the various traditional styles that contributed to it and from M “W” SD.

Tony Parkes

Billerica, Mass.