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The Riley Wranglers offers Western Style Square Dancing and Round Dancing along with some line dancing thrown in every now and then.

Types of Dances 
& More

Modern Western square dance (also called Western square dance, contemporary Western square dance, modern American square dance or modern square dance) is one of two types of square dancing, along with traditional square dance. As a dance form, modern Western square dance grew out of traditional Western dance. The term "Western square dance", for some, is synonymous with "cowboy dance" or traditional Western square dance. Therefore this article uses the term "modern Western square dance" to describe the contemporary non-historical dance which grew out of the traditional dance.

 

Modern Western square dance, like traditional square dance, is directed by a square dance caller. In modern Western square dance the caller strings together a sequence of individual square dance calls to make a figure or sequence. These calls are the building blocks of the choreography that is danced by the individuals, square dancers, in the squares. There are eight people (four couples) in each square; at a dance there may be many squares. Generally speaking, each of these squares dances independently of each other, with the exception of specialty or "gimmick" dances, where there might be some crossover of dancers from one square to another.

 

The square functions as a "dance team" for the duration of a square dance tip, a group of dances usually separated from the next tip by a pause during which the dancers regroup into new squares. A square dance tip is usually composed of a combination of pattern calls and singing calls, the two types of square dance calls.

Round dancing is choreographed and cued ballroom dancing.  We dance most of the popular ballroom rhythms, such as foxtrot and waltz, cha-cha and rumba, and many others listed in the navigation bar to the left.  This is a pretty long list. There is certainly no need to get bored with round dancing.

 

The exciting difference between round dancing and free-style ballroom dancing is that each round dance has been fully choreographed ahead of time.  A beautiful piece of music is selected, and the different steps or figures are chosen to fit the music exactly.  If the music swells and pauses briefly, then a dance step that rises and stretches is put into that place.  If there is a little syncopation in another part of the song, then a quick little step is inserted.  The creation of a piece of choreography is like engineering a machine, with every gear and lever in just the right place to give smooth and flowing motion.  The step-by-step instructions on how to dance this choreography is written out in what is called a "cue sheet."

 

Secondly, there is a cuer or leader at the front of the ballroom who tells the dancers what steps to do.  As the music plays, and just ahead of the beat, so the dancers have time to respond, the cuer names each dance figure in the choreography.  The cueing lets us dance lots and lots of dances without having to memorize the choreography.  You may recognize that this is the way square dancing is done, with a caller telling the couples what to do:  “swing your partner, do-si-do.” In round dancing, the cuer might say: "open telemark, pick up, and diamond turn."

What is Western Style Square Dancing

and Round Dancing?