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THE COUNTRY DANCE GOES TO TOWN
Esther G. Grayson
The country dance is coming back. Like Chinese checkers or cross-word puzzles, it grows on people, and a rising tide of enthusiasm is evident in many parts of the United States.
Here in New York are many Square Dance Clubs which meet weekly and hold monthly or bi-monthly open houses. Society folk on Long Island are promenading and swinging with all the eagerness of children on their first roller skates. In the outlying counties of New York State enthusiastic square dance groups have perfected their routines and are in demand for exhibition work.
In other parts of the country the movement is just as healthy. In El Paso, Texas, there are Square Dance Clubs in every section of the city, comprising some 2,000 dancers in all. The cowboy or Western country dance, under the leadership of Lloyd Shaw in Denver, has spread all over Colorado and much of the Rocky Mountain area. From Maine to Oregon, the dances of grandfather's day are again flourishing.
One reason for the revival is that these old dances are fun. In trying to forget wars and rumors of wars, and all the other complications of modern life, both youngsters and adults turned a few years ago from the tango and the fox trot to the shag and the truck, where speed and skill were the chief requisites. Then they took the big apple to their hearts because it gave them a rip-roaring good time. They learned and enjoyed the Lambeth Walk, and now they are taking up the black-out, London's latest rage and another member of the same fast-moving, romping family of modern dances. All these dances call for frequent changes of steps and partners and all need fast music, often with amusing words to accompany it.
The country dances have the same elements. They are built on a similar pattern. They, too, provide speed, change,
"Reprinted by permission from New York Times Magazine, March 31, Copyright 1940."