Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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Chapter 2
The First Dance
W HEN a group of beginners are brought together for their first dance, doubts and embarrassments and reluctance are apt to be manifest. For this reason it is best to have no audience present to add to this embarrassment. There is always a group of the curious who like to sit on the side lines and watch others pioneer and who say that per­haps they will try it later. It is hard enough to go through what the psychologist calls the period of "initial diffuse movements" (and what the beginner calls "making a fool of himself") in learning a new set of reactions without having the curious smiles of the onlookers make the initial movements even more diffuse. So, for the best success, only those who are willing to try the dances themselves, should be invited to the party.
If one full set of experienced dancers can be present they will prove invaluable. They can first demonstrate the dance to be learned (and we learn most quickly by imitating what we have seen), and then the demonstrator set can split up and one of its experienced couples can take its place as the first or head couple of each set of beginners and lead them through the figure with a great economy of time.
The Caller
The success of the first dance will depend upon the effec­tiveness of the "caller." The hostess, or the chairman, may make all arrangements and get the dancers and accoutre­ments together, but it is the "caller" who will have to put the dance over. Once started, the dance is in his hands. A committee of explainers and directors only outbabbles the tower of Babel itself. The caller must give all the com-

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