Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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144
COWBOY DANCES
taught the splendid circle folk dances of the peasants of Europe to girls' gymnasium classes and to little children, until folk dancing is popularly thought of as "sissy stuff," and most manly chaps will have nothing to do with it with­out a deal of tactful educating.
Not only are the dances so vigorous and manly and strenuous that they are quite unsuited for girls' classes or children but they will thus be killed for everyone. If, in your community, you can start the dances with the manliest and most popular young fellows, with older men mixing in, the program will become a great joy. But if you see any well-meaning woman trying to teach them to children or to classes of girls, please rush to the nearest court and get out an injunction to keep her from robbing the adult public of a precious sport that really belongs to it. Also, the children who are incapable of getting more than half the fun out of them, will be robbing themselves of those adult pleasures which they have a right to when they grow up, and which they themselves will have destroyed as children. Even when you organize an adult group you may find children a prob­lem. Some women whose husbands cannot or will not dance with them, will bring small sons, who can hardly reach to the waists of the partners they will have to swing. And small daughters will beg to come and make the dance equally impossible for the men. To be sure a full set of children would do no harm at all at an adult dance, unless they tried to take more than their share of the attention or of space; in fact, the old-time dances were community affairs. Chil­dren would form sets off in the corners and become quite expert. The whole family would be there. When I am in­vited to an old-time dance in this year of our Lord, I always know it's the real thing, if I see a few baskets on chairs around the edge of the hall with tiny babies sleeping in them, oblivious to all the noise and fun their parents are making. But that is an entirely different kettle of fish 'from making these adult dances into a "child activity program."






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