The CALLERLAB International Advisory Committee has to be one of the most active and cooperative square dance groups today. They sponsor regular Zoom meetings that include reports and updates from a large contingent of leaders on topics of interest to everyone in our activity. At their most
recent meeting the following table was presented and while the numbers represented are pre-pandemic, the ratios are very interesting.
In a conversation related to this chart, the question was how does Germany get more of their population to square dance than America? What are they doing that makes our activity more attractive? Is it costuming? Is it length of lessons? Is it easier to stop dancing and come back in?
Recently, a presentation was given by Guido Haas, a respected caller from
Germany about square dancing in his country. Here are the highlights:
- Square dance clubs are registered often with a board of governors, sometimes with the club caller as a board member. Often clubs contract one or two club callers while some may have a pool of callers without a regular club caller. In this case, a class may be
taught by five or six callers.
- Callers in Germany should be licensed dance leaders where they must be proficient in all dance forms – squares, rounds, traditional, contra, and clogging – not just squares. This is called Tanzleiterschein.
- Most clubs are members of EASSDC, European Association of American Square Dancing Clubs. The organization was formed in
1955 and includes all square dance clubs in Europe. Currently, there are 500 clubs representing square, round, traditional, contra, and clogging. Other organizations that sponsor square dancing are the State Consortium of Dance (LAGTanz), the Seniors Dance Association, Workers Welfare, and the German Red Cross.
- Mainstream is considered the entry program in Germany with “all position dancing” being the standard.
- All age groups dance, singles are welcome, it is common that ladies dance the “man’s” part while uncommon that men dance the “ladies” part.
- The average dance travels 155 miles round-trip to a dance (not only special dances, but club dances too). Gas costs $7.41 per gallon on average.
- Caller education is important along with membership in ECTA, the European Callers and Teacher Association. As the table shows, many German callers are also members of CALLERLAB.
An email received from Gert-Jan Rotscheid states there is no dancing in the Netherlands due to the pandemic shutdown. Next months “News Around The World” feature will offer more updates, but since we are seeing dance activities open then close again, it is strongly suggested that everyone reach out to the club before attempting a visit.
Please send up-dates on dancing in your area to: