Square Dancing

The educational training I received from the American public school system included civics, algebra, English, and . . . square dancing.

At some point in my late grade school/early junior high years, the kids in my class were told that we were going to learn square dancing.  School administrators, apparently taking seriously the rampant boy talk about girls having “cooties,” concluded that the boys and girls in the class needed to interact in a social setting.  I suppose we could have learned ballroom dancing, or formal etiquette, but given the fundamental awkwardness of all boys that age, school administrators wisely decided to aim low.

3b2dea14b304989b0e9860ee74e27605So we were trooped into the school gymnasium, boys lined on one wall and girls on the other.  The male and female gym teachers then showed us what we were supposed to do as another teacher called out the steps.  Bow to your partner.  Bow to the corner.  Do si do.  Allemande left!  Allemande right!  Swing your partner.  Promenade!

The teachers acted like they were having fun, but the boys in the class viewed it all with doubtful suspicion.  Couldn’t we just go outside and play tackle football?  But then, before we knew it, the boys and girls of the class had to actually line up and do the square dancing themselves.  The boys, faces burning because they were holding a girl’s hand, stomped around in a grim exhibition of poor coordination, trying not to step on the girl’s foot, trip somebody during the “allemande,” or stumble during the “promenade.”  Of course, it really was kind of fun, but no kid was going to admit that.  So the boys groaned whenever the next square dancing class was announced, and then secretly hoped that they got to dance with the girl they kind of liked.  And then some wisecracker in the class said “Swing your partner round and round, put her in the toilet and flush her down,” and everyone laughed and the spell was broken.

Do they still teach square dancing to kids?

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