square dance… did we sleep
When I was coming up, square dancing was exactly that…square. I remember in a predominantly African American school, the gym teacher telling us we would be taking on the project of a form of country western dance for the next month. Did we sigh and blow and carry on like we were given a death sentence? Why yes, we did. We girls and boys were probably all of 12, hoping our partners would be someone we were feeling but nothing too serious, the only thing to look forward to in this pre determined fiasco. The last day of the rest of our lives, we all positioned ourselves on the gym floor, rolling our eyes, sucking teeth and then the music started. Slowly we began, almost like a funeral march but then about 5 minutes into the dance the music started to take on another life and one of the guys head started bobbing, then his shoulder’s started to move. One of the girls started to phantom snap her fingers. We all started to follow suit and before we knew it we were dipping and sliding until it transformed into the square dance from Soul train. After that one class we became excited about square dancing from there forward. Within an hour we had taken the “square” out of the dance. We quietly referred to it as the “soul prance” and I never looked at square dancing from a box again. Incidentally, our gym teacher did eventually respond with a smile to the nick-name…”soul teacher”.