SquareZ
No dancer can watch Fred Astaire and not know that we all should have been in another business.
--Mikhail Baryshnikov
Make a lot of noise...not!
March 01, 2003

Today I got my second forwarded "Make a lot of noise...support HR 645" letter. The first was from a local dancer, forwarded on to every square dancer in his address book. Today's was from somebody on the lgcwsd mailing list. In both cases, I sent this on to everybody who got the "Make a Lot of Noise" email:


This periodic attempt to make square dancing the national folk dance is very divisive among other dance communities that we should be working with. In particular, contra and traditional square dancers are opposed. See:

http://www.tackytreasures.com/julie/sqdconsp.html

recent thread on rec.folk-dancing

The act's attempt to include other dance forms under the rubric of square dancing also irritates other dance communities, who don't feel as if they're part of "club square dancing". There's very little overlap between MWSDers and folk-dancers in general; it almost seems like we're trying to appropriate their activities when it suits us, despite having no organizational ties with them.

So, while I think square dancing is a great activity, as you all know, I disagree with making it the national folk dance. I think the US is a nation built on diversity, and as a diverse country, picking out a dance from one cultural tradition seems wrong to me.

Best,

Kris

I should probably add that will all the other stuff going on in the world right now, it seems silly to even ask Congress to deal with this kind of triviality.

Here's the email that's going around:
MAKE A LOT OF NOISE

Promenade Act

Square, Round, Contra, Line, Heritage dancers and Cloggers across the United States are encouraged to contact their congressman and congresswoman asking them to be a Co-sponsor of HR 645, also known as the "Promenade Act". The Promenade Act will permanently designate the Square Dance as the National Folk Dance of the United States of America.

H.R. 645 was introduced in the 1st Session of the 108th Congress on February 5, 2003, to amend title 36, United States Code, designating the Square Dance as the National Folk Dance by U. S. Representative Ed Whitfield, 1st District, Kentucky. The Square Dance is a traditional form of family recreation and encompasses all age groups, including youth and the handicapable. It is a healthy form of activity that exercises the body, heart and mind, and is a very politically correct activity.

The Square Dance is a great part of our American heritage and history that should be given official recognition by Congress. There are thirty-one states that have passed legislation designating the Square Dance as their State Folk Dance: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

The Square Dance is recognized in all the free world today with many square dance groups in foreign countries as well: Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, Philippines, and many other countries, who with us, keep alive a heritage and tradition that predates the birth of this great Nation.

Members of the United Square Dancers of America's Executive Committee recently walked the halls of the House and Senate Office Buildings in Washington, DC discussing this legislation with various Congressional offices and staff members seeking their co-sponsorship of the ?Promenade Act?. In each case the response was very positive, raising the hopes for success. If Square, Round, Contra, Line, Heritage Dancers and Cloggers from all across the United States MAKE A LOT OF NOISE by urging their Representatives to Co-sponsor this legislation, the Square Dance will finally be permanently designated as the National Folk Dance of the United States of America.

If you have Internet access, go to the USDA home page at HREF="http://www.usda.org">http://www.usda.org and click on the Folk Dance section. There you can print an individual congressional letter, a group congressional letter and a signature petition form. If you click on the link HREF="http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/">
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/
-- enter your own zip code it will connect you with your Congressperson. Telephone calls also are effective and with Congressional mail now taking over a month to arrive, these other methods of communicating may be more effective.

Thanks,
Jim Maczko SDSDA Parliamentarian jmaczko@san.rr.com


National Folk Dance
Heiner Fischle (squarekopp@aol.com) March 4, 2003 05:32:21 PM

As a member of Legacy (r.i.p.) I know that Square Dance was made the State Folk Dance of many states in the USA. Now I wonder wether this has helped in any way?
Heiner the doubting Squarehead.
State Folk Dance?
Kris (kris@squarez.com) March 5, 2003 01:03:51 AM

I don't think it's helped, but who can tell? Maybe there would have been an even greater decline if it weren't the state folk dance...but I doubt it.

I think the state folk dance should represent what's unique about a state. It would be absurd for New Mexico, for example, to have square dancing as its state folk dance (it doesn't, btw). Our state folk dance should be something that reflects the unique heritage of our state; IMHO, it should be either a Native American dance or something Hispanic. For Colorado, square dancing might be an appropriate state folk dance, reflecting the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers and Lloyd Shaw's influence.
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Kris Jensen

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http://www.squarez.com/StoryComments.php?story_id=231
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