About Dancing

If you are curious about the various kinds of dance activities available to you, we hope that the short explanations below will be informative.  Look around the site as well; there is more information about dances and dancing on the Our Members page, and a brief history of square dancing on the Dance – History page.  Finally, please call us for more information.  Click on Contact Us to find our phone numbers and email addresses.

MVCA members lead square, round, line, and contra dances.  All our dance forms share two major characteristics:

  1. Our dances are thoroughly modern, yet they have strong roots in dances dating back hundreds of years;
  2. The dances depend on a dance leader who either directs the dancers through the sequence of dance steps as the music plays, or who teaches and demonstrates the dance steps immediately before the dance begins.

Here is a little bit about each of these dances.

A square dance is danced by four couples in a square formation, each positioned on one side of the square. A dance leader known as a Caller directs the dancers through a sequence of figures as the dance proceeds. The Caller ends the sequence by choosing figures that bring the dancers back to their starting positions, all in time to the music, which can range from country to pop and everything in between.

 People today enjoy both Hoedown dancing and Modern Western Square Dancing.

Hoedown dancers don’t need any prior knowledge about square dancing. The Caller explains each dance and leads them through the steps as the music plays. Hoedowns are ideal for church groups, clubs, and special events where people can experience the excitement of square dancing on a one-time, just for fun basis.

Modern Western Square Dancing is similar to Hoedown dancing except that the dancers learn the dance figures in a dance class (not at the dance).  It’s a great way to have fun with old and new friends on a regular basis.  There are dozens of Modern Western Square Dance clubs throughout the Dayton area.

A round dance is similar to a modern ballroom dance (e.g., Dancing With The Stars), except that a dance leader called a “Cuer” directs or cues the dancers through a series of dance figures as the music plays. The dancers learn how to dance the figures in a dance class (not at the dance).  At the dance, the couples whirl around the floor, executing the figures gracefully as the Cuer prompts them.

At a contra dance, two lines of dancers face each other. The contra leader or Prompter directs the dancers through a series of figures with the goal of returning them to their starting positions. Contra Prompters usually instruct new dancers during the dance. Contra is the most traditional of our dance forms, but it’s very popular.  For example,  if you have danced the Virginia Reel you’ve done a kind of contra dance!

At a line dance, all the dancers face the same way and execute the same steps.  Unlike other kinds of dances, you don’t need a partner to line dance.   Line dancing has a strong following, due in part to exposure on TV shows like The Wildhorse Saloon on TNN in the mid-90s.  Line dance leaders use all kinds of modern music.  Line dance leaders teach classes and usually teach the steps to each song at the dance as well.