LETTER: Social dances just aren't what they used to be

SOCIAL dances, notably New Vogue and Old Time, in Bundaberg leave much to be desired on the social scene.

First, one of the two clubs involved has no progressive dances, where partners are being continually changed.

Then there is the almost exclusively New Vogue club where permanent partners are the general rule since the learning was never ending and sometimes complicated.

Enter the other predominately Old Time club and some amazing practices that I never came across in a lifetime of dancing recently came into play.

One in particular that I find abhorrent is the pre-arranging of partners for particular dances.

If one lady has six of these pre-arrangements, and if half the women at the dance do this, then not only does a new man coming into the scene have to learn the dances to avoid the insult of rejection on asking for a dance, he must also learn all the arrangements as well.

Just how uselessly can one put in one's time?

It is little wonder that both forms of dancing are dying a slow death with fewer and fewer dancers, since most dancers are 60 or over, the dancing dies with them.

I know of only one young dancer and this one is nurtured and attended by a doting grandmother and needs some years to mature, so the replacement rate could be said to be hopelessly inadequate.

Conversely, I have attended two Bush Dances recently where young people almost outnumbered the adults and danced with enthusiasm and obvious pleasure which was a delight to see.

The real difference with Bush Dancing is that it has a very simple learning system under the guidance of a caller and 10 dances completely new to the dancer can easily be accomplished in one night and learning becomes a social activity where I have never seen any dancer embarrassed.

I am a sometime participant in Old Time Dances as a result of a pre-arranged promise of a significant number of these dances.

However, the party to the promise reneged on the deal in favour of an already established partner, a situation unknown nor disclosed to me beforehand.

So there are some double dealers involved in this dance scene which smells of greed in an effort to alleviate the shortage of male dancers on the scene.

However I am heartened by the pleasure taken in Bush Dancing by young people and can see this as the only possible survivor of the whole business which makes rules to suit and breaks them just as readily.

LESTER ROY

Bundaberg



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