Lessons for new dancers start June 1

The Ramblers are pleased to announce that we will be offering an 8-week series of square dance lessons for brand new dancers starting June 1, 2016. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about lessons.

1.  Where and when are the lessons taught?

The lessons will take place on Wednesday evenings, from 7-9 pm, at the Ankeny Street Studio, 975 SE Sandy Blvd., Portland. The studio is inside an office building—so don’t be surprised if the building does not look like a typical dance studio from the outside! The studio parking lot and entrance are on the north side of the building (the Ankeny Street side). (Please do not park in the parking lot on the south side of the building.

2.  What are the dates of the lessons?

The 8 lessons will run from June 1 through July 27. This is a period of 9 weeks, but there will be no class on June 29 because many of our members will be traveling to Toronto for the annual square dance convention (http://www.toronto2016.com/).

3.  How much do the lessons cost?

The first lesson, on June 1, will be a free introduction to square dancing. We will use this night to introduce you to the club, provide some background about square dancing, and help you decide whether you want to pursue lessons. There’s no obligation to continue after June 1, but we hope you will!

If you decide to continue with the lessons, the cost will be $50, payable on June 8, for the full series of lessons.

4.  What will I learn?

You will be up and dancing from the very first class. Over this series of 8 lessons, you will learn the first 51 calls of the Mainstream dance level. (Mainstream is the first of 4 dance levels and has a total of 68 calls.) Some people call this the “Basic” dance level.

If you complete the 8 lessons, you will be able to attend any new dancer “jamboree.” These are special dances for new dancers and focus just on the first 51 calls. We will let you know how to find times, dates, and places of jamborees.

5.  Do I need to bring a dance partner?

No! Solo dancers are welcome at all Ramblers lessons and dances. For lessons, our top priority is making sure all students get into a square, whether they came as a couple or as a solo dancer.

6.  What happens after I finish lessons?

We will have a community dance at the Q Center on Saturday, August 20, at 7 pm. This would be a great opportunity for you to show off your new skills.

Also, we anticipate starting our next series of full Mainstream lessons in mid-September. This 15-week class teaches all 68 Mainstream calls. Dancers who complete our summer series will have a real head-start for Mainstream lessons in the fall. We normally charge $100 for the Mainstream class, but if you take the summer series, your payment will be applied to the cost of Mainstream lessons. That is, your cost for the full Mainstream class would be $50.

And we have monthly dances at the Milwaukie Grange starting the second Saturday in September. This is another great opportunity to practice your dancing and get to know our club members better.

7.  Do I need to wear special clothes?

No, please wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. Attire for lessons is totally casual. Since these lessons will be offered in the summer, most dancers will wear short sleeves and some may wear shorts. The studio is air-conditioned, but it tends to heat up with lots of dancers on the floor.

We do recommend that you wear smooth-soled shoes. Tennis shoes are usually not the best choice. If your soles have too much grip, you may put unnecessary stress on your knees.

8.  What do I need to do to prepare?

Be prepared to have fun and meet new people! We also encourage you to invite friends to join us. Square dancing is definitely a case of “the more the merrier.”

It is a good idea to give some thought to whether you want to dance on the left side or right side of your couple. (The left side is the traditional male or “boy” position; the right side is the traditional female or “girl” position.) The Ramblers do not require traditional gender roles, and most of our members eventually learn both dance positions. You are welcome to dance in the position where you feel comfortable, but it generally helps to have this figured out in advance—so we can make sure we get you in the right place in the square.

9.  What if I still have questions?

Please send an email to info@rosetownramblers.com.