Introduction to Round Dancing
What is Round Dancing?
Round Dancing is a type of choreographed ballroom dancing in which the Cuer calls out figures, which are performed by all dancers simultaneously. Dancers generally progress anticlockwise around the hall: this is known as Line of Dance. Cues are given about one measure of music before the dancers execute the figures, and are directed to the Man.
There are dances to most of the common Latin and Modern rhythms, eg Waltz and Cha Cha (and some rhythms specific to round dancing) to many different styles of music. Basic figures are taught and practised in a variety of sequences, often selected on the spot by the Cuer (Hash Cueing): this ensures each figure is fully understood and prevents dancers from merely memorising pre-set patterns of figures. New figures are introduced gradually, building on familiar material.
Round dancing is non-competitive and the emphasis is on fun and friendship. Rounds are danced all over the world but the cues are always given in English.
Judi and Scarlet Ribbons RDC:
Scarlet Ribbons Round Dance Club was started in Oxford in 1991 by Judi with a nucleus of dancers recruited from local Square Dance clubs. Initially concentrating on basic figures in the core rhythms (TwoStep, Waltz, Rumba and Cha Cha) the dancers have extended their repertoire to include a further 6 rhythms and figures of greater complexity.
Judi was accredited as a Cuer and Teacher in 1995 by the then Cuers’ Section of SDCCGB. She has held a number of positions within Cuers’ Section and the Round Dance Council and is currently Treasurer of the RDC.
Round Dancing under lockdown:
At present no Round Dance clubs are meeting and no beginners classes are recruiting, so it has been suggested we try to offer some “long distance” instruction to help less experienced and non-dancers to learn or revise some basic figures in the core rhythms. We will post pictures and videoclips, together with some written and Talk Through definitions and tips. As it is not legal to post licensed recorded music and cues together, we will post practise modules using a specially written piece of music – Thank you Roger. We hope to produce some practice CDs in the near future so you can become accustomed to the format of choreographed dances. If there are any difficulties, just e-mail your questions and we’ll try to help.
You can practise alone or with a partner within your social bubble, in your house, garden or patio. If you usually Square Dance with a same gender partner, decide in advance who will dance Man or Lady (you can swap for different rhythms if you wish) and learn the appropriate steps. Make sure your shoes are suitable for the surface, and give your feet good support. Trainers and flip flops are not ideal.
When the situation improves and clubs and dances resume, take every opportunity to “have a go”. Cuers never mind newer dancers making mistakes, and you will be surprised how quickly you improve once you get on the dance floor.
The instructional material offered free of charge on the website, together with higher quality supporting materials are offered on DVD at a nominal charge, but remains the intellectual property of Judi Read. It is intended for self guided learning by individuals and couples only. It may NOT be used to instruct a class or at any public event either free of charge or fee paying.
I would like to thank the following people for their generous contributions of time, expertise and encouragement in this project:
BAASDC for a recruitment grant towards the cost of a suitable website
Koli & Ron Pluck for the initial suggestion and acting as non RD guinea pigs
Michael Read – my Audio Tecchie, husband and dance partner
SDCCGB and RDC for their support and guidance through the licensing quagmire.
Andrew Wakeley – my son and IT guru for website design
Lynn & Roger Winkworth for music and video taping.