What are some important things to know about square dancing with Chi-Town Squares?

Everyone is welcome to dance with us.

  • On the first Thursday of each month we host a no experience needed Dance Party! Swing around the floor with us. 7pm-9pm.
  • Singles and couples are invited! No need to bring a dance partner!
  • Choose to dance either lead or follow!
  • No dress code!
  • We use Callerlab definitions and fun styling.
  • Our dance location is smoke and alcohol free.
  • We dance weekly September through May each year:
    • On Thursday nights we workshop and dance Mainstream & Plus.
    • Monday nights we workshop and dance Advanced & C1.
    • At our monthly dances we dance MS, Plus, and A2. Check out our calendar.
  • Our Summer dance schedule is posted on our calendar.
  • Our BLAST teaching weekend is for new and returning dancers. We trach all Basic and Mainstream calls. Check our calendar. We host teaching Blasts twice each year, spring and fall.

What’s all this about levels of square dancing?

One of the neat things about Modern Western Square Dancing (which is what we are doing, by the way) is that there is a standard teaching order and groups of calls established by an organization called Callerlab. We use this system, which means that what you learn with us will let you dance with clubs all over the world.

Whenever you attend a dance, the caller will announce the level for the tip they are about to call. That way you’ll know whether you know the calls they are going to use. Usually, depending on who’s at the dance, the caller will alternate levels from tip to tip.

You will learn the Basic & Mainstream level at the BLAST weekend.

At our club dances, we make sure that our new students get plenty of opportunity to dance the calls they’ve learned in class. 

The next levels are Plus, and Advanced, which we teach each as separate classes. Above that are Challenge levels C1, C2, and C3. We have regular weekly workshops for Advanced and Challenge dancers, and some years, when there is enough interest, we teach a Challenge level class.

Am I expected to go to the next level?

Some people do finish one level and move right on to the next, and other people settle in at a level they like and stay at that level. Many people choose to go back through our Mainstream class, to gain experience, to learn the other (follow or lead) part, to help new students, or just because they like it. Lots of people take the Mainstream class and don’t take further classes, staying active by coming to classes or dances on a regular or occasional basis. There is plenty of dance opportunity at the Mainstream and Plus levels, and many people never do choose to move on. You are free to choose to advance at your own pace, or not at all. If you do choose to learn a new level of dancing, there is a lot of support for you in the club.

What’s a tip?

A tip is a square dance term for a period of dancing. Often, it consists of one "hash call", which is whatever choreography the caller wants to use, and one "singing call", which is more structured. For practical purposes, you can think of a tip as all the dancing between two breaks.

You certainly don’t expect me to be doing all that twirling and whooping stuff, do you?

What you are asking about is called "styling," and yes, it is a lot of fun. And it’s easier than it looks!

There are two main reasons we hold off on teaching styling.

First, it’s challenging enough figuring out where your feet and bodies go without adding all the bells and whistles as well. It’s good to learn the basics before we get too fancy.

Second, without styling, the calls are universal from club to club, so learning the basics without styling allows you to dance just about anywhere, with a gay club or a straight club. The styling we use is mostly unique to gay clubs.

We usually have styling class in the winter or early spring, and we take an entire workshop to add all the bells and whistles to the calls you will have already learned. It is a lot of fun. Until then, have a great time dancing without the styling and honing your skills with the calls.

If you have any concerns about styling, remember, styling is always optional, even after we teach it. There are plenty of people who don’t choose to style, and nobody should ever feel pressured to. We’ll make sure we cover that part, too!

And yes, we expect you to be whooping. You’re among friends. Whoop it up!