What to expect at our dances
The CDK dances at the Oshtemo Grange are a social occasion. Our goal is friendly interaction with other nice folks having fun with music and movement, not dance perfection.
Individuals, couples, and groups are all welcome, including children old enough to follow directions.
We have live music at most of our dances, with both local and traveling bands.
There is always a caller, who teaches the moves before the music starts.
Everyone wears comfortable shoes and light-weight clothing for vigorous movement.
Most evening dances include a free half hour lesson at 7 o'clock.
There's usually a break about halfway through the evening. A snack or beverage to share is always welcome. (Township rules do not permit alcohol.)
What are dances like?
The traditional social dances we do at the Oshtemo Grange are mostly set dances. That is, couples are organized in some shape or other, such as four couples in a square or a large number of couples in a circle or long lines of couples down the length of the dance floor.
In a sense you and your partner are dancing not only with each other but with all the neighboring couples in your set, completing a series of figures which are taught before the music starts.
The figures, such as forward and back, swing your partner, turn your neighbor around with right hands, promenade your partner, are mostly very simple and as the dance goes on the dancers learn the pattern and the teacher/caller can provide less prompting.
You and your partner aren't divided into "lead" and "follow" roles as in couple dancing, so you can both relax and enjoy following the caller. Most evening dances include a free half hour lesson at 7 o'clock .
Most dancers like to switch partners from one dance to the next. It's easy: "Would you like to do this next dance?" (The response is usually "Sure. Let's dance!")
Saturday dances at the Grange feature mostly contra dances (long lines of couples down the length of the dance floor) with a mix of circles and squares. The bands play a variety of traditional dance tunes (reels, jigs, marches, waltzes, rags, and others) that come primarily from New England, Appalachia, Québec, Scotland, Ireland, and England. Many of the tunes are centuries old, while others are modern. The dances are mostly modern compositions in traditional style. Saturday dance programs also include a few couple dances, such as waltzes. For advanced dances see description under FAQs.
Our Wednesday evening programs feature English country dances. These involve the same set shapes as the Saturday dances (long lines, squares, circles, etc.), but a larger number of basic figures. Usually each dance has its own tune that supports a certain mood – elegant, lively, relaxed, playful, and romantic, to name a few.
We promote our Sunday programs as dance parties, with a bit of "workshop" flavor. You can expect a variety of set dances and couple dances and an opportunity to learn style and skill in a relaxed atmosphere. Mostly we have recorded music at these dances, with volunteer teachers/callers.