Burning question counterintuitiveby
after enjoying an evening of good western swing music on a ranch near Quitaque,
this question came up. "Why do western dance participants always dance in a counter-clock
wise direction around the dance floor?" Not only did no one even offer a reason
or theory, no one could remember the question being asked before. |
up in a musical family, learned to dance by the time I could walk, my father supported
us by playing dances during the Great Depression, then I played for dances professionally
for 35 years. I should know the answer. Sorry, I don't have a clue. So, we present
the question to our smart, handsome and beautiful readers, "Why do western dancers
always dance around the floor in a counter-clockwise direction?"
contemplating the question I recalled a few "Trew" stories about the good old-fashioned
western country dances. Here 'tiz!
A lady I once knew was one of six daughters,
aged two years apart, born to a real cowboy and his wife living way out on a ranch
in New Mexico. She said her father was so afraid he would get stuck with an old-maid
daughter or two he made every effort to supply them with every attribute possible
to meet the demands of any suitor.
Such as, he insisted they all become
good dance partners, know how to play poker and be able to cook a decent meal.
With no practice partners nearby, the daughters took turns both leading and following
while learning to dance by a wind-up phonograph. After getting their homework
done many nights they all sat around the kitchen table and dad taught them how
to play poker using kitchen matches as chips.
As a result all the sisters
found decent husbands, most were wallflowers standing around the walls of the
local dances. They pulled them out on the floor and taught them to dance. My friend
says, "My husband leads while dancing until his "toddies" affect his coordination
then she leads and he follows until time to go home. It has been working for over
Another cowboy friend told of being coerced into chaperoning
a modern teenage school dance. He described it as, "The couples stood about three
feet apart and did calisthenics while listening to cannons going off on the bandstand."
Notice here, no circling the dance floor in any direction. Maybe the youngsters
got tired of going in circles.
I had a short cousin who was taught to
dance by his rather tall, ample-bosomed aunt. She would drag him out on the floor,
clamp his face into her cleft and circle the floor. He held his breath for the
count of 30 each time then came up for air. He said it wasn't so bad because the
position hid his embarrassed red face, he learned a lot about the facts of life
as well as being taught how to dance.
Since none of these stories have
anything to do with answering our original question, its still up to you readers
to tell us, "why do we circle the dance floor counter-clockwise?" My addresses
are below. I will publish any reasonable answers.
"It's All Trew" November
30, 2010 column
Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He
can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail
at firstname.lastname@example.org. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears
is why we dance counter clockwise
December 20, 2010 column by Delbert Trew