On the registration form for the National Square Dance Convention there is text at the bottom that reads, “Proper Square Dance Attire and Convention Badge are REQUIRED for entrance to the dance halls…” While this is not new for the National Square Dance Convention, I had heard it was actually being enforced at the 56th Convention in Charlotte.
If we want to continue Square Dancing in this country we have to change with the times. Believe it or not some folks find Square Dance attire a little out of date.
I am a former President of the SAGE Swingers Square and Round Dance Club in Maine. We are the largest club in Maine and probably New England with more than 120 active members. Every April we enjoy attending the New England Square Dance Convention with about 50 of our club members. During the day both men and women wear jeans and short sleeve polo shirts (many with our club logo on them). In the evenings we dress up, most of the women wear skirts and blouses and men wear slacks and shirts (most shirts are long sleeve, but not all). The point is we have a very large contingent of dancers that attend these dances but don’t dress according to the requirements set up at the National Square Dance Convention.
My wife and I attended the National Square Dance Convention in Denver in 2004 and dressed as we do for the New England Convention (jeans and short sleeve shirts during the day). We had a great time and were never asked to leave the dance floor. We also attended the 57th National Convention in Wichita and continued to dress as we did in Denver.
I know the published required attire caused us to think we might not want to attend convention and I wonder if it might be deterring others from attending or even joining us in this great social activity. I think the NEC needs to reconsider their stance on “Proper Attire” and focus on getting people to join our activity, not turn them away by rigid dress codes.