Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Hip to Be Square

Yesterday, Dave asked me to take a drive with him - he was playing a gig in Delaware with our friend, Don. I thought it was going to be interesting - Don asked a bunch of musicians who never play together to come and play together... I always wonder why that works out - but in Don's view - he only asks musicians he thinks are the best (which thrills Dave's bass-playing soul to know he's included in that category). Anyway - it usually works out pretty well for Don, so I kind of admire the hootzpah he has for not going through the work of having to do band practice every week - yet always being asked to come back and play again...

Anyway, I looked at the directions - it said they were playing at St. Andrews School... It said they were providing the background music for a square dance. It was all instrumental.... Isn't that crazy? Who's ever heard of a private high school sponsoring a square dance. I immediately discussed the matter with Audrey, salsa dancer extraordinaire... "It makes sense. America doesn't really have it's own group dance. Those kids NEED square dancing."

Ok. Before I get any further, I have to tell you what I only found out when arriving at St. Andrews - it was the school "Dead Poets Society" was filmed at. Isn't that weird? It's a lovely place - lots of lush lawns and gothic architecture... looks like a lot of schools in the east coast prep-type school region... (Here's a production still I found on the web - I have more photos -but I took them with Don's camera - and will post later when I get them back... And the dancing photos came from St. Andrew's website)

Back to the issue of high school students and square dancing. I met the caller, a guy named Alan - who liked to talk - so I asked, "Do students really like this?"

"Oh yes, he said, "When the Student Activites committee started this, they needed something to wear the kids out on their first night before classes. So they simply went around, told the kids they'd have a good time - and ever since then, the upper classmen just told the new students it was fun..."

I don't know that I believed him - but at 7 pm sharp, the hoarde of 300 or so students rushed the field, stood in a big circle, and waited for instructions. After the prerequesite do-si-do, prominade left and so forth, the kids enthusiastically formed squares and danced for the next few hours. They were so into the square dance, that even after their breaks, they, without being called, returned to the field, stood in squares, and waited for the caller to begin again. Who knew?

Dave: "If they asked my kid to do that, she'd be standing off to the side with her girlfriends thinking it was stupid..." But the truth is, if square dancing IS indeed, stupid, it's also fun - or so it looked from the faces of the kids who not only did the dance, but did all the dances, and loved doing them. They even made their best attempts at looking "western..." (which in some cases meant rolling up jeans and wearing wife beaters.)

So swing your partner, do-si-do - carpe diem and away we go...


PS - On a final note of how different this shool was from MY school experience, the weekend "Dead Poets Society" hit the theaters was also the weekend I was slated to march in my high school graduation. I BEGGED my mother to let me go to the movies and skip the ceremony... But alas, she said the same thing when I volunteered to skip my college graudation, "Kelly, I did not suffer through four years of your education to miss your graduation..." So I had to wait until later to watch Robin Williams stand on a Desk at St. Andrew's School. I guess I'm just not a joiner - is that so wrong?

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  • At 4:54 PM, Blogger Trixie said…

    This post completely captivated me! I love the idea and that the kids were so "into" it. Fasinating!

  • At 7:36 PM, Anonymous DF said…

    I think of myself as a sixteen-year old, miserable, lonely, awkward, outwardly standoffish but inside dying to touch and be touched, literally and figuratively. For once, to get to hold a girl's hand without having to be smooth, or "going somewhere with it," as we used to say? To relax, move, sweat, and for once, forget and not worry? The best thing in the world. I wish I'd gotten the chance.


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