Chincoteague Square Dance Festival
So you think you can square dance? Then you should head for The Chincoteague Center on Chincoteague Island off Virginia's Eastern Shore where for the past eight years, some of the most talented square dancers from the Tidewater area gathered for a weekend of their favorite pastime with their favorite kinds of people; other square dancers.
Square dancing has been officially recognized as the folk dance of the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1991, when the legislators listed the Virginia Reel as a specific square dance along with squares, rounds, line, contras, and other dances not usually associated with classic square dancing.
Square dancing is all about participation, and it's your chance to get the aerobic benefits of your solitary (and possibly boring) daily jogs or treadmill runs while experiencing plenty of one-on-one contact with a group of like-minded friends. Picture the warmth and laughter of a Saturday night do-se-do-ing and promenading to foot stomping music, and taking a break for some down-home refreshments.
A constantly evolving art from, square dancing is performed with a caller free to choose patterns at will from the hundreds familiar to his dancers. You'll never dance the same square dance twice, an you'll never stick with the same partner throughout a dance. If variety is the spice of life, then square dancing is the spice of dancing.
The Chincoteague Square Dance Festival provides thirty "squares," or groups of four couples, with the opportunity to dance their hearts out for two days to the accompaniment of calls by the staff of Crown Records, the Festival's organizer. Crown Records' staff members Bob and Matt Worley have been the global ambassadors of square dancing, traveling around the US and abroad to establish square dancing clubs and to introduce other cultures to their square dance calling techniques. So you know you'll be dancing to some of the best callers anywhere at the Square Dance Festival.
The Festival includes not only lots of time on the dance floor, but workshops for those who want to sharpen their skills. There are plenty of casual dress dances, where you can indulge in your taste for outlandish costumes, but Saturday night is the time to get serious and show up in your finest dance attire.
Before heading home on Saturday morning, you can enjoy some of Chincoteague Island's Eastern Shore charm. Visit the Chincoteague Pony Farm or head across the bridge to Assateague Island and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, where you can either take in some sun and salt air, or try to glimpse some of the island's 300 different species of birds.
Participating in the activities will undoubtedly leave you hungry, so don't leave Chincoteague without sampling some of its legendary seafood. There's nothing like a "square" meal of local oysters, crab, or clams to put the perfect finishing touches on a weekend at the Square Dance Festival!