What is Round Dance?
Round Dance is an originally American form of ballroom dancing, a couple dance in which the dancing couples simultaneously execute dance moves in a circle by following the announcements of a dance leader (Cuer). The figures are similar to known figures of the standard and Latin American dances of the ADTV (Allgemeiner Deutscher Tanzlehrerverband e. V.). Examples are the figures New Yorker or Fence Line in Cha Cha Cha and Rhumba.
The difference from the ADTV is that in Round Dance the Cuer announces the dance moves with the music right before their execution. At the same time the Cuer of a club is usually the teacher who shows and explains new steps and figures to the dancers.
Round Dance is danced worldwide in many Square and Round Dance clubs. On numerous dance events Square and Round Dance are often offered on the program together.
Round Dance knows many different rhythms and styles. The most famous rhythms, which are also taught in conventional dancing schools, are among others:
- Cha Cha Cha
- Paso Doble
The individual dance steps and figures are classified by level of difficulty into the phases I to VI by the international umbrella organisation ROUNDALAB. Through that it is guaranteed that the figures are the same worldwide and offer dancers the opportunity to dance in clubs worldwide. Tolerance, community and fun are of great importance to Round Dancers.
There are no competitions, tournaments or demonstrations in Round Dance and therefore the atmosphere is relaxed, free and easy. It is not the perfect styling or visual nature of the figures which are paramount, but the enjoyment of the dancers. Like this the delight of moving with the music which Round Dance offers can be savoured untroubled by competitiveness and pressure to perform.
There is a differentiation between two types of choreographies and cueing techniques respectively:
It is danced to a specific written up dance instruction (cue sheet), which is cut to the peculiarity of a particular piece of music, too. Like this the dancing steps can reflect the phrasing of the music. A speciality is that a dance can also consist of several rhythms.
For example there are two-step/jive combinations where the dance consists of a two-step rhythm and contains as intermediate part a jive sequence because the music is offering it at that spot. There are even dances that are written for up to three different rhythms. The dance’s level of difficulty complies with the level of difficulty (phase) of the used figures.
The Cuer announces the figures in an order which, from their perspective, appears suitable for a particular purpose at that time - for example to practice a figure, sequence, posture or a specific transition between two figures or change of rhythm.
First the dancers learn the basic figures in a class, the so-called Round Dance Class, usually starting with two-step, waltz, cha cha cha and rhumba. After between half and a three-quarter year the class finishes with a ceremonial graduation (final ceremony with exam and admittance ceremony) and the dancers are then authorised to dance in other clubs and participate on corresponding dance events worldwide.
Round Dance Council
The Round Dance Council covers the sector of the Round Dance Leaders of ECTA e. V. During regular Council Meetings on Jamborees, the Round Dance Festival, ECTA Convention and the Fall Round Up interests and issues concerning Round Dance are discussed. Open questions are debated, decisions about workships are made, the examination for Active Leader and Active Teacher take place. Key task is the expansion and maintenance of the Round Dance repertoire.
Head of those meetings is the Round Dance Coordinator, who is also part of the Extended Board of ECTA e. V. The participation in meetings for interested people (non Round Dance Leader) is possible, however, only active Cuers and Teachers have voting rights. The Round Dance Coordinator can direct work within the sector onto different committees. At the moment there are a Round Dance Festival Committee, a Repertoire Committee and a EEP Committee.
STEP – Structured Teaching and Education Program
STEP is a guideline for the education of Round Dance beginners.
It provides cuers with an already established basis for teaching a course in a way that is structured, coordinated between regions,
makes comparing the progress between different groups of beginners easy and thus makes joint dancing events possible.
STEP offers a selection of figures, grouped into a series of three educational modules, called Level A, B and C.
These three levels of education consist of lists containing the steps, figures and terms to be taught.
The rhythms and number of figures are fixed and a teaching order is suggested although not prescribed.
By this manageable learning units are defined while at the same time there is enough flexibility for individual adjustments by the teacher.