St. Cloud Convention

  • A traditional folk dance from the United States based on "country" music and clothing.
  • A great social mixer for all ages. Square dancing is enjoyed at all ages, from grade school to senior citizens.
  • Healthful exercise. It is a low fat, non-alcoholic, and high energy activity. (However, we make no guarantees about the eating that may accompany the dancing!)
  • Inexpensive. Most dances cost about $10-$14 per couple.
  • A global activity. Square dancing is found in every state in the US as well as all the Canadian provinces, and in more than 50 countries around the world. Square dance calls are usually spoken in English, regardless of the location of the dance.
More info about American Square Dance can be viewed at Wikipedia or you may download a pdf copy of History & Heritage of Square Dance.
(PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free program available from Adobe at
A square dance requires:
  • One or more "squares" of dancers (4 couples per square)
  • A Caller
  • Music
The caller chants or sings instructions to the dancers directing them in specific moves around the square. These instructions are known as "calls". A good caller skillfully paces his calls to the music.
New dancers first learn Basic level calls then move up to Mainstream calls. Skilled dancers can go on to learn more complicated calls at Plus, A1, and A2 levels.
If you have never square danced, you need to learn the calls in order to understand the instructions given by the caller. Square Dance lessons are offered at different levels by many square dance clubs, including the Jolly Promenaders.
Click here for more information on taking lessons from the Jolly Promenaders, or check out the Minnesota Square Dance Federation for statewide lesson info.
Half the fun of Square Dance is the costume. Although "dress codes" vary in different regions, square dance apparel usually consists of western style clothing.Tom & Elaine's dangles
Men generally wear long-sleeved western shirts, slacks, boots, and bolo ties or scarves.
Women generally wear western styled blouses with wide skirts over full petti-coats and petti-pants.
Many regions now accept less formal western clothing, such as short sleeves for men and prairie skirts for women.
Note: Those aren't suspenders on Tom in the photo. Those long black strips he and Elaine are wearing are made of "dangles" - one for each of the annual state conventions they have attended!