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I AM STUNNED AND HURT after reading Eddie Dean’s article entitled “The Great Square Dance Conspiracy” (2/23). I have never seen such a hurtful, prejudiced look at a recreational activity. I have square danced on and off since childhood and have found square dancers, on the whole, to be friendly, down-to-earth people who are welcoming, giving, caring and fun. I do not recognize anyone I know in the description of “giddy geezers” moving “as if programmed by a cult leader.” At first I thought the article was written as a joke—that is how far from reality it really is. It seems to me that the writer of the article came to the Village Swingers with his mind already made up to put down the people who enjoy this social form of aerobic exercise. I would invite him or any other Washington City Paper staff member to come spend an evening with our club, Saturday in Style, (where my husband is one of the callers—and far from a cult leader) to try to give square dancers a fair appraisal.
I was sorry and surprised to see that other folk-dance enthusiasts seem to be so bitter against the movement to make square dancing the state dance of Maryland. This movement is in no way an attempt to monopolize square dancing as the only form of folk dancing at all. I think most dancers that I know have a love and respect for all forms of folk dance. Why are we turning against each other? There is room for all of us—as is apparent in the popularity of all forms of folk and ethnic dance in the D.C. area.
One more point—the article fails to mention the only square-dance club actually meeting in Washington, D.C.—a gay square dance club named Lambda Squares. Is that because that club’s membership would not fit in with the stereotype of the “evil,” “fanatic” “geezers” the author manipulates to portray? Square dancers cut across the board in terms of age, class, background. That is one of the beautiful things about the square-dance community. I think you should come back to revisit and not leave your readers with such an inaccurate, hostile, prejudiced look at square dance.
Silver Spring, Md.