News For March 21 - 27, 2005
Club of the week: Yellow Rock and Rollers
I talked to Ruth Riegelhaupt-Herzig, caller for the Yellow Rock and Rollers youth square dance club of Cupertino. Their club had a great turnout at the recent Spring Fling held by Sunnyvale Singles in San Jose, and we danced with several members of the club.
How and why was the club started?
The Yellow Rock and Rollers, Cupertino Chapter was formed in September 2002. It is for youth ages 8 and up. Cloverleaf Critters, for kids ages 5-8, was formed four months after YR&Rs.
The San Mateo club is being formed to have a group specifically run by and called for by the youth (as well as most of the dancers being youth, of course). The San Mateo club is for ages 10 and up.
Why is there a need for a youth club?
We formed Yellow Rock and Rollers to give youth a club where they are the priority. When YR&R Cupertino was formed, there were not many clubs that allowed youth at all. The numbers of clubs in this area that allow youth has increased significantly since the club was formed, but youth still need a place that they feel is their own. Yellow Rock and Rollers in general was designed to be a place where kids felt was for them. They weren't being "allowed to dance." They were being encouraged to dance. It isn't a group where kids can come if their parents are wanting to learn to dance and the kids want to tag along. It is a place where the parents can tag along if their kids say it's okay. The club is about the kids...getting kids to want to dance. Like most square dance groups, we foster a sense of unity, which I think is very important for kids. They are a team...they work together. Unlike adult groups though, the unit is the kids. The kids are a group and the parents (although we are also now friends) were thrown together because of the kids...not the other way around.
How often do you have beginner classes?
We have had a variety of beginners' classes in Cupertino. We have had traditional classes each year and have played with other ideas. The Cupertino group had a summer camp last year and will be having a Spring Break camp (and probably summer camp again) due to the success of the first camp.
The traditional class was September to early March this year.
What is the dance camp?
We had a week long dance camp last summer and will repeat it this Spring. We have the only week long camp that I know of. It went very well last year and produced some very active dancers.
Last summer's five day camp went to Mainstream and even learned a few Plus calls, despite losing a full day due to logistical problems. With some follow-up those dancers went to Plus. Dancers could probably learn Plus in a camp environment in five or six days while still keeping it fun and not overwhelming.
Here are the advantages of a dance camp: (1) Due to meeting every day, people don't forget much between sessions. There are not hours spent on review. (2) Scheduling conflicts do not cause the students to miss weeks and have to play catch-up. It is much easier to commit a week than to commit a night every week for seven to nine months. (3) The class is quick, so people can go to dance events right away. (4) No burnout from class after class after class for months.
How big is the club?
If all members, kids and parents show up, there are about five squares, but that really doesn't happen. We usually dance two or three squares.
How does the "Cloverleaf Critters" work?
The idea behind this group is to give the kids a positive exposure to square dancing early on. We don't worry about how many calls they learn...just the experience. Younger kids don't mind lots of repetition. Some Critters have become YR&R members (and even members of other clubs). We usually allow new people to join three or four times per year.
Tell about the new club starting in San Mateo.
In San Mateo, there is currently no youth (or even family) group. The San Mateo YR&R is being formed to have a group specifically run by and called for by youth (as well as most of the dancers being youth, of course).
The idea is to give teens and tweens a place to dance that they really feel is for them, right down to having it run and called for by a teen. It's a teen oasis within square dancing. They will still go out and dance at events with adults, but the idea is that this is by and for them. We hope that having a youth caller will appeal to teens who think that square dancing is just for older people.
How did Sarah become interested in calling?
Sarah says..."It's challenging. It's kind of like a puzzle and I like puzzles."
Sarah's very mathematical and visual, so calling was a logical interest for her. She was already interested when I went to callers' school before starting the Cupertino group. She went as my partner so she could hear when I heard. The rest, as they say, is history.
She's also into theater, so I think the whole opportunity to perform is a factor too.
Lastly, her interest became stronger when she decided she wanted to start a youth group that was a "true youth group".
Yellow Rock and Rollers sponsors a dance on Saturday, March 26, 2005 in Belmont. This will be a benefit dance for the newly forming San Mateo club.
Yellow Rock and Rollers has a web site:
Dance of the week: Yellow Rock and Rollers
The newly-forming Yellow Rock and Rollers San Mateo Chapter, a new youth square dance group, sponsors a dance on March 26, 2005 in Belmont, CA.
The dance is Plus level. The callers are Ruth & Sarah Riegelhaupt-Herzig. Wendy-Jean Iannico will cue rounds.
Sarah Riegelhaupt-Herzig is a 13-year-old caller who is starting a youth group by and for teens and tweens in San Mateo. (Parents are also allowed in the group, but the focus is on and the decision-making by the kids.) The benefit is to kick off the club because the cost of halls is so high and she is planning to distribute flyers in the schools (which can add up). The club will be the Yellow Rock & Rollers, San Mateo Chapter.
This will be Sarah's first hoedown, although she has been sharing calling responsibilities with other callers at Belle Swingers in Sunnyvale since last May.
Yellow Rock and Rollers has a web site: