The Gustavian Weekly

Square dance tradition matters | The Gustavian Weekly

By Emily Septet - Opinion Writer | September 7, 2018 | Opinion

The annual Orientation square dance.

The annual Orientation square dance.

With orientation coming to an end, on every First-year’s mind is the countless icebreakers and activities to get the class of 2022 ready for life here at Gustavus. While some will look back fondly on the four days of orientation spent with their Greeter, others- well, not so much. 

One particularly controversial event during orientation is the square dance. Some love it, and some hate it. But is the event worth it? 

Some students find the event to be boring, hot, and uncomfortable. While countless students went to the dance, many others did not. This is a sad thought, as the square dance is a valuable part of orientation and becoming comfortable here at Gustavus. 

Although not everyone may love the event, it certainly achieves the goal of getting First-years out of their comfort zone. Almost nowhere else can you square dance, much less with hundreds of other people.Even though your feet may hurt afterwords, you certainly get your workout for the day and have fun while doing it. 

The dance allows for every Gustie to be a part of a long-standing tradition, as the square dance has been annually held every year for First-years since 1972. Just knowing that multiple generations of Gusties, with all different backgrounds, careers, and lives, have all shared this experience is humbling. 

“The square dance is one of the memorable things at Gustavus, something that students and alumni both can look back on fondly and share. It is a sentimental thing for not only alumni, but upperclassmen as well,” said Sophomore Carrie Bather. 

First-year Ally Berger also saw the importance of the square dance tradition. 

“With the Gustie Greeters’ hyping it up so much, and hearing about the huge tradition, it really increased my desire to go.”

And of course, no one can forget the legend of meeting your soulmate. Many Gustie Alumni have fallen in love and gotten married after meeting each other at the square dance. 

The dance gives students the chance to meet new people, and bond with them. When you’re thrown into a “dance square” with seven other people, all awkwardness is thrown out the window very quickly.   

“It’s really rare to hear anyone say that they felt awkward at the square dance. It forces people to talk, and I’ve actually known people who made friends with people through the square dance,” Bather said. 

But what makes the square dance different from all the other ice-breaker events of orientation weekend, one may ask? The square dance is the perfect ice-breaker. Unlike other ice-breakers, little to none of the participants go into the event knowing what is going to happen.

“The square dance allowed me to meet all these new people, and it made me feel better about living here at Gustavus,” Berger said. 

 It is an event where everyone can laugh at themselves together and have a dance party.No one knows what they are doing and are trying to survive the fast-paced instructions all at once. This makes your “dance square” a team, all working towards a common goal of not running into each other, and successfully completing a dance. 

First-years who attended the event seem to be very happy about their experience. 

“The square dance was so fun. At first, I thought it would be lame, but once I went it was amazing. Now I know how to square dance, and I’m much  more comfortable here at Gustavus. I would definitely recommend the square dance to every incoming First-year next year,” 

said First-year Lexy Fuerstenberg. 

Square dancing is also something that not many 18-year olds have experience in, leading to a truly unique learning experience.

“I loved the Square Dance, and I had a great time. It’s a great way to learn and meet new people. I also liked being part of a tradition here at Gustavus, ”First-year Julia Stathopoulos said. 

The square dance is a great Gustie tradition, and a unique one at that. Every year, the new students make the event fresh and modern, and it’s a great way to meet each other. Here’s to another great square dance next year.

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