Pittsburgh Area Callers and Cuers Association

Gold Rush Square Dance Productions 2015

PACCA News Room:

Square and Round Dance News

for the Tri-State Area.

Pennsylvania Convention Comes To an End!

This years Pennsylvania Convention marks the end of nearly a quarter century tradition. Unfortunately, the event can no longer sustain itself in it’s current format while P.S.R.D.F leadership and funds continue to dwindle.

While many remain hopeful that a reboot of the convention might be possible in 2018, the likelihood of that happening appears to be extremely optimistic. To better understand why a 2018 P.S.R.D.F convention is unlikely, we need to take a closer look at what is coming down the road.

The current decline in active dancers state wide has reached a critical point. Federation clubs continue to fold and active dancers continue to age out or leave the activity faster than new dancers are being brought in. To this point, the federation has made no efforts to address this problem by adopting a sustainable agenda for the future.

It must be pointed out that some dance leaders, such as Mike Matsko, have tried to redirect the focus of the state federation toward sustainability, but have found themselves once again mired in the politics of the current leadership and  their lack of understanding the problem. It seems at this time that the direction of the federation will continue on it’s path of self destruction until it finally collapses.

A secondary issue is now beginning to rear it’s head. Callers and Clubs that have adopted sustainable square dance programs, are now redirecting their attention toward their growing dancer population and away from the remaining federation dance population. The limited resources of time, money, and a lack of Callers are now causing sustainable groups to divert more of their attention toward what they know works, rather than what is left.

Because of this secondary issue, the ability of the federation to secure the participation of these Callers and  their Clubs two years from now is becoming more and more unlikely. Sustainable dance programs are usually Mainstream based. The remaining dance population does not consider Mainstream dancing  an acceptable level for entry into their community.

Tim Marriner received resounding applause this year when he announced that he was switching to plus at the convention, even though most dancers could not handle the choreography he was calling. He should have announced soft standard application Plus and cast aside all ambitions of ever calling the world class dance he is known for, that ultimately eliminated almost 2/3 of the dancers from the floor.

As this new growing population of Mainstream based dancers gains ground, there will soon be a new Sheriff in town making the rules. This new group will outnumber the old guard and begin to dictate the future of square dancing themselves. That future lies in the return to a Mainstream entry level, modern music and technology, and multi cycle or learn as you go instruction.

While this article may not sit well with many at the state level, it serves to point out the seriousness of the current situation and paint a more realistic picture than the one currently being presented to the dance community. All is not well as many would like us to believe. The truth is that the Wizard has gone back to Kansas and their is no one left behind the curtain to run the show.


Scott Brown

The viewpoints expressed in the preceding article are not an official position of PACCA. They only reflect the current perspective of some of it’s members.