The Guide to IAGSDC Convention Chapters 19-21

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What's a "Grand March"?

Grand March line-up

One of the IAGSDC® Convention traditions is a presentation of all of the member clubs. This takes the form of a march, club-by-club, into a ballroom or similar large dance space, as a roster of IAGSDC® clubs is read off. Dancers generally wear their formal club uniforms for the Grand March, although it's not a requirement.

The exact format of the march varies from year to year. Some years, the clubs are presented in alphabetical order, and sometimes in order of founding. The host club for the current convention may be the first or last dancers into the room. In either case, the other IAGSDC® clubs always give the local club(s) a rousing cheer to thank them for hosting.

At the conclusion of the Grand March, the national anthems of all countries hosting IAGSDC® clubs are played and/or sung, speeches are read, announcements are made, and there's an all-together-now dance (generally at Mainstream level).

I've heard some people refer to the Grand March as a bit corny, but ... when you're marching with your club, and there are a thousand other dancers on the floor, all marching with their clubs, and people are cheering each other's clubs as they make entrances ... the Grand March feels pretty darn wonderful. It can be a real thrill to realize that you're part of a much larger group, all of whom share a common interest. (No, not sex. Square dancing.)

What does "WFH" or "TNP" Mean?

JP Slater from Vancouver suggested that some people may not understand these terms. These stand for "Way F***ing Hard" or "Take No Prisoners". These are special, extra-hard tips called for people who enjoy a challenge!

One of the best ways to decide if you're ready to move up to the next dance level is to try dancing a WFH/TNP tip at your current dance level. If you have relatively few problems ... you're probably ready to move up. If you're feeling shaky at a given level, you may not want to dance the WFH/TNP tip for that level.

Some dancers enjoy dancing the WFH/TNP tip for the level below their current dance level. So Plus dancers frequently will dance the WFH Mainstream tip, A2 dancers will dance the TNP Plus tip, etcetera. You'd be surprised how challenging some lower dance levels can be!

From a caller's perspective ... WFH/TNP tips are an opportunity to show dancers that any given dance level can be interesting and fun.

A variation is called "Survivor Tips", where each square that breaks down during a WFH sequence stops dancing, until only one square is left standing (well, dancing).

What is the "GCA", and what's a "GCA Tip"?

GCA Caller School 2005 GCA Callers School

"GCA" stands for "Gay Callers Association." This is an association of square dance callers who are either LGBT and/or who call to LGBT groups. Many GCA members are also CALLERLAB members. Many straight callers are GCA members. (CALLERLAB is an international association of square dance callers, in case you were going to ask.)

The GCA also runs a popular caller school prior to each convention. Everyone from first-time beginner to seasoned pro is eligible to take the school. Note: early arrivals at Convention who are willing to dance for the calling students are very welcome and appreciated!

To provide rest breaks (and walking time between rooms) for featured staff callers, most conventions provide short calling spots (usually around 10 minutes) for GCA members to "strut their stuff" and call a warm-up/cool-down tip. This is called a "GCA Tip".

Many people make the mistake of assuming that GCA tips are called only by beginners. Not so! GCA tips are called by members with every level of experience you can imagine ... including some professional callers who simply may not have made it onto staff at a given Convention.

For more information on the GCA, see their website.

(Back to the Guide To IAGSDC Convention Table of Contents.) (Back to Guide Chapter 18.) (Forward to Guide Chapter 22.)