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Do Si Do

by on April 27, 2016

I never knew “Do si do” was a dance step. I knew it was involved with square dancing (“Swing your partner, do si do!”), but I assumed that this was some sort of patter, like King Louie and Baloo in the original animated Jungle Book movie. When I finally figured out that do si do was a dance step, and actually learned how to do it, I never would’ve imagined I’d be doing it at a Catholic parish hoedown, in the undercroft of a cathedral.  Life is funny that way.

I could go into the specifics of how I came to be there, theologically speaking. I could tell you how after a good deal of soul-searching, I found a new church home, and how being formally received into it at the Easter Vigil was one of the most moving spiritual experiences I have had. (Side note: make sure to take your sandals off if you’re stepping into a baptismal font. You will splash. Also, try to ignore the ominous gurgling noise when the water drains out of the font while the ceremony is still going on. You will laugh, and that could be embarrassing, especially with the Archbishop being there and all.)  I could go into all of that, but I am not a theologian. So let’s skip all that and get to the square dancing.

Our parish had a hoedown type event announced. I and my wife decided to attend. I own neither cowboy hat nor boots, alas, but I had a Zorro hat from a Halloween party last year, and a red plaid shirt. And so, Canadian Zorro rode valiantly to the hoedown.

At the hoedown, there was, of course, square dancing. I had never square danced in my life. But a little voice inside my head said, hey, why not?  And so, I did. It turns out that square dancing is ridiculously fun. You hold hands with your partner, move about in various circles and steps, switch hands with someone else, and yell “Whoo!” at appropriate intervals,  all while laughing hysterically. (At least, that was how I did it.).  Do si do, I discovered, means that you start off facing your partner, then move in a circle around them, without (and this is the tricky bit), turning around yourself. I somehow managed to accomplish this without knocking my partner down. I’m not saying I’m Lord of the Dance or River Tam in the “Safe” episode of Firefly or anything, but….

It was fun. It was unfiltered, purely happy fun. I haven’t had fun like that in some time.

I mean to do it again. And I mean to learn more square dancing steps. Today: the do-si-do. Tomorrow….POLKA.

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17 Comments
  1. Square dancing is a lot of fun, now I want to go do it again! I haven’t done it many times, but it’s one of those dances that is enjoyable right away. If you’re with the right people who are laughing with you about your mistakes rather than scowling at you, that is!

    • We were all sort of laughing generally, but there was a good bit of laughter about each other’s mistakes, for sure. 🙂

  2. This was fun. I’ve only done square dancing a few times, but it’s definitely hard to be sad while doing it.

    • That is true. I don’t think I could’ve felt even mildly distressed while doing it…

      • You reminded me of an old bit Steve Martin used to do where he tried to be sad playing the banjo, and it was impossible. 🙂

  3. You should look to see if there is a contra dancing group in your area and prepare for your mind to be blown.

    • I will definitely look into it. I think I have a friend who does contra, and seems to have a lot of fun.

      • You get to sashay and peel the banana and other cool stuff. I having been dancing in ages and really miss it.

      • I did do something called the Banada Dance once, when I was part of an orientation leader group at college. It went something like “Peel banana, peel peel banana! Shake banana, shake shake banana! Peel it to the left, peel it to the right, peel it down the middle and, (uh!), take a bite!”

        I did that, along with about 15 others, in front of 500 freshmen. Classic.

  4. Square dancing was part of the PE curriculum when I was in elementary school a long, long time ago. As 4th graders we probably didn’t admit we were having fun.

    • I was homeschooled myself, so there wasn’t much square-dancing, but I did run through the yard sprinklers now and again. 🙂

  5. What a great post this was, Michael! I’ve only seen square dancing on TV and I followed along from my couch, but I’m sure being one of the dancers is a lot more fun.

    • It is tremendously fun, although some of the dances can get complicated. There was one, the Grapevine Twist I think, that I watched from the sidelines; I couldn’t even follow it. People weaving around everywhere… 🙂

  6. Donna-Louise Bishop permalink

    Such lovely images!

  7. charlotte833 permalink

    This brought back a fond memory. After mass one Saturday night (yup, Catholic) about two decades ago, a guy I had a huge crush on asked me out–to go square dancing. It was love at first Do-Si-Do.

  8. Michael what fun! Our church hosts a Contra dance every couple of months and it is also a lot of fun. Very similar, with a caller, do si do’s and swingin’ your partner and all that stuff. Great exercise too!

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