I was recently at a dance, not too far away from Charlotte. Young, new caller very enthusiastic, she has a big future ahead of her as a dance caller. The usual call for "Hands Four" went up and we did so, up and down the line. In my foursome was an other guy, maybe about my age. He and his partner were "Ones" or "Active". This guy was obviously an experienced dancer, because he waited to be told whether the dance was a "Proper" or "Improper" formation. We smiled a bit ruefully because it was not so long ago that not every dance was assumed to be "Improper". However this young caller had not said anything, simply because in her experience, "Improper" is implied. It was not always so. Today, on a rare occasion, a "Proper" dance will be called and confusion occurs up and down the line, because this is an unusual formation for the average young urban contra dancer. Add to that the necessity of men taking other mens' hands. Oh My!

All this to say simply that our dances have a history to them, They are an ever evolving dance form, but it did come from somewhere. Great example is the ever popular "Petronella" balance and spin one place to the right. There actually is a dance called Petronella and I would guess that 95% of those dancing today have never danced the original Petronella, even though the caller directs, "Balance and Spin one place to the right, as in Petronella".   There are hundreds of dances out there that do not get danced today because they do not fit the desires of today's faster, more gotta swing culture. Sometime I think we are loosing a little of our own heritage.