Frequently Asked Questions



For the Best in Plus DBD Square Dancing

Are you ready to exercise your mind and imagination?


Fun and challenges for the experienced Plus (or higher) level dancer who knows and understands the definitions of the calls Ė who can apply those definitions regardless of the starting formation or his/her position in the square. Great opportunity to become a stronger DBD or Arky dancer, or just a better square dancer in general.

Unconventional Squares has the simple mission of providing the best possible DBD Plus dancing. The goal of every dance is to provide learning experiences for every dancer, and to have every dancer experience the satisfaction of success.


Selected SATURDAY's and SUNDAY's (see Schedule)


Some of the best local, regional, and national callers


Otterbein United Methodist Church, 20 E. Clay St. (corner of N. Queen & Clay St.), Lancaster PA (map)

[Sept, Oct & June]

St. Paul Lutheran Church, 222 N. George St. (corner of Lyte Rd.), Millersville PA (map)


DBD only: $10 per person / $20 per couple
Advanced plus DBD: $12 per person / $24 per couple


Always Casual

Our regular Saturday dances are 3 hours long. The first hour is at the A2 level.The last two hours are Plus DBD.All of the Saturday dances precede the regular DoPasO Plus dance Ė same hall, same caller.

Drive once and get 4 Ĺ to 5 Ĺ hours of great dancing!

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

What is DBD?

Whatís a DBD dance like?

I donít want to take another long set of lessons. How do I get started in DBD?

Iím afraid that Iíll cause the squares to break down.

Iíve seen folks dancing DBD. Why arenít they smiling?

I dance Advanced or Challenge. So, obviously I can dance DBD.

Is DBD for me?

Where can I dance DBD?


What is DBD?

DBD stands for "Dance by Definition". It includes but goes a bit beyond "Extended Applications" and APD ("All Position Dancing"). In DBD, the caller uses the standard definition of the call, as defined by Callerlabģ. But, the starting formations and each dancerís position may be decidedly different.

Perhaps the best description weíve heard of DBD is "Extreme Applications." Callerlabģ has defined two sets of "Applications" for the basic calls:
 -   "Standard Applications" are those positions that a caller can be quite sure will be successfully completed by the vast majority of dancers. In general, these are the positions that are taught in New Dancer programs.
 -   "Extended Applications" are positions that may give the average dance floor some trouble, and may need some extra cues or a walk-through for dancers to succeed.
 -   "Extreme Applications" arenít defined by Callerlabģ or anyone else. These are the products of the callerís imagination and may need experienced dancers, caller help, or both in order to succeed. They may include unusual formations or fractions of calls.

An example may help demonstrate this. The "Standard Application" for Scootback is parallel right-handed waves with all the same gender facing in. An "Extended Application" might be left-handed waves with opposite genders facing in. An "Extreme Application" could include a Quarter-Tag starting formation (Heads Pass the Ocean from a squared set.) It might also be Scootback once and a half.

DBD is specifically NOT "Take No Prisoners." The goals are entirely different. In DBD, the goal is success, with thinking required. If the dancers have trouble, the caller will get the floor moving again and work the trouble spot. In "Take No Prisoners", the goal is to give the dancers trouble. When the dancers have trouble, itís up to them to get things moving again, without the callerís help. Callers may use DBD choreography to do this, but as just one of the tools rather than the focus.

DBD is also not "Arky" dancing, although dancing DBD can help your Arky dancing. Arky is dancing the opposite gender. Unlike Arky, DBD dancers retain their original gender, regardless of position. In DBD, for the few moves that are defined as "men / women", the men always do the manís part and the women do the womanís part. So, the men donít have to learn how the lady does "slide thru." However, most definitions arenít sex-specific, so learning to do those moves from other positions will help when you dance Arky.

Whatís a DBD dance like?

Most importantly, you can expect the same as at every square dance!

Good People Having FUN!

Beyond that, also as with every dance, the experience varies with the particular caller and that dayís "floor" (the dancers who show up for the dance.) One caller may emphasize left-handed formations; another may put the men where the ladies normally are; yet another may concentrate on unusual formations or concepts. Itís rarely the same from one dance to the next. Most DBD clubs are smaller groups. This can lead to better success, with the caller more able to keep an eye on every dancer and provide the help everyone needs. Our callers are more than willing to explain or walk through troublesome choreography during the breaks, if the dancers want. You just have to ask.

I donít want to take another long set of lessons. How do I get started in DBD?

You might go to an "Intro to DBD" at a festival to get started.

But never fear.If you can't do that, it's not too late.Basically, you can just start dancing DBD. Itís not like moving from Mainstream to Plus. There is no separate defined list for DBD. You already know (or should know) all the moves. Itís simply a matter of using them in new ways. Most DBD groups effectively operate as workshops, and welcome solid Plus dancers. The callers come to the dance with choreography in mind; ready, willing, even anxious to explain and demonstrate the things that cause the dancers difficulty.

Iím afraid that Iíll cause the squares to break down.

The first thing to remember that we are all about having fun while learning,We like to succeed as much as anyone BUT we actually look forward to our square breaking down at some point during the night.Our dancers recognize that breaking down is a learning opportunity. We understand that we arenít stretching and growing if we can complete everything with no difficulty.

All of us make mistakes, regardless of experience and skill.And all of us break down a square from time to time.It's our own reaction to those flubs that makes the difference.We can accept that these things happen; we can learn something from it; we can open our eyes and ears to the help around us.That's the path to accomplishment. And it's the path we encourage at Unconventional Squares.

Iíve seen folks dancing DBD. Why arenít they smiling?

DBD dancing does take a bit more thinking than the average dance. Many people simply donít smile when theyíre thinking.

Let us assure you, we ARE having fun. If we werenít, we wouldnít come back as often as we do.

I dance Advanced or Challenge. So, obviously I can dance DBD.

Well, you most likely have the right attitude to doing DBD. But, itíll probably still take some practice. As we said, DBD isnít another level. DBD is more of a thought process, while the higher levels can be simply another list of calls. Dancing at a higher level doesnít generally give a lot of practice for the levels below and the "interesting" choreography is generally reserved for the higher level moves. The lower level moves are used simply to set up the formation.

That said, you may have some advantages. You may recognize something as one of the higher level moves, called directionally. You may also recognize, understand, and have experience with some of the concepts that the caller might use.

Is DBD for me?

Thereís no simple answer to this. If youíve just graduated from a new dancer program, DBD is probably not for you. It usually takes some time for you to become comfortable dancing -- even with standard positioning. If youíre an experienced dancer, the following tool may give you some idea.

In each row, pick the statement you most agree with. Few people will select all Bís, but the more Bís you choose, the more of the DBD mindset you already have. You may already be dancing "soft" DBD and not recognize it.

By the way, this doesnít grade you as a dancer. Itís just a tool. We know that DBD isnít everyoneís cup of tea. We know many very good dancers who would pick mostly Aís.



I go to a dance mostly to socialize. I donít want to have to think too much.

I go to a dance mostly for the dancing. Itís kind of boring if I donít have to do some thinking.

At a festival, I never make it to the morning workshops. The after-parties run too late at night.

At a festival, I always make it to the morning workshops, even if it means skipping some of the evening dance.

I dance maybe once a month and only with our clubís caller.

I dance several times a week, with as many different callers as I can.

When Iím looking for a dance, I always choose the easiest dance and the one closest to home

When Iím looking for a dance, I look for a caller whoíll give me a bit of a challenge, even if it does mean some driving.

Iíll never be interested in the next level. Too much work.

Iím thinking seriously about taking lessons for the next level (or: I already dance at a higher level).

I make it through a tip, usually with some help from my friends.

I make it through almost every tip, sometimes helping other dancers.

I can hold my own at my home club, but Iím less successful when I visit other clubs.

I generally do pretty well, regardless of whoís calling or which club Iím dancing with.

I try to get in a square with (pick a name) because he/she will pull me through.

I find people saying theyíre happy to be in my square so I can pull them through.

When a caller starts talking about choreography, my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders off.

When a caller talks about formations like "inverted lines", "quarter tag", "eight chain thru", I can visualize the setup and follow the discussion.

After a tip, I just head for the refreshments. The next tip will be better.

After a tip, I find myself talking to the caller, asking "How did that work?" or "Why was it that way?"

Where can I dance DBD?

Obviously, we think that Unconventional Squares is your best choice. We have a great group of callers and a wonderful on-going program. There are a number of other DBD groups around. See our Links page.

© 2010, 2015, 2016 Joe Pryluck and Unconventional Squares. Permission to reprint, republish, and create derivative works without royalty is hereby granted, provided this notice appears and a link to this source is included. Publication on the Internet of derivative works without royalty is hereby granted provided this notice appear and a link to this source is included. Permission to quote parts or all of this document without royalty ishereby granted, provided this notice is included and a link to this source is included.