Michael Maltenfort


I've been dancing for quite a while. I learned Plus while I was still in high school, with the Wilmette club, "Fascinating Singles." Classes at that club went fast. Each year we had two complete BMP classes, one January to May, and the other August to December. Although they folded years ago, I still have fond memories.

I only danced occasionally as an undergraduate in upstate New York, and although I returned to Chicago for graduate school in 1991, I barely danced for the next few years. But then at the Gay Pride parade in 1994, I marched with other graduate students, and, by chance, we were just in front of Chi-Town Squares. I was bleeding slightly from a cut in my forehead, because on the way to the parade I had walked into a light post. Yes, a light post. People in Chi-Town squares wondered out loud whether they really wanted to dance with such a klutz. But then, first impressions aren't everything.

With Chi-Town Squares, I learned Advanced from Lin Jarvis in one of his last Advanced classes. (Soon after, John Oldfield began to teach Advanced, and Lin taught only the BMP class.) Before I knew it, I was learning the challenge levels. For about four years, I was in one of Sandie Bryant's weekly workshops, in which I learned C3A and C3B. I did leave the workshop for a time, though, when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya.

Becoming a caller had interested me for years-I actually signed up for caller school in 1995, but didn't go through with it. Even so, Lin Jarvis let me do two guest tips, a singing call (in 1996) and a full tip at Chi-Town's Halloween dance in 2001. In January 2002, I began calling the review for Lin's BMP class, and things took off from there. Most years through 2006 I continued to call review sessions for Chi-Town's Advanced or C-1 classes.

I moved from calling occasional tips to full dances. Locally I have called for Chi-Town Squares, Recyclers, and Cloverleafs, and outside Chicago for Kansas City's Sho-Me Squares and Saint Louis' Gateway Squares. I have also conducted many review and workshop dances. By vocation a teacher, I enjoyed teaching a fourteen-week Advanced level crash course in 2002 for a group of eight courageous Plus dancers. I have annually attended caller schools of the Gay Callers Association since 2002, except 2005. I am a full member of Callerlab, the international association of square dance callers, and a member of the Gay Callers Association.

My big interest other than square dancing is mathematics. I teach math at Truman College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. For some square dancers like me, mathematics and square dancing are pretty much the same thing. If you see me talking excitedly about something, it could be about a new square dance call or bit of choreography, or it could be about a lecture on infinitesimal calculus or a book on topology.

But square dancing has one major advantage over mathematics: it's all about a group of people having fun together.