Mountain Mixers hosts square dancing lessons starting Sunday. Courtesy photo
By Tom and Marlene Kelley
My wife and I have been square dancing for 40 years.
When people learn this they almost invariably say, “Oh yes I did that back in elementary school, or middle school.” Well, square dancing has changed and evolved since then into what we now call modern square dancing.
The Mountain Mixers Square Dance Club is sponsoring a set of lessons at 2 p.m. beginning Sunday, Jan. 13, at the Pueblo Complex Gym on Diamond Drive in Los Alamos.
The public is encouraged to come and get a taste of modern square dancing. Teenagers are always welcome. Everyone is welcome to see what modern square dancing is like.
Square dancing is a fun, easy to learn social dance with eight people dancing as a group called a “square”. The group dances to music while moving in formations as directed by a “caller”.
The choreography is done by the caller. Then dancers only have to know how to perform the individual calls.
The dance is broken up with pauses (to mingle and snack). When it resumes different squares may be formed so you get to dance with a lot of different people! Newcomers have a number of understandable concerns at the beginning.
Some concerns are:
- Do I need a partner? You may come with a partner or as a single. There are very few calls which are gender specific (a hold-over from the past) so many people today learn to dance in either role.
- But I can’t dance; I’m so uncoordinated. Well, the bottom line is this: if you can walk, you can do square dancing. The caller will teach you the steps for each particular call and provide lots of repetition. You will be pleasantly surprised at the number of calls you can learn.
- I hate country music. OK, some country music is used. But we dance to a lot of contemporary music: rock, pop, marches, radio hits, show tunes, etc.
- What should I wear? Wear comfortable clothing. Tradition square dance attire is not required. The only requirement is a pair of comfortable smooth-soled shoes.
- Is it good exercise? Square dancing is great physical exercise. Each night of dancing is the equivalent of walking several miles. It is also great mental exercise, too, as you learn the calls and put them into practice as the caller cues them.
The demographics are such that most of the square dancers today are older people. Here and there younger people are learning to square dance.
When this happens, they usually liven up any square dance. They tend to form clubs, which might just be the future of square dancing.