By Laurie Stone
Local and surrounding square dancers will strut their stuff Thursday from 6-8 p.m. on the slab at the Roosevelt County Fair.
This type of dancing is proclaimed as the national folk dance of the United States, according to the United Square Dancers of America. There are more than six million people that engage in this modern day type of dancing.
Square dancing requires a minimum of four couples, with one couple on each side to form a square. The caller (instructor) provides the music which can range from bluegrass to country to rock ‘n roll. Carl Cox Jr., the caller for Thursday’s dance, will instruct the dancers with a sequence of calls instructing the dancers on the maneuvers they will perform.
“Listening to the calls, then trying to immediately implement them into the dance without missing a beat sometimes causes troubles,” said Alta Dalley, who has been square dancing since1988, “ but that is part of the fun when dancing. Your mistakes aren’t troubling. You must turn them loose and laugh.”
Someone serious about square dancing will encounter four degrees of difficulty: mainstream, plus, advanced and challenge. Learning the basic mainstream manuevers can take anywhere from 12-15 lessons.
“Learning the maneuvers takes dedication and must be practiced once or twice a week,” said Mary Weigl, square dancer.
Square dancing is a form of exercise that keeps everyone on their toes but its the fellowship that is relished as much as the dancing. Some square dancers travel thousands of miles in order to gather for this fellowship in motion.
Square dancing isn’t just limited to rural areas, or even the United States. Robert Weigl, president of the Star Light Swinger Square Dancer Club, and his wife, Mary, had a couple from Germany attend a club dance one night. The couple had located the Star Light Swinger Square Dancer Club on the Internet by looking at an International Square Dancing Schedule.
In following the tradition of Square Dancing, the dress attire for women is usually a short skirt with a lot of ruffles underneath. However, the broomstick skirts have been replacing the ruffled skirts only because of preference.
“This (ruffled) type of skirt actually acts like a fly-wheel,” Mary Weigl said. “When the guy turns you you go very fast.”