Intro to Square Dancing


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Recently, my friend and I tried an “intro to square dancing class”

I’m sure you are thinking “why would you want to try that?”  This is once again where the philosophy of “why not?” comes in.

Going into it, I figured that we would be some of the youngest newbies to take the class….and we were ……by a few decades.

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I love trying new things and my friend loves anything with dance so it was the perfect combo.

My husband and I also took students to a rural “barn dance/ hoe down” years ago while on a rock climbing trip, that still is up there for our “all time favorite” dance experience.  We just joined in, let go of our pride and enjoyed the ride.  I knew I would have to follow the same philosphy to make this fun too.

We were greeted with many surprised faces as we entered the church meeting area.

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We met the “caller” of the dance who explained that he would be telling us the calls throughout the night.  He showed us a huge list of different moves that most of the regulars learn over a course of time.  Thankfully we were getting the intro lesson that night.

We got to mingle for a bit before the class started.  At first we were wondering if the tables had turned and we were getting age discrimination, but then several different people came over to talk to us.

As the class began, we needed to partner up. This gave me middle school dance flashbacks and I did not want to be the gal still sitting without a dance partner.  I was relieved when my partner Bill rescued me from being traumatized.

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My friend got drafted by John.

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The caller told us that there are 3 rules for square dancing.

1. Listen

2. Listen

3. Listen

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And for those of us who are ADD…… LISTENING is a big part of sucess in learning how to square dance.

You have to really pay attention to what the caller is telling you to do and listen for the transition to the other moves.  We started in a square with 3 other couples.  A big part of square dancing is also knowing who your “corner” is.  That’s the person of the opposite sex who is to your right.  There are several different calls that have you also briefly dance with your corner too.

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My friend and I had a few moments of giggling at the surreal experience.  Once again, I had conned a friend into an unexpectant fun experience.  We were really enjoying getting the hang of the dance moves and our fellow dancers were extremely gracious.

The hardest part was connecting my brain to the moves we had just heard called out.  During one of the calls I used the wrong hand for the circle and was harassed by someone in their mid 80’s from then on each time we did that move….. which I loved.

Most of the people that we met had been square dancing for a while and accredited dancing to making them live longer and strenghtening their relationship with their spouse ( many found this to be a great hobby to do together when the kids left the nest.).  I can see how it would keep your mind sharp.  It also keeps you active and gives you something social to do.

During one of the dance breaks, we found out about the clothing room that was selling the square dance wear for mega discount.  This room was both sad and awesome at the same time.  Sad, because some of the older dancers were retiring due to health issues, or had died.  It was awesome because we love vintage clothes and this room was full of a lots of cute stuff for a fraction of the original cost.

Dancing and fashion.  Now we were really having fun.  We kept on sneaking back into the clothing rooms to make sure we had seen everything there was to chose from.  What girl doesn’t love trying on a twirling skirt?

After the last dance was over, we went straight to the restroom to try on a few of our finds.

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We had so much fun trying on stuff that we almost got locked in the building.  We didn’t realize that everyone else had left and most of the lights were already off in the hallways after our mini fashion show.  Thankfully someone in the parking lot saw us and came back in.

According to the brochure, you can burn off 300-800 calories and exercise equal to 3-4 miles of jogging in just one evening of square dancing.

If you want to give square dancing a try and live in the Grand Rapids area -Check out the next “intro to square dancing class” The Flutterbyes Square Dance club will be offering a class on Wednesday, May 30th from 7-9 p.m. at Faith United Methodist Church. This is for ALL ages.  You can also contact Judy Magnuson at 616-281-0067 or

You can also try square dance meet ups to find a group of square dancers in your area.


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