Here’s your chance to learn how to square dance
By Emily Sorensen
Want to make some new friends and get in a good workout at the same time? Then put down the weights and put on your dancing shoes, because maybe square dancing is what you’re looking for.
More than just fluffy skirts and cowboy boots, square dancing has moved beyond the stereotypes of yesterday and into the modern world.
“It’s not something I ever thought we’d do,” said Nick van der Schalie, who along with his wife Julie have been square dancing with the Wrangler Square Dance Club for three years. Invited out by friends one night, the van der Schalies stayed for the class and ended up loving it. “It gets us up off the couch, away from the television, and interacting with other people,” said van der Schalie.
Square dancing is also more than just a couples thing, according to van der Schalie. “There are a lot of singles that come and take classes,” said van der Schalie. “We have people of all ages.” Square dancing is considered a group activity, with partners constantly switching, so single dancers shouldn’t worry about being excluded by the couples. A “square” is made up of four couples.
“It’s good exercise,” said van der Schalie. One member brought a pedometer to a dance, and discovered that she danced the equivalent of a four- or five-mile hike. “You really end up moving quite a bit,” said van der Schalie.
Square dancing is also fairly easy to learn, though with over 120 different calls, there’s a lot to learn. “It’s not competitive and it’s easy to learn, but it requires both sides of your brain,” said van der Schalie. “It’s mental and physical exercise.”
Don’t worry about what step comes next in a dance, though, as that is where the caller comes in. The Wrangler Square Dancing Club features an experienced caller, Ray Holmes, whose job it is call out the next step in a dance. “He’s a great caller,” said van der Schalie. “He makes it easy and he makes it fun.”
One of six square dancing clubs in North County that belong to the Palomar Square Dance Association, the Wrangler Square Dance Club primarily draws its membership from Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos and 4S Ranch. The Wrangler Square Dance Club was founded almost 40 years ago, and regularly hosts dances as well as classes.
There’s no need for western wear or special equipment; all you need are comfortable shoes. While some dances have themes, the classes are casual.
The Wrangler Square Dance Club will start their fall classes on Wednesday, Sept. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Rolling Hills Elementary School, 15225 Penasquitos Drive, Rancho Penasquitos, and run through May, every week except holidays. The dress is casual and couples and singles are welcome. No previous experience is needed. The first class is free; the cost thereafter is $5 per person per week.
For more information or to register for the class, visit www.TheWranglers.org, or contact Joe and Elaine Patrao at 858-672-1700.
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