Southern Swingers to hold open house event
The Southern Swingers Square Dance Club will host Dance Fest 2015 on August 25, their Square and Round Dance Open House. Everyone is invited to the Promenade Hall at 5400 Benton Road in Bossier City for free refreshments and lively dance. The doors open at 6:00 pm and dance will begin a half hour later.
“The goal of the Dance Fest is to introduce square and round dancing to anyone who would like to know more about these activities,” said Treasurer Kay Wright. “Everyone attending will actually participate in the beginning movements which will enable them to know if this is something to continue learning about.”
“We host this each year, and in this way we get new students to sign up for classes during the coming months,” said President Genevieve Carlisle. The lessons begin in September, are held on every Tuesday, and are very affordable. “The first three lessons are free and $4 per person after that. Last year we had 50 new people at our event, and of those, 26 committed to six months of lessons and graduated in April.”
“Square dancing is made up of eight couples in a square. Each of the couples faces another couple across the square,” said Carlisle. “A caller voices the calls accompanied by music. We respond and follow the moves he has taught us. It's really very pretty when there are lots of squares on the floor.”
The group also participates in round dancing. “Round dancing is similar to ballroom dancing except all the couples are doing the same movements as instructed by a cuer,” said Wright. “The couples move around the room in one circle. Round dancing includes waltzing, two step, swing, rhumba, cha cha, and other dances. It is really beautiful to see everyone dancing the same thing.”
Wright said that anyone can square dance, regardless of dancing ability. “Anyone can participate even if he or she has never danced before; no prior knowledge or experience is required. There is no pressure and we laugh at our mistakes.”
“Anyone can dance if they can walk and follow instructions,” agreed Carlisle.
“I look forward to each session of square dancing whether it is a workshop or a dance because it is a wholesome, energizing, happy time with wonderful people,” said Wright. “Moving to music is a natural thing. Even babies nod their heads, rock their little bodies, and smile when they hear music. All of us tap our feet and clap our hands occasionally to the sound of music. Square dancing is an opportunity to move in an organized way to music and spend a few hours with no other purpose in mind besides being with friends and having a good time.”
Wright pointed out that people of all ages can enjoy the activity. “For empty-nesters, it is an opportunity to get out and into something personally enjoyable for them. For older folks, it is a reason to keep active. For young people, it is another way to dance and enjoy music and good relationships.”
“Everyone can use entertainment and socialization in their lives, and Southern Swingers and Red River Rounders want to spread the word about this opportunity,” said Wright. “Those who come may choose to continue either square dancing or round dancing or both.”
Both Carlisle and Wright said that square dancing has been an important part of their lives for many years. “This has been a great thing for my husband and me. We are 80 and going strong,” said Carlisle. “This gives us a place to go two or three nights a week. We have made great friends, and it has enriched our lives. We are so thankful that we have such a great activity to be able to exercise, learn and fellowship. We raised five boys, so this is an activity we can all enjoy together. Everyone leaves with a smile on our faces.”
“I have personally been square dancing since the 1980 's, but I was introduced to this activity as a teenager and knew then that this would be something I would enjoy,” said Wright. “Since music has always been an important part of my life, I am attracted to activities centered around it. However, just as important as the music and movement to me is the chance to spend time with friends who enjoy being together pursuing the common interest of square and round dancing.”
“We have all ages from empty nesters to 85 and more. Dancing is good for all ages and surely beats staying at home watching TV,” said Carlisle.
For more information about Dance Fest 2015 and square and round dance lessons, visit SouthernSwingersSquareDancers.com.