Caller Bob Simpson, who also runs the Wheel Around Square Dance Club with his wife Dorothy, had the couples out on the Aggie Hall floor promenading, dos-a-doeing, and swinging their partners round and round during their Wednesday class, June 6, and despite some miscues, even the odd collision or toe step, everyone was having a grand time.
Square dancing for many of it’s devotees can be summed up in a word: “Fun!”
Actually, it took Margaret Constable three words to sum up what square dancing means to her. “I’ve been square dancing for about two years, and I just think its fun, fun, fun!” she enthused during a break. To anyone who’s thinking of giving it a whirl, she said, “I’d say come and try it because there’s lots of great people and lots of fun.”
People square dance for a lot of reasons, Simpson said. In fact, he believes they derive benefits from the activity they might not even be aware of they’re having such a good time.
Asked why people square dance, he reflected for a moment. “Oh golly, it becomes a lifestyle,” he said. Then added, “Mental and physical activity are critical, especially as we all tend to get a little older.”
Translating into action complex routines, starting from the basic form of the square – made up of four couples – engages dancers in an exercise that keeps the mind sharp and the body active, he explained.
There are health benefits from taking instructions, and working them through ‘so your legs and arms go the way you want them to,’ benefits dancers in ways they aren’t even aware of because they’re having fun.
Square dancing is a ‘tremendously social’ activity, he said, and that’s one of its biggest draws. “Tonight we have people here from Victoria, and as far north as Bowser, with some in from Nanaimo, Duncan, Parksville,” he said.
Although young people square dance, too, Simpson said the high proportion of retired couples and individuals, and the greater vitality of today’s seniors are definitely factors in the popularity of square dancing.
“For the first time in their lives lots of people, singles or couples, have got the time and the enthusiasm and the energy to get out and do something together and to meet other people,” Simpson said. Square dancing is an activity that meets the needs of that growing demographic.
Square dancing is a group activity, and that’s a big part of its fun-appeal; but it also challenges the individual, and gives participants a sense of accomplishment as part of a ‘team,” he said.
“They come out and they learn something that they all share in common, and put their minds to work – so it’s teamwork, but also a lot of individual stuff.”
For the more serious dancers there is competitive dancing all the way up to the B.C. Senior Games level, Simpson said. But the Aggie Hall Wednesday evening sessions, which will run from Sept. 28 through Dec. 14, bring people together for fun.
And, says a poster you may have seen around town, because “Square dancing improves your lung capacity, muscle tone, joint flexibility, improves balance and coordination.”
If you can do all that, while laughing and having a few thrills, well, it’s probably something that’s worth a spin. Call 250-751-4444 or email email@example.com for more information.