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Community education offers square dance party

Members of the Turkey Trotters Square Dance Club participate in a September 2011 dance at the Nobles County Government Center in Worthington. (Daily Globe File Photo)

WORTHINGTON — Looking for an activity that will get your heart pumping and provide an opportunity to meet new people? Maybe you should give square dancing a try.

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A Square Dance Party, sponsored by District 518 Community Education, will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the small gymnasium at the West Learning Center, 117 11th Ave. The event is for almost all ages — youths age 9 and older — as well as both singles and couples, and no prior dancing experience is necessary.

The party is a new approach to some of Community Education’s offerings, according to Anne Foley, enrichment programs director.

“I’ve been here going on six years now, and we’ve always offered square dance lessons in the catalogue,” she explained. “We started talking about it and decided maybe not to call these dance things lessons. Let’s make it kind of a fun thing, give a different title to it, so people don’t feel like they have to come and learn — maybe they just want to come and watch. It’s also more of a family friendly thing, not set up with any kind of an age thing to it, because there are some youngsters who would enjoy learning it.”

In the future, Foley also plans to offer other family friendly activities such as a card tournament or a board game night.

“We’re just trying some different things to entice people to take part and not be so cost-prohibitive,” she explained, adding that there is just a $1 fee for the square dance event.

Members of the Turkey Trotters Square Dance Club will be on hand to share their enthusiasm for the activity.

“The No. 1 thing is the development of friendships,” said Turkey Trotter Jackie Moore. “The other thing is that it’s endorsed by the American Heart Association as a physical activity. And it’s not just physical exercise, but also mental exercise, because you have to be able to know the calls and be able to do what the caller is saying.”

“There’s the physical activity, and it lowers your level of stress,” agreed Jackie’s husband, Chuck, who is a square dance caller as well as a dancer, “and there are certainly social advantages.”

According to the Moores, square dancing has changed a bit from when it was a junior high physical education activity.

“Square dancing has a bad rap of what people think it is,” Jackie explained. “They go back to what it was like when they were in school, which was more a hoedown-type of thing. Now, they use modern music to the calls.”

“There’s gospel music, patriotic music, modern music, as well as Western music,” added Chuck.

Like many organizations, the Turkey Trotters have seen their numbers dwindle in recent years, and the Moores would love to see their club bolstered with a new influx of dancers as a result of the square dance party.

“People today are not joiners of organizations,” lamented Jackie.

“There are so many more school events, and instead of three television channels, you have 100-some channels to watch,” said Chuck. “And then there’s the computer and social networks — so many other things that take up time.”

Devotees of the activity call square dancing “friendship set to music,” and the Moores encourage anyone looking for a social or physical activity to give it a try. No special garb, or even a partner, is necessary — just a willingness to get out on the dance floor.

“We have a number of single women who are part of our club,” Jackie said. “We say all singles are welcome.”

The party will include refreshments served by the Turkey Trotters.

For more information, contact Chuck or Jackie Moore, 372-2610; or District 518 Community Education, 376-6105.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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