DARE TO BE SQUARE
By Terry L. Wilson
Long before the Lindy, Charleston, Jitterbug, Bunny Hop, the Twist, and the Mashed Potato, square dancing was the cat’s meow, giving people from all walks of life a chance to kick up their heels in barns, dance halls and fairgrounds across the nation.
Now, the Wranglers Square Dance Club is back in the swing of things, and is inviting everyone to grab a partner and do-si-do the night away – plus, they’ll even teach you the steps.
“We are excited to announce a new group of lessons will start on Jan. 6,” said Scripps Ranch resident Helen Bragg, who is co-president of the Wranglers Square Dance Club along with Keith Umbreit. “Lessons will be every Thursday night, and the first two nights’ (Jan. 6 and 13) lessons will be free. People can just come out, see if they like it; then they may continue on with the class for a small fee. It’s basically a 13-week course that will meet from Jan 6 until the end of March.”
Prior to COVID-19 lockdown, the Wranglers conducted dance classes in Poway, but are now holding weekly classes in Rancho Bernardo, along with their monthly “hoedown” in Escondido.
“We are very lucky to be dancing at the Seven Oaks Community Center Auditorium in Rancho Bernardo,” Bragg said. “We know people are going to love our classes – no special dress code and you don’t need a partner. Just show up and have fun.”
Bragg said anyone can learn to square dance, even if they have two left feet. The Wranglers are eager to get everyone into the swing of things with their new dance classes.
“Square dance steps are based on formations and choreographed steps,” Bragg explained. “The ‘caller’ cues the next set of steps in time to the music. One dance may have 10,000 steps, so you aren’t just doing a boring walk while socializing with people to music.”
The caller speaks a language unique to square dancing. It’s a form of musical shorthand because the steps are defined by what the caller announces.
Bragg did her best to draw a verbal blueprint to a basic call that would be used for a dance: Circle left (join hands, walk in a left circle). Do-si-do (circle left, step back then face your partner). Weave The Ring: (everyone form a circle passing each other), Promenade: (skater’s position, circle back home). Then bow to your partner and start all over again.
“One reason why square dancing is so popular around the world is because all the calls are in English. So, you could be in Japan and you would be able to understand the calls even if you don’t speak a word of Japanese,” Bragg said. “The instructor for our group is Buddy Weaver. Buddy is a well-known caller. In fact, he is world renown. He travels to Japan, throughout Europe and various states here at home.”
Bragg explained that square dancing is fun for anyone, any age.
“We invite everyone to join us. It’s a wonderful social activity. This is a very low cost way of getting into a new activity, meeting new people, learning a new skill that you can do from your 20s into your 90s,” she said.
The Wranglers welcome everyone to attend their dance classes and monthly dance, however attendees must show proof of having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
For additional information, email email@example.com or call (858) 432-6173.