The Calico Squares, a local group of square dancing enthusiasts, meet at the Garden Plaza of Cleveland on 3500 Keith Street N.W., every second and fourth Tuesday from 7:30-9:30 p.m. The high-spirited dancers from all walks of life and ages are inviting the public to come visit and join in a mid-week break from boredom.
Teresa and Bill Anderson are among the newest Calico Squares in Cleveland to endorse the family-friendly, fun and fitness entertainment that is making a comeback in Cleveland.
“My husband, Bill, and I are new dancers of less than two years but we are very enthusiastic about seeing square dancing make a comeback in this area,” Teresa said. “In other parts of the country it is quite popular and many ages enjoy it.
“Our youngest daughter was always busy in sports and we followed her around on ball teams and tournaments. We didn’t have time for anything else. Then she graduated and went on to college. She’s 21 now. Life slowed down. About a year later I saw an ad in the paper about square dancing. I wanted to try it. I always enjoyed dancing and having a good time, so I said to Bill, ‘Let’s go try it.’”
“When she saw the ad and brought it up I said, ‘Nah, I don’t picture myself as the dancer type,” Bill admitted. “I’m uncoordinated and have trouble counting to 10 in the same sentence, so I wasn’t really all that thrilled about it. So she said, ‘Let’s go take a couple of lessons and see what you think. If you like it we can keep with it and if you don’t like it, we don’t have to.’”
According to Bill, his reservations faded into a fun-filled evening with new friends and an enjoyment of dancing unlike anything he’s encountered.
“Everyone was real helpful in showing us what’s involved,” he said. “It’s not ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ It’s not real complex. It’s just something fun that we can do together and meet other people while we do it.”
“We look forward to it,” Teresa added. “We look forward to being together and having fun. It’s almost like a date night. Everybody hugs and they are so friendly.”
The Cleveland couple said they would encourage more people to come out and try square dancing as a form of low-impact recreation, entertainment, family fun and social networking.
“You’re not performing for anyone,” Teresa explained. “Everyone is there doing the same thing. There are no steps involved. It’s just walking and listening. Some sit it out and some dance, but we’re all having fun.”
Bill said more youths should take up square dancing because it’s an activity that will get them out from in front of the video games, MP3 player and whatever other electronics that keep them from being more active.
“We’ve been to some clubs that have younger kids dancing and they really know how to perform,” he said. “This calls for some physical activity and it involves getting up off the couch, which is good for them.”
Modern western square dancing is the most common style enjoyed by Callico Squares, but members will tell you that square dancing is more accurately called, “square walking.” That’s because square dancing is about walking in different patterns called out by the square dance “caller.” It becomes a game of staying-up with the caller and often ends up in people having missteps, laughing and having a great time.
Round dancing, on the other hand, is properly named. Round dancing is basically choreographed ballroom dancing with all couples dancing the same figures around the floor at the same time. It differs from free-style ballroom dancing in that each round dance has been fully choreographed ahead of time, and a “cuer” or leader at the front of the ballroom tells the dancers, as they dance, what steps to do.
Square dancing enthusiasts say square dancing is party time every time you do it. It brings people together for fun and fellowship — even when learning how. The fun starts right on the very first night and it keeps on going as long as you do. It’s considered a wonderful way to share common interests with other people, and to escape the worry and pressures of today’s busy world.
“A lot of people think this is only for older folks, but it’s not,” Teresa said. “It’s for all ages. We’re hoping to bring more awareness to this fun, family activity.”
“You can get out as much as you put into it,” Bill said. “We go to relax and have fun together. If there’s the least amount of curiosity we hope people will come out and take a look. I’m glad I didn’t write it off too quick. Give it a chance!”
Square dance is the official folk dance of Tennessee. The Calico Squares Dance Club, part of the Chattanooga Area Square Dance Association, is starting a new beginners’ square dance class Sept. 13 with enrollment through Sept. 27. Classes will be from 7-8 p.m. every Tuesday.
For further information, visit www.calicosquares.fws1.com or call Teresa Anderson at 423-479-7790.