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High Country Squares gear up for beginner classes

Join our local square dance club for our free community square dance with pie and ice cream social on Friday, June 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the PLPOA Clubhouse at 230 Port Ave.

We invite anyone in the community to attend this introduction to Modern Western Square Dance with our caller Jim Park. Come on down and learn a few easy calls, have lots of fun and socialize with our very friendly bunch here in Pagosa Springs.

This is a kickoff for our beginner’s class starting Monday, June 6, 6:30 to 8 p.m. with our club caller Jim Park doing the teaching. Each class is $4 per person. The only requirement is to bring your left and right feet, your enthusiasm, and your sense of humor.

Jim Park has been calling square dancing for 36 years and was recently honored at the 38th annual CALLERLAB Convention in Las Vegas. While attending this fascinating convention with Jim and his wife, Fae, I met and danced with callers and their partners from all over the world. I spent the evening dancing with a charming couple from Britain, learned how to incorporate fun flourishes for a community dance with a Nova Scotian instructor, received tips for choreography from a Swiss expert and played a challenging dance version of Duck, Duck Goose with a creative caller from Denver. Most inspiring was having 350 people putting their heads together (figuratively) to come up with ways to bring new dancers into a traditional American art form that has come a long way, baby.

What started out as dance styles transplanted to the New World with our earliest settlers under rustic conditions has changed into what we know today as Modern Western Square Dancing. The music is varied, including country, western, rock and roll and pop. It is done in couples, with teams of four couples called a “square”. Single students are carefully matched with knowledgeable partners.

Learning the basic steps is easy. Jim Park will patiently teach these steps or “calls.” Experienced dancers assist in the learning, acting as “angels.” You practice these calls at our weekly classes until they feel as natural as walking. Soon Jim will start combining these calls into intricate dance patterns, which takes concentration and teamwork to execute. Did I leave out the best part? It’s really fun — exhilarating, in fact. Also, great exercise, with a social network of fun-loving people who enjoy themselves, and look forward to dancing with you. Our beginner’s class starts Monday, June 6, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the PLPOA Clubhouse. Casual, comfortable clothing is suggested.

And don’t forget to attend our free community square dance with pie and ice cream social on Friday, June 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the PLPOA Clubhouse.

The High Country Squares offers weekly dances, regional dances and a wonderful sense of community for local and visiting dancers. Contact Lorna at 731-5525 for more information.

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