Wild West Squares recap recent events

Photo courtesy Sue Hamlet
Jerry Gilbreath and Carla Roberts. Gilbreath was the featured called for the Wild West Squares group’s pre-Thanksgiving dance and workshop.

By Carla Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW

Jerry Gilbreath, of Albuquerque, N.M., was the featured caller for a special pre-Thanksgiving dance/workshop for the Wild West Squares in Pagosa Springs.

Gilbreath is one of the top square dance callers based out of New Mexico and he provided quality “floor time” for students of all levels in the Wild West Squares teaching program at the PLPOA Clubhouse.

His wonderful voice and great skill at keeping everyone on the floor moving and smiling was much appreciated by all students.

Wild West Squares uses a multitrack teaching approach, with three levels of classes going continuously. The goal of this training is to maximize success in learning and enjoyment from day one of lessons.

Our highest level is DBD Plus — or Dance by Definition Plus. This is a challenging level that requires “thinking on your feet” and considerable teamwork. Two squares of DBD Plus dancers enjoyed a 90-minute workshop with Gilbreath, who consistently challenged everyone to stretch their abilities.

Afterward, Gilbreath said he was impressed with the Wild West Squares sophisticated knowledge of DBD Plus calls.

Wild West Squares demo at recent benefit dance 

Last Saturday night, at the well-attended Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program fundraiser dance with contra caller Wendy Graham Settle, of Durango, the Wild West Squares performed a square dance tip during intermission with caller Carla Roberts.

Modern western square dance is the “kissing cousin” of New England-style contra dance, as well as the descendant of the “old fashioned” squares taught during the main portion of the benefit.

Contra also features live music — in this case, locals Randall Davis on fiddle, Juanalee Park on banjo, Ron Sutcliffe on mandolin and Clay Campbell on bass aptly playing old-time music.

Our demo square of DBD Plus-level dancers on Saturday included Teresa Bertin, Joan Schmitt, Dusty Bailey and Brian Hay, Hank Pantzar and Wanita Martin, Lois Dacus and Mike Saunders.

Graduation of nine mainstream dancers

Mainstream is the first level of square dance and Plus is the second level. The Wild West Squares teaching program strives to work with dancers at the level they need to progress.

After months of learning, nine students will graduate at the Mainstream level on Dec. 21. Receiving their Mainstream credentials means they will be eligible to dance at square dance clubs and events anywhere in the world.

Stay healthy this winter with square dance. Call Roberts at 903-6478 to find out about Wild West Squares.