Swing Your Partner
Updated: Sep 11, 2019
Looking to beat the winter blahs, Leigh and I ventured out recently on a cold night to a local church basement where we had been invited to learn square dancing. We thought that sounded like a lot of fun, and since my parents had square danced for over 22 years, I felt like I had a duty to uphold their legacy. We arrived and were pleasantly surprised to find a lively and friendly group of people all eager to participate in this very old style of dance.
The first task was to form the squares. A square consists of four couples all facing in towards the center of the “square”. Once in position, we learned about head couples and side couples and what number we were based on our location in the square. Pretty simple stuff…so far. Once we had that info down, we learned some other simple moves such as “promenade”, “swing your partner”, “allemande left”, and the ever popular “do si do”. The caller then quickly started us off by having us hold hands and circle left. We marched in time to the music as he told us what to do next. Before we knew what was happening, we were doing it! After a short time, we took a break. Everyone was so nice! We chatted with the dance club members, asked them how long they had been dancing, how they got into it, and what they loved most about square dancing. We got a variety of answers. Some people had been doing it for more than 10 years, and some had only been dancing for a year. There were older people, young millennials, and everyone in between. One gentleman said, “It’s good, clean fun that isn’t expensive, and it’s a great thing to do with your spouse.” More than once we heard how much they enjoyed not only the dancing, but the friendships they have made through the club.
Interestingly, we were also told that square dancing can help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. Wow! And why is that? I’m glad you asked. Having to learn the steps and quickly execute them during the dance is a great workout for your brain. Then you have the physical movement; it’s good for your cardiovascular system. Add to that the stimulation of the music itself which triggers emotions; you can’t help but be happy. Last, but certainly not least, there’s the social interaction that takes place. It’s the multifactorial nature of activity that puts it at the top of the list of the things you can do to help prevent the painful loss of memory. Do you need any other reasons to sign up?
The two hours passed all too quickly and then it was time to say goodbye to our new friends. Leigh and I assured everyone this was not going to be our last dance and that we would tout the benefits of square dancing to everyone we know! Meeting new people, dancing for exercise, fun and upbeat environment…I mean, this is a wonderful activity for everyone! And I almost forgot to mention, they had SNACKS! What could be better? So grab your partner and give it a try. I promise you will not be disappointed!