On Friday afternoons, the irresistible sound of Appalachian and Quebecois dance music spills from the large activity room at Lifelong. Come inside and you’ll find happy dancers swinging, promenading, and laughing together in the fellowship of the square dance.
“Allemande left with your left hand, right to your partner, right and left grand,” prompts the caller, while eight dancers execute the moves. After two squares, the caller plays music for a line dance, jitterbug, or waltz. Some folks choose to dance, while others take this opportunity to chat. Then another pair of squares commences, followed by a break for tea, coffee, home-baked cookies, and snacks. Occasionally Mimi drops by to play piano during the break, and people sing “If You Knew Susie,” “Over the Rainbow,” and other favorites.
Why do people come?
“I love the group,” says Louise Matosich, who’s been dancing with the Lifelong group for about a decade. “I love the dance and the comradeship.” Nancy Riffer concurs: “Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. I also get exercise that’s aerobic while socializing and having fun.”
Nancy started square dancing as a young child but then didn’t dance again for many years before rediscovering it through Lifelong. She says she especially appreciates the accessibility of the instruction and the support of the group. “I like that the group accommodates to each person’s abilities, whether some of us are slower to learn, can’t tolerate much swinging, or have tender knees. Everyone is welcome.”
In her second week, one dancer agrees that the group is very welcoming. “I am new,” she says, “and it was easy to jump in.”
Kathy Chapman, who started dancing in sixth grade, says the things she likes about the weekly square dance session are the good exercise, delicious snacks, and making new friends. Plus, she adds, the activity is “good for your mind.”
Tempted? Consider joining in the fun! The activity is offered every Friday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. All dances are taught so, as Kathy says, “you don’t even have to know how to square dance.”