For Herb and Linda Fox, there’s no better feeling than getting up and going square dancing at the Colwood Community Hall.
It’s an activity that allows the couple to socialize, exercise and move to some of their favourite tunes, and completing the perfect square brings a sense of accomplishment that’s hard to describe.
“When you complete those series of moves, it’s certainly a high … that’s part of the enjoyment of it,” said Herb, who along with Linda, are the president couple of the Frontier Twirlers Square Dance Club in Colwood.
A square dance is a dance for four couples (eight dancers) arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, facing the middle of the square. Dancers are prompted or cued through a sequence of steps (square dance choreography) by a caller to the beat of music.
Locally, there are roughly eight square dance clubs that are a part of the Lower Vancouver Island Western Square and Round Dance Association. The Frontier Twirlers Square Dance Club, which is a mainstream club, has roughly 28 members, and is the only square dance club on the West Shore.
The club hosts weekly classes, as well as dances on the first and third Saturday of every month from September to May.
While there may be the stereotype that square dancing involves older people moving to western music, the club has come a long way from that. It plays a range of music from pop to traditional country, to Broadway music to contemporary country music, even rock, Motown, techno and hip hop from artists such as Elton John, the Village People and the Rat Pack.
Herb and Linda took up square dancing more than 35 years ago, after friends suggested they give it a try, and after their first class they were hooked. Since then, the duo have participated in hundreds of square dance classes and have gone on to teach with the club.
“It’s just the social aspect of things. It’s our community and it’s Herb and my lives. A lot of our friends are in the club,” said Linda, adding since square dancing cues are all the same language, they’ve been able to dance with clubs around the world in places such as Ontario, Hawaii and Arizona.
Even after more than three decades of square dancing, Herb and Linda agreed there’s always something new to learn.
“We’ve danced a number of years and there are still callers who can put us in a formation and I’m saying to myself ‘wow, we’ve never gotten to that formation before’ and it’s a surprise,” said Herb.
Now, the Foxes are encouraging people of all ages to try square dancing during the club’s open house on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Colwood Community Hall (2219 Sooke Rd.)
In addition to the open house, the first two lessons on Sept. 21 and 28 are also free. For more information about the club or classes, visit ft.squaredance.bc.ca.