Square Dance Banner Raid!

Left to right, Rancheros Susan and Steve Irons, Sundancer Ruth Hochstein, and Ranchero Kim Denny get ready to square up and enjoy the dance.

Carole Hays and Rebecca Williams

On July 31, 16 square dancers from the Mesa Checkmates Square Dance Club drove down from Mesa to join the Rancheros and SaddleBrooke Squares dance clubs for a night of square dancing. It has long been a square dance tradition that if a club brings two squares (16 dancers) to another club’s dance, the visiting club may confiscate the host club’s banner. Then the host clubs must make plans to gather 16 of their own dancers and visit the stealing club’s dance, in this case the Mesa Checkmates, to rescue their banner.

This square dance tradition is a wonderful way to meet and dance with both old and new friends. The Rancheros and SaddleBrooke Squares dance together every Sunday evening. There is a live caller at every dance giving the “calls,” or step-by-step instructions, to the dancers to perform the dance. From time to time the clubs also visit other local clubs such as the Western Whirlers and the Tucson Twirlers in Tucson, and the Sonoran Promenaders in Southern Tucson. Club members also enjoy going to nearby festivals such as “Cornicopia” in Albuquerque or the RIVCO festival in Palm Springs/Indio, Calif., which attracts more than 1,000 dancers from all over the region.

Are you interested in joining a club that is known as one of the friendliest square dance clubs in Arizona? Are you looking for social interaction? And at the same time, enjoy both a mental challenge and a physical workout? The Rancheros and SaddleBrooke Squares join forces to offer beginning (or refresher) lessons starting Thursday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. in the MountainView Ballroom in SaddleBrooke. You are invited to come and try the first lesson for free.

If you can walk, you can square dance. Once you learn the “calls” given by the caller, you simply need to execute them as he or she calls them out. There’s no need to memorize long patterns of steps, and you have seven other people in your group, or square, to help as well. Square dancing is done to many kinds of music including classical, pop, rock and roll, jazz, and much more. Best of all, it gets you off the couch and moving!

Some wonder if they need to wear something special to square dance. While some dancers enjoy wearing traditional square dance attire, at the Rancheros and SaddleBrooke Squares appropriate attire is whatever is comfortable for you. You are welcome to come to any dance to see for yourself what a fun activity this is.

For more information or to get on our list of contacts for our free lesson on Thursday evening, Oct. 13, email Rebecca Williams, Rancheros Squares and class coordinator at [email protected], or Carole Hays, SaddleBrooke Squares vice president at [email protected]