January 07, 2016 - 1:00 PM
KELOWNA - You won’t see it on Dancing With The Stars any time soon, but a couple old styles of dance are making a comeback in Kelowna.
One hundred years ago, square dancing and clog dancing were common with young and old alike. Both may have fallen out of style lately but two separate groups in Kelowna are doing their best to reintroduce them to anyone able and willing to try.
Clog dancing originated with farmers who wore hard soled shoes in the fields. For town dances, they would embed nails in the soles so they would make a tapping sound. Clogging no longer requires hard soled shoes - practically any type of shoe is worn - but the stainless steel taps are attached to the toe and heel.
The result, according to the Kelowna clog dance club Got2BClogging’s website, is a rhythmic and entertaining way to meet new people and get some exercise at the same time. Got2bClogging welcomes anyone from age eight and up. And since it doesn’t require a partner, singles are encouraged.
For anyone interested in trying it out, the club is holding introductory sessions at the Martin Avenue Boys & Girls Club on Jan. 11 and Jan. 18 starting at 6 p.m.
Like clog dancing, square dancing is synonymous with rural socials and barn dances, but the Westsyde Squares of the central Okanagan are making sure this pastime doesn’t die out.
They are holding a free introductory session at the Westbank United Church Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. The condensed session promises to have you square (and round) dancing in no time.
Square dancing is made up of 10 to 15 minute “tips”, with an initial “patter” where the caller gives dancers spontaneous commands that warm dancers up for the “singing call”. The singing call is a choreographed sequence set to music. You start with your partner, but switch partners until the end when you are reunited.
Gone are the requirements for crinoline dresses and western wear, dancers know wear whatever clothes they want and the music is from many different genres.
If you enjoy the introductory lesson Jan. 13, you can sign up for a series of 12 weekly sessions that each run for approximately one and a half hours.
Once new dancers become more proficient, classes are extended to two hours and more experienced dancers are integrated.
“Not only is it a great physical exercise but it keeps the mind enjoyably active as well,” promises the Westsyde Squares website. “Although we must admit, to keep from being just too healthful, we take breaks to socialize and eat goodies. Do wear comfortable clothing and shoes as you will be easily expending up to 320 calories an hour.”
For more information, visit the Westsyde Squares website.
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