Members of Maple Ridge’s square dancing club will be swinging their partners ’round and ’round this weekend during Country Fest.
The Town ‘n’ Country Swingers, including their president’s couple Peter Lysne and Lucille Harsch, will demonstrate mainstream level dancing at the Albion Fairgrounds.
The dancers’ demos are scheduled for Saturday (July 28) from 1 to 2 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. and Sunday (July 29) from 1 to 2 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. inside the fairgrounds’ commercial building.
The goals of the club, which has 75 active members and six honorary members who do not actively dance, are to create a friendly atmosphere for square and round dancing while providing opportunities for dancers to progress from beginner to the highest level.
“Our club is blessed in a number of areas,” Lysne said. “We have an excellent facility in the Ridge Meadows Seniors Activity Centre. Our square dance caller, John Corrigan and round dance cuer, Cheryl Plume are a couple of the best at their craft in the Lower Mainland.”
Lysne said the club also has a core of “dedicated volunteers who step forward to make our special dances extremely well-attended, fun events. Visitors from other clubs put our Canada Day and Christmas dance on their list of must-attend dances each year.”
The club now known as the Town ‘n’ Country Swingers started in 1960 under the name Merry-Go-Squares. The club suspended operations in 1968 and resumed in 1970 at the Albion Hall, under its new name Albion Swingers.
In 1973, the club moved from the Albion Hall and danced in Yennadon School. The name was changed to Town ‘n’ Country Swingers, a moniker submitted by Orma and Dale Swanson – the words came off a shirt label.
The strength of the club has always been in its membership, and new dancers are welcome.
Dancers range in age from 13 to 80-plus.
The majority of the Town ‘n’ Country Swingers are between 50 and 75 years of age.
The social aspect of the club, just as much as the square dancing, is what draws members in.
“Then there are the people like Lucille and I who are there mainly to dance and the socializing takes on less importance,” Lysne explained.
Square dancing is quite easy to pick up, according to Lysne and the club has Corrigan guiding members along.
“We are fortunate to have John Corrigan, who is not only an excellent caller, but also a superb teacher,” Lysne said. “Personally I think the most important thing to remember with square dancing is to have fun.”
This year, the club is hosting a new dancer class starting Monday, Sept. 12. New dancer classes will be held every Monday at the Seniors Activity Centre gymnasium from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $101 per person for classes from Sept. 12 to Dec. 5. The club’s new dancer coordinators are Phyllis and Hugh Mitchell, who can be reached at 604-467-7277.
More experienced dancers can join the new dancers and then continue dancing on Mondays until around 9:30 p.m. There is also a club dance for more advanced dancers, held Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Check out the club’s website at www.tcswingers.squaredance.bc.ca.