Square dancing seeing revival
Square dance fever has hit Fairfield.
Since January dozens of people have enrolled in square dance classes taught by Robin Ragen, the club caller for the Dudes ’n’ Dolls in Ottumwa.
“Square dancing is an experience, not an event – a lifelong hobby, something you can do at any age,” said Ragen.
The activity is a perfect complement to Fairfield’s Blue Zones Project, according to Sarvani Viger-Edson and Mary Gagnon. Square dancing offers low-impact exercise that boosts mental skills and provides a setting to make new social connections.
“For exercise, mind-body coordination, teamwork, fellowship, and fun, square dancing offers an unexpected bounty of benefits,” added Elaine Reding.
Ragen will offer another 10-week session for novice dancers on Monday evenings beginning next week and continuing through Nov. 11 in the Pence Elementary School gym. Classes will run from 8-9:30 p.m. New students should arrive 15 minutes early to register for the first class. Lessons are open to all ages from 12 years and up, and both couples and singles are welcome, although children should be accompanied by an adult.
The cost for the entire series is $35.
After a handful of lessons, Fairfield students have been able to participate in dances organized by square dance clubs throughout Iowa. Admission for the events are typically around $6 per dancer. Square dancing offers a low-cost evening of fun, exercise and socializing. A crew of Fairfield dancers who learned this year has been so captivated by the activity they’ve gone to both the Iowa and Illinois state square dance conventions.
“Everyone is family, everyone becomes your next door neighbor, when you square dance,” said Ron Blair.
“I must say that square dancing is nothing that ever crossed my mind. I would never have thought of it in a million years. Yet here I am loving it. Go figure,” said Susan Jatkowski.
Michele Weber, long-time square dancer and former Pence school teacher, is one of several experienced dancers who come to help out at lessons. Ragen refers to them as “angels.”
“We enjoy being angels because it is fun to meet new people and see them learning and having a good time,” said Weber.
For more information, visit the Fairfield Square Dance website at www.FairfieldSquareDance.com or call Viger-Edson at 472-6434 or Gagnon at 472-6096.