“Swing your corner like swingin’ on a gate, then back to your own if it’s not too late!”
Learn what this square dance call and others mean at one of these great upcoming community dances.
The Mountain Dance Trail added a new dance location in Weston to its lineup of regular community dances. This weekly dance happens on Tuesday evenings at the Lewis County Senior Center and features live callers. Admission is by donation.
If Weston isn’t near you, there are 14 other communities on the Mountain Dance Trail that host regular community dances and/or festivals. Get the full schedule and learn about the communities here.
Want to learn to flat foot or square dance? Check out the Gardner Winter Music Festival in Morgantown on February 26-27. Admission ranges from free to $5; check out the festival’s website for more information.
Other dance events coming up in 2016:
May 27-29 – Vandalia Gathering, Charleston. Features dance demos, workshops and open community dances, along with music and oral history presentations and events. Free.
June 16-18 – WV State Folk Festival, Glenville. Enjoy the open-air dance floor and variety of callers and live musicians. Glenville has its own style of square dancing, learn it from the best during this weekend.
June 24-26 – June Moon Dance Weekend near Morgantown. Square and contra dances, live callers and musicians. Registration limited to 150, reserve your spot early.
August 3-7 – Appalachian String Band Music Festival, aka Clifftop, at Camp Washington Carver (see website for directions). A five day mountaintop gathering of musicians and friends with contests, concerts, workshops, square dances, camping and a hymn-sing.
August 12-14 – Augusta Festival, Elkins. Features dances on Friday and Saturday nights, along with music jams, a craft festival, and workshops.
If you’ve never tried square dancing, the thought of it can be intimidating. But don’t let that stop you from joining in the fun!
Here are some of the most common things people are nervous about before they try square dancing, and some encouragement to give it whirl.
- “I don’t know how to dance” – then square dancing is the perfect place for you to start! There is a live person standing at the front of the room, literally telling you what to do. Community dances are often geared toward beginners and first time dancers with the goal of getting as many people on the floor as possible. And the caller will walk you through the whole dance so you’re familiar with it before the music even starts.
- “I don’t like to dance” – sometimes this is true, but often it’s a cover-up for feeling nervous and uncomfortable because you think you don’t know how to dance. See above.
- “I don’t have a partner” – you don’t need one. Community dance events encourage everyone to show up, and don’t worry – someone will ask you to dance. Or you can ask someone. Either way, the caller won’t start the dance until everyone has a partner, so you won’t be left alone in the middle of the dance floor.
- “I don’t have the right clothes” – petticoats, neckerchiefs, and boots are NOT required to square dance. Wear anything comfortable that you can move in, and shoes you’re comfortable in when standing for 1-2 hours at a time.
Bonus: square dancing can burn from 60-100 calories – in just 15 minutes! It’s a great way to be active without having to “work out.”
Depending on how many dances you join, you can “walk” anywhere from 1-4 miles in a single evening. Wear your pedometer or FitBit at a dance and watch the steps add up.
- Great way to connect to WV heritage
- Great way to enjoy live music
- Many events are free or $5
- Fun for the whole family
- An amazing way to be active without working out, in any type of weather.
Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? I think so too. I’ll see you at the next dance!