Letter to the Editor: Let’s Go Dancing


Want to hear a question that is guaranteed to get an eye roll from people? Here it is: Why not try square-dancing?

Yes, I'm telling you this story from a former eye-roller's point of view, because maybe like me, square dancing was forced on you at grade school or strictly for oldsters.

I hadn't thought of square dancing as a means to relieve stress, improve health or physically and mentally connect with others in a safe environment. After a hard day, my way of coping was too many trips to the fridge and reality TV.

But Washington winters are dark, cold and long. I was bored, sometimes lonely and having trouble sleeping, so I knew I needed more physical and social activity. I tried going to the gym but it wasn't fun. I tried ballroom dancing but found it expensive and I didn't have a regular partner. I was resigning myself to the TV and bowls of ice cream when a friend told me about a local square dance club. When the lessons started in the fall of 2015, it wasn't easy to convince myself to go. I force-marched myself to the first lesson and was relieved that I didn't need to bring a partner — experienced dancers are there to help you through the calls. The caller was totally dedicated to making it fun. The music started, the beat was on and we were all dancing the very first night. I loosened up and found myself grinning like a possum. In the weeks to come, it got easier to connect with the new people and club members. Most were couples but I found folks from all ages, stages and walks of life. I made a commitment to graduate and join and I found a partner who loves to dance as much as I do. It's been seven years since I joined and now this club is like a family.

As we all know, COVID-19 has been a continuous threat to us all. We still dance together but take lots of precautions. Some continue to wear masks and vaccinations and boosters are the norm. Nothing is mandated. Personal, physical and mental health plays a big part of why we dance.

What are your plans for these long winter nights? Maybe it's time to get back out here. Now the following clubs are opening up new dancer lessons for the first time in two years. Hope to see you there.

Prairie Steppers: New lessons begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at the Oakview Grange in Centralia. Check out our website or call 360-978-5156 or 360-273-6008 for more information.

Cougars: New lessons begin on Mondays the last week in September at Napavine Elementary School, with the time to be announced. Call 360-978-5156 or 360-269-7519.


Lawrence Hanna and Carol Thompson