Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Do-Si-Do Is on the Grow Square-Dancers Want to Share the Fun

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Do-Si-Do Is on the Grow Square-Dancers Want to Share the Fun

Article excerpt

Follow along with this jingle in a fast pace: Join hands. Now

circle to the left. When you get back home, turn. Now free your

partner and do an Alabama left. Now weave the ring and do-si-do.

Swing to the left and promenade .

Did you catch all that? Did you figure out what it was?

Throughout Northeast Florida this month, people are getting a

chance to learn how to square dance. Several clubs in Duval and

Clay counties are offering free lessons to celebrate National

Square Dancing Month.

There are more than 20 clubs in the First Coast region, with

members ranging from age 9 to 98. One such group is the

Rollaways Square Dance Club, which gathers weekly in the

cafeteria of Sandalwood High School.

About 75 people showed up Tuesday. Some men were dressed in

cowboy boots, shirts with gold-tipped collars, Western-style

ties and belts with big designer buckles. Women wore colorful

petticoats and Mary Jane dance shoes.

As caller Ken Miller of the Southside sang to some fastpaced

instrumentals, petticoats swished and men strutted to the beat.

In rounds or squares made up of eight people, couples glided

across the cafeteria floor in a smoke-free, alcoholfree

environment.

"It's something grandparents, parents and children can all do

together," said Kathy McKinney of Mandarin. "It's good, clean

fun. It's fun and fellowship set to music."

Miller encouraged beginning dancers not to worry about messing

up. Many grinned shyly as they missed their partner's hand or

found themselves moving in the opposite direction of their

square.

"Don't try to memorize the moves and calls," Miller told the

group. "Just listen, listen, listen ."

Miller has been a caller for eight years. He and his wife,

Ginger, began square dancing 12 years ago.

"We do it because of the friendly fellowship we get from it,"

Ken Miller said. "It's good exercise and these are just good

people."

According to square dance club leaders in the region, interest

in square dancing is increasing as a popular pastime. The

Rollaways club membership, for example, has doubled in the past

two years to about 110, according to Jack McKinney, who serves

as club co-president with wife, Kathy.

"It's not so much the dance, but the fellowship," Jack McKinney

said. "You can go anywhere in the world and find a square dance

club. They're taught in English all over the world."

About 30,000 square dancers are expected to attend a national

convention in Orlando in June. Anyone who joins a club this

month will be registered to attend the convention.

"It's growing because people are more relaxed with it than

older days," Kathy McKinney said. "Today, you can wear what you

want and it's not just for people who are elderly or retired. …

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