The Hoisington Swinging Stars grab their partners, sashay, bend the line, and promenade to music a couple of times per month, except during summer, to have fun, get exercise, and make friends.
No special skills are required, and group members say anyone can learn to square dance if they can walk. The dance consists of walking to the beat of the music, although responding to the caller "keeps the dancers on their toes."
Publicity chairman Garry Dassow has been dancing for six years, and enjoys meeting people. "You get close to people. And square dance is good exercise."
Dassow said that at one time, 30 years ago, square dancing was huge in the area, and there were clubs everywhere. With time, he said, people have gotten busy with other things. He would like to see square dancing make a comeback.
The group meets twice per month except during the summer. Their last dance this spring will be at 7:30 p.m. on May 10 at Jazzercise, 1409 Main St. in Great Bend. During the winter, they meet at the Hoisington City Auditorium.
It costs $15 a year to be a member of the Hoisington Swinging Stars, and $5 per dance.
Callers come from throughout Kansas. One comes all the way from Texas to help the club celebrate its anniversary. The club just celebrated its 30th year of existence.
The Great Bend Recreation Commission teaches Mainstream and Plus square dance lessons. Mainstream dancing means basic square dance steps. It is four couples making a square and walking to the beat of the music. The caller tells them what to do.
The next class is 7:30 -9:30 p.m. on Friday from Sept. 30 to Nov. 18. The class is a must for the beginner, but Dassow said that once you’re done with the first series of classes, you are ready to participate in the Swinging Stars.
The cost is $22 for a single or $44 for a couple for the rec classes. Caller for the classes is Albert Braun from Hays. Braun taught lessons at Fort Hays State University for 25 years.
Plus dancing is a step above Mainstream calls. The Swinging Squares use Mainstream dancing.
The Mainstream level consists of 68 calls, while the Plus level consists of 32 additional calls.
You’ll learn in one series of lessons," Dassow said. "In one year, you get pretty good. People help you along. You try to grow."
Although Dassow has been in the club for six years, "I’m still learning new steps," he said. Dassow began dancing when a friend of his invited him to come. Dassow has continued, while his friend quit.
It is not required to have a partner to join the class. The group takes turns sitting out if there are an uneven number of people.
Presidents of the group are H.P. and Carolyn Brumeister of Holyrood; vice president is Pat Brand of Pratt; secretaries are Marvin and Delora Baldwin of Great Bend; treasurer is Pat Stonebraker of Great Bend; publicity chairmen is Dassow; and Virginia Klepper is in charge of lessons.
For more information, contact Dassow at 653-4751.