An invitation to dance

Surrey Square Wheelers reach out to new dance partners with upcoming lessons for beginners at the Cloverdale Rec Centre.

‘We call it fun and fitness

The Surrey Square Wheelers are venturing onto a new dance floor this fall, offering lessons in Cloverdale for beginners.

An introductory square dance program starts Oct. 6 at the Cloverdale Recreation Centre, at 6188 176 Street.

Partnering up with the City of Surrey’s Leisure Services department is a first for the long-running club, which boasts members from across Surrey, North Delta, Langley and Mission, and is hoping to reach new members.

A professional square dance caller will be on hand to call the steps at the classes, and some experienced Square Wheelers will be joining in.

Learning square dancing is a “little bit complex” for beginners, says club representative Bryan Jensen, who took up the discipline about 15 years ago.

It’s easier to learn the steps and moves if you can dance with people who already know what to do, he says.

The benefits of square dancing are many. It’s a low-impact activity that gets your heart and lungs pumping, while improving balance and coordination, and mental agility (keeping up with all those calls).

“Actually, it’s a heck of a lot of fun,” Jensen says, referring to square dancing’s irrepressible – inevitable – social side. Not only do you need a partner, you need three other dancing pairs for a square.

“You get eight people together, and by the end of it, they’re laughing their heads off,” he says.

It’s a stress-reliever, too. Jensen says no matter how he’s feeling before heading out to his club’s weekly dance, there’s always lots of smiling and lots of laughter.

“We call it fun and fitness, it really is.”

It’s also a considerable work-out; his wife once wore a pedometer to a dance. It was like taking a brisk, 5-km walk.

Another bonus of introductory classes is new dancers will have a place to go – Surrey Square Wheelers – if they want to keep square dancing.

The Surrey Square Wheelers get together for weekly dances at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, at the Port Kells community hall.

Traditional attire is not required. And set aside notions of dancing to purely old time music.

“No. No. We’ve danced to Creedence Clearwater and Elvis Presley,” says Jensen. “It’s a cross-section of music and some Country. It’s modern square dancing.”

Coincidentally, Sept. 18 to 24 is Square Dancing Awareness Week in B.C. Square dancing is a complete form of exercise. Unlike workouts at the gym, running or playing tennis, it’s unlikely to result in physical injury. Square dancing also combines physical, mental and social dimensions.

The introductory classes are 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Cloverdale Recreation Centre for eight weeks starting Oct. 6. Participants can sign up at www.surrey.ca.

The program is most suited to adults in the 35 to 45+ age group.

For more information about the Surrey Square Wheelers, call 604-809-1703.