Chili supper in Granby dishes out square dance lesson |

Chili supper in Granby dishes out square dance lesson

Cyndi McCoy
Grand County, Colorado
Courtesy photoSquare dancers don't have to be experts to enjoy a spin out on the dance floor. The caller leads the steps and Never Summer Squares members are there to help newcomers.

If the snows have got your feet itching to get out, round up a partner for some old-fashioned square dance lessons.

Grand County’s square dance club, the Never Summer Squares, is sponsoring an evening of free fun. For those who have always wanted to learn or just want to brush up on their do-si-do, the club is offering a free demonstration and introductory lesson with its annual chili supper. The public is invited to come find out more about this fun activity, and to see why square dancing is called “friendship set to music.” Dress is casual.

“We just want to give ’em an idea how much fun we have,” said Susan Ellis, the club’s new president. “You have to see it to believe it.” Her wish is simply to attract new members, so that they can “enjoy it as much as we do.”

Participants don’t have to be smooth operators on the dance floor and guys don’t have to worry about being able to lead. A caller leads couples along to the music. Past students and members of the club are also on site to help.

The informal, introductory event kicks off with a free chili supper, followed by a demonstration and regular lesson for beginners. During the classes students can learn more than 70 mainstream “calls,” and come away with the “opportunity to dance anywhere.”

Beginners start at the foundation of square dancing ” called mainstream. After they learn the basics, they work their way up to the varied skilled steps of the “plus” levels. After a few weeks, dancers should be comfortable enough to attend the club’s regular Saturday night dances, tailored to the class level at that point in the lessons.

“You spend so much time laughing and helping each other out,” explained Vernie Tupa, former president of the club with her husband Ed, “you become close friends through that.” Ellis said they laugh so hard sometimes they have to stop, and that it is “the most fun you’ll have doing exercise.”

The Tupas were the first students to learn under the club’s original caller and founding member, Barry Wright. Wright helped start the group in 2002 with the aid of friends who square danced. The Tupas said it has been a wonderful class. Their goal was to double membership and the club boasts around 50 members now.

If you like what you learn Thursday evening, The Never Summer Squares is offering a 10-week series of Mainstream lessons at the Granby Community Center Jan.18-March 29 (except Feb. 1, Super Bowl Sunday). The schedule includes two lessons a week with all 70 moves in the Mainstream sequence: 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoons and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings. Cost is $80 per person, or $5 per lesson, “and it is something you can do for the rest of your life,” Tupa said.

Many members have so much fun with it they get together and dance outside of the county for fun. In the past they’ve traveled to places as close as Summit County and as far as Montana to sharpen their skills and hear other callers.

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