Wednesday, 16 April 2014 21:41

Squarin' up with Centennial Squares dancers

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Every Tuesday evening, Dean Gallagher opens the doors of the Newcastle Multi-Purpose center at the library to dance up a storm.

Gallagher and the members of Tri City’s Centennial Squares square dancing club have been offering lessons to members and enthusiasts at the library for more than five years now. 

Gallagher, himself a member of Centennial Squares for three years, is a former square dance caller and the club’s current president.

“Square dancing is done with four couples in a circle,” Gallagher said. “You just dance to what the caller puts out.”

Often linked to the culture of the American West, square dancing has its origins in 17th century England, spreading to France and much of Europe. The dance was brought to the U.S. with the first waves of European settlers in the 18th century.

A square dance is defined as four couples of dance partners, arranged in a square, responding to instructions put out by a caller, often to the beat of music. 

While commonly associated with country and western music, square dancing has no predefined genre. During a previous class, dancers began by dancing to the beat of a disco remix of the “Star Wars” theme. 

If the group has any challenges facing them, it’s the attempt to draw in younger participants. Many participants and learners are well beyond their 30s. Gallagher himself has been dancing for nearly half a century with his wife, Theresa.

“With square dancing, it’s about the people you meet,” Gallagher said, “They’re the greatest people in the world, and they all come out just to have a good time.”

Lessons are $25 per session, along with $5 monthly dues for Centennial Squares membership. For more information and lesson times, call the Newcastle Library at (405) 387-5076.

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