Square dancers mix it up

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The Mountain Mixers Square Dance Club of Los Alamos will offer Basic Square Dance lessons on Sundays from 4-6 p.m. this fall. The classes will be at the Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse Lodge, 650 North Mesa Road.  
Square dancing is easy and fun. No special skills or previous dance experience are required. You do not need to wear special clothes; jeans are fine. Couples, families and singles are welcome. Anyone from the age of 9 to 99 can have fun doing it.
The lessons will begin with a free light supper and introductory lesson from 3-5 p.m. Sept. 12. The classes will run for 12 weeks.
Square dancing consists of about 50 basic moves which are taught and practiced during the classes. That means you only have to learn four moves a week. Rich Stewart is a patient teacher and reviews the class every week.  
Square dance is a folk dance with four couples (eight dancers) arranged in a square. Square Dancing emerged from the folk dancing of the New England Settlers. Henry Ford and his wife Clara Bryant were passionate about square dancing and helped make it part of every public school’s physical education program. In 1944, Ford decided he wanted a radio show that would have dances and discussion of the dances. 
“The Early American Dance Music” radio program was a half-hour show and featured Benjamin Lovett and others calling squares with the music played by the Henry Ford Old-Fashion Orchestra. President Ronald Reagan made square dancing the National Folk Dance from 1982-1983. Square dancing has been featured on TV with Bugs Bunny, Arthur and Bob the Builder all performing square dancing.
George and Dorothy Hillhouse introduced square dancing to Los Alamos in 1943.
Since then, there has been at least one square dancing club in town. Tom and Marlene Kelly and Ron and Sally Nolan, long-time Mountain Mixers, are members of the New Mexico Square and Round Dance Association’s Hall of Fame. They have been dancing in Los Alamos for many years.
 Square dancing is easy to learn and part of Los Alamos’ recreational scene. Not only is it fun, it’s friendship set to music. The Mountain Mixers dance to everything from classic music to country and rock ‘n’ roll.
New ideas and figures are introduced each year, insuring that square dancing is always changing.
Square dancing is performed worldwide and is always called in English, so you can dance anywhere. All that is necessary is a familiarity with a number of basic figures or movements, which are called in various combinations on the dance floor.  
It has been noted that children who are taught dance have an increased attention span, greater phonemic awareness, increased mathematical abilities and greater ability to get along with one another.
If you are interested in the classes and a fun afternoon, please RSVP to Mountain Mixers at 662-7510, 672-9684.
If you are already a square dancer, join The Mountain Mixers from 7:30–9:30 p.m. every first and third Saturday of the month at the White Rock Activities Center, 137 Longview Drive. There are guest callers at every dance.

Special to the Monitor by Gillian Sutton.