Square dancers shattering ‘old tyme’ image

Artists like Lady Gaga are helping to shatter the traditional “old tyme” image of square dancing.

Eugene Styba gives his wife Eileen a twirl during the 60th anniversary celebration of the Red Deer Square Dance Club at the Gaetz Memorial United Church

Eugene Styba gives his wife Eileen a twirl during the 60th anniversary celebration of the Red Deer Square Dance Club at the Gaetz Memorial United Church

Artists like Lady Gaga are helping to shatter the traditional “old tyme” image of square dancing.

Red Deer Square Dance Club member Eugene Styba said most young people think square dancing is something “old people” do while listening to old country and western tunes.

“It’s nothing like that,” said Styba. “We dance to everything from rap to rock to country music like (Baha Men’s) Who Let the dogs Out. That kind of music. If it has a good solid beat to it. We can dance to it.”

Styba 51, and his wife, Eileen, 50, are one of the youngest couple in the club. Eileen Styba said it took her about 30 years to convince her husband to give square dancing a whirl.

“I wanted to do it when we were younger but he kept saying, ‘no, no it’s for old people,” said Eileen Styba.

The couple joined the club’s 60-year celebration of square dancing and good times at the Gaetz Memorial United Church on Ross Street on Saturday.

About 160 dancers from around the province took part in a day of “do-si-do-ing” and toe-tapping entertainment. The traditional folk dance involves four couples arranged in a square. A caller who calls out patterns to the dancers from known movements and puts them in various sequences to music.

Red Deer Square Dance Club president Jim Newbery said square dancing has evolved from the 1950s pastime with simple choreographed moves to today’s fast-paced and complex footwork.

The music changed with the fancy moves.

“The perception is it is just old people and retired seniors dancing to old music and it’s not the case,” said Newbery. “Certainly there are seniors that are still dancing. Some of them have been dancing since they were teenagers.”

Newbery said square dancing may not be the thing to do on a Saturday night for most people but he is hoping for a come back. The club has about 35 members which is a far cry from the early days when membership was nearing the 200-mark. Newbery understands it is a different world from when entire families used to spend evenings dancing together.

“Back in the 1950s when it started, square dancing was a craze,” he said. “Everybody wanted to be doing it.”

The average age in the club is about 50 but there are the odd younger members joining. Newbery would like to see more younger people get involved because it is good fun and easy on the pocketbook and promotes fellowship.

“It’s not that hard,” he said. “It’s as easy as going on a walk.”

“It’s a huge amount of fun and great fellowship,” said Newbery. “Square dancing is called in English Around the World. So you can dance just about anywhere in the world you want to dance.

In 2013, the club will host the third Biannual Alberta Square Dance Jamboree where close to 500 square dancers from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the United States are expected to attend.

The club hosts two square dancing nights on the second and fourth Saturday each month. The next dance is Nov.12. For more information contact Newbery at 403-396-3394.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The QEII was closed Sunday morning due to a pole fire. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
UPDATE: QEII near Red Deer reopens

The QEII has been reopened after being closed due to a pole… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Bashaw RCMP investigate fatal collision in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP are investigating after a fatal collision Saturday afternoon. Police were… Continue reading

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It's not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he'd been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

DELIA, Alta. — It’s not often police can report that a unicorn… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Federal government to send health-care workers to Ontario, Trudeau says

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says federal departments and some Canadian… Continue reading

People cross a busy street in the shopping district of Flushing on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kathy Willens
Despite COVID-19 vaccines, Americans in D.C. not feeling celebratory — or charitable

WASHINGTON — This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

WASHINGTON — Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at… Continue reading

A man pays his respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Memorial service in Nova Scotia marks one year since mass shooting started

TRURO, N.S. — A memorial service is planned for today in central… Continue reading

In this April 23, 2016, photo, David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country's most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England's most recognized fish for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The latest assessment of Atlantic cod stocks, whose… Continue reading

FILE - In this Friday Aug. 21, 2020 file photo, Leonid Volkov, a top strategist for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, addresses the media in Berlin, Germany. Activists for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny are calling for massive protests in the heart of Moscow and St. Petersburg as Navalny's health reportedly is deteriorating severely while on hunger strike. Leonid Volkov, a top strategist for Navalny, said the demonstrations are called on short notice for Wednesday April 21, 2021, because "his life hangs in the balance. ... We don't know how long he can hold on." (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)
Navalny’s team calls protests amid reports of failing health

MOSCOW — Associates of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called Sunday… Continue reading

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gestures during a news conference Sunday, April 4, 2021, at the Manatee County Emergency Management office in Palmetto, Fla. DeSantis has received a single-dose coronavirus vaccine. His office confirmed Wednesday, April 7, 2021 that the Republican governor got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only a single dose. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, file)
GOP White House hopefuls move forward as Trump considers run

WASHINGTON — Less than three months after former President Donald Trump left… Continue reading

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Most Read