Hotfoot Stompers square dance club hopes to reel in the teens

“All join hands in a great big ring; Circle round and round with the dear little thing.

All jump up and never come down; Swing your pretty girl round and round.

All the way over, back with pride; When you’re through we’ll take a ride

Allemande left with the corner maid; Meet your own and promenade.”

Just reading those calls makes you want to dance, doesn’t it?

Well, the Hotfoot Stompers Square Dance Club opens its arms and welcomes dancers of all ages, and it extends a most gregarious invitation to dancers of the teenage sort.

“Teen dancers are bringing their unique blend of energy and excitement to square dancing, joining the generations of dancers who have discovered this fun, family-friendly activity,” said Roger Dahl, past president and permanent promoter of the Hotfoot Stompers.

Roger and his wife, Carol, have been dancing with the Hotfoot Stompers for the past 15 years or so – why they’ve even reigned as president and queen of the local dance group. The Dahls enjoy square dancing so much, they urge young people to square up and join them.

 

 

 

 

Square dancing, the Dahls will tell you, is “good,
clean fun.”

“It’s a great way to get physical exercise, mental exercise and just plain fun social entertainment,” said Roger.

Currently, there are just one or two squares of teen dancers dancing with the Hotfoot Stompers, but the Dahls and their colleagues want to see that number grow.

The Stompers, which was established in 1979 and currently has about 150 members, is one of 20 or more clubs in Minnesota.

“Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s there were thousands of dance clubs,” Carol said, and Roger continued the thought, saying, “At one time there were waiting lists to get into a club. Now we’re trying to get more involved.”

And so, the invitation to the teenage crowd.

“If you learned square dancing in gym class, you’re in for a surprise,” Roger said, imagining what young people might envision when they think of square dancing.

“That has nothing to do with modern square dancing – there are a lot more moves and today the dancers have no idea what the caller will call until it comes out of the caller’s mouth.”

And Hotfoot Stompers’ square dance style – in fact all modern square dancing – is no longer country song after country song, he said.

No, modern square dance swings, twirls and flourishes to anything with a four count. Could be “Green Eggs and Ham.” Could be “Pink Cadillac.” Could be “Nitro.”

“Square dance is uniquely American. It was the merging of three different dances done during the founding of the country back in the early pioneer days,” Roger said.

“It’s grown and evolved throughout the years. There’s nothing else like it.”

In teen squares (each square is eight dancers) things can get even more interesting, Roger and Carol said, with the addition of extra swings and twirls and flourishes.

Hotfoot Stompers members range in age from eight to 80 years old and they always welcome new members.

In fact, a series of 12 lessons for beginners begins Sept. 23, 7-9 p.m., at Northdale Middle School (11301 Dogwood St. NW, Coon Rapids). The first lesson is free, each lesson following is $5 per adult; $2.50 per child age 17 and younger; $12 per family.

“It takes 12 lessons to learn the 60-plus moves to become a mainstream dancer. Once you have completed lessons you can dance at any club in the world – square dancing is always called in English,” Roger said.

To learn more about square dancing or to see modern square dance in action – and see what other fun the Stompers have – visit www.hotfootstompers.org.

No pre-registration, or special clothing or shoes is necessary.

“If you know your right from your left and can walk, you can square dance,” said Roger.

Sue Austreng is at
sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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