Square dancing slated for Friday Fest this week | CraigDailyPress.com

Square dancing slated for Friday Fest this week

Pat McBride will call square dancing from 7 to 9 p.m. at Alice Pleasant Park

Michael Neary

Square dancing, such as the routine seen here during a Sunset Elementary School performance, will be available as part of this week's Downtown Business Association's Friday Fest.

— Pat McBride has called square dances for 44 years, and he's observed the changes that can occur when people enter the wedding halls, the school auditoriums and the multitude of other spaces where the dances unfolded.

If you go

Friday Fest: Line dancing and square dancing

6 p.m. Friday

Alice Pleasant Park, 500 block of Yampa Avenue

— As part of Downtown Business Association’s Friday Fest, line dancing will start the evening, followed by square dancing at 7 p.m. All ages are welcome.

He's noticed, for instance, that outside troubles tend to fall away in a square dance arena.

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"It's virtually impossible," he said, "for you to carry the troubles of the day onto the square dance floor."

McBride, who lives in Grand Junction, is calling square dance in Craig during Friday Fest this week. Craig resident Sandy Orgoglioso approached Kandee Dilldine, of the Craig Downtown Business Association, with the idea of bringing McBride to town this summer.

Dilldine noted openings in the DBA's Friday Fest schedule, and so square dancing, with McBride as the caller, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday in Alice Pleasant Park, preceded by line dancing from 6 to 7 p.m. McBride is slated to return to call square dancing from 7 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 19.

The Downtown Business Association is sponsoring this Friday's calling.

"To get the young kids involved is great," Dilldine said of square dancing. She noted that, years ago, square dancing frequently took place in town.

Orgoglioso and other Craig residents have also been traveling to Hayden to participate in square dancing coordinated by the Greenridge Mountaineers Square Dance Club. The dances in Hayden take place from November to May, and McBride calls a number of those dances on a regular basis.

Betta Boatright, who runs the Greenridge Mountaineers Square Dance Club with her husband Mike, said people come to those dances from several communities.

“We have people come from Steamboat, Oak Creek, Craig and Hayden,” Boatright said. “We have kids as young as 7 and 8 dancing, as well as people up to their 80s.”

Boatright said people who are interested in the Hayden dances can call 970-824-2046.

During the months when the Hayden dances aren’t taking place, people tend to miss them, Orgoglioso said — “especially the kids.” Filling that gap has sparked the effort to schedule square dancing in Craig.

"When you see people get together socially for this activity, everyone is joyful and happy," Orgoglioso said, and she emphasized an inter-generational quality about the dancing.

"The seniors and the older generation and as happy as the kids," she said. "They all mix well together."

Molly Neton, 15, has participated in the Hayden square dances, and she said she enjoys the way the dances create a procession of encounters with people.

“You get to meet a lot of people you didn’t know, going around the square,” she said.

Molly also noted the combination of younger and older people at the dances.

"It's just really interesting getting to talk with them and hear their stories," she said, referring especially to the older people who participate.

McBride said he's called for novices who have never square danced at all, as well as polished dancers who take to the floor several times a week.

"When I'm calling for a group that has never danced before, it's a ‘teach,’" he said. "I'll describe the figure and have the dancers perform the figure, and then we'll practice."

McBride described square dancing as a kind of equalizer, as he emphasized the way a person's age, profession and worldly cares all "hang at the door" during the dance. He noted, too, that it provides lot of exercise — both mental and physical. And because it does demand physical activity, he said, alcohol and smoking are not allowed at a dance.

"You need your lungs, and you need every bit of wind you can muster to dance," he said.

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or mneary@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.

If you go

Friday Fest: Line dancing and square dancing

6 p.m. Friday

Alice Pleasant Park, 500 block of Yampa Avenue

— As part of Downtown Business Association’s Friday Fest, line dancing will start the evening, followed by square dancing at 7 p.m. All ages are welcome.