Archive for Friday, April 12, 1996

SQUARE DANCERS AIM FOR DE-LITEFUL TIME

April 12, 1996

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A fun night out scootin' boots and hearing the call is just a square dance away for two Lawrence women.

Pauline Robertson loved to dance, but unfortunately her husband did not. Now Robertson is making up for lost time by dancing with Square de-lites which she helped form.

While talking with her friend Betty Loukes several years after Robertson's husband died, Robertson and Loukes decided Lawrence needed a fun dance group.

The two approached the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department and decided that square dancing would be fun, so the Square de-lites was born. There was very little money available. The group had to rely heavily on members' personal contributions to get the program started.

That was more than 13 years ago. Today the Square de-lites has grown from three members to 36 members. Loukes is now president of the club and Robertson is recording secretary.

The club meets on the first and third Saturday of each month for more than three hours each meeting. The group is open to anyone 18 and older. Willing men are in demand.

``When you reach over 55 there is always a shortage of men,'' Robertson said.

The group is primarily Lawrence residents but occasionally the members go to Topeka and they steal. This is a fun tradition that the Square de-lites share with other regional square dance clubs. This is how it works:

Clubs will invite other clubs to come dance and socialize. When the visiting club leaves, they "steal" a banner with the host club's name on it. Then later that month that host square dancing club will go visit and retrieve their correct banner. This activity has become a tradition among various square dance clubs and helps create and renew friendships.

Aside from making friends, the Square de-lites also is an economical way to have fun, its organizers say. Because it is essential for every dancer to be able to understand the square dancing calls, to join the group you must have completed 20 lessons at a cost of $30. Once those calls are understood most square dancers spend $5 to $6 a couple a night.

It is not necessary to have a partner to join Square de-lites. The group is open to singles and is about half single and half married.

``We have become such good friends,'' Robertson says. ``We have been very lucky because no one has been divorced.''

Currently more than 3 million adult couples in the United States square dance regularly in clubs, and this number is growing.

But adults are not the only ones who square dance. Topeka even has a club called Cap-Teens, which is strictly for teen-agers.

For the Square de-lites, however, square dancing is a fun social mixer with no upper age limit. It is an easy way to build long-lasting friendships. The Square de-lites holds special dances for individuals in the group who have suffered a loss, or have fallen on hard times.

The group ranges in age from early 30s to almost over 80. The Square de-lites are always looking for new faces.

As Pauline Robertson said: ``A new square dancer is a friend you have not met yet.''

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