“We do not grow too old to dance. We grow old because we do not dance.”
This sentiment, spoken by Herb Greggereson, a square dance caller, back in 1953, is something the Surrey Square Wheelers know well.
The club, which boasts members from White Rock to Mission, is inviting anyone who is interested in learning to square dance to come out this fall and give it a whirl.
Square dancing is a low-impact activity that combines a social outing with physical and mental activity — all of it set to music and accompanied by wide smiles and laughter.
The benefits are many, said Bryan Jensen, a White Rock resident who took up the activity about 15 years ago and now is a representative for the Fraser Valley Square and Round Dance Association.
They include physical activity combined with mental concentration, smiles and laughter, making friends and having fun. Square dancing is also known to increase blood flow, and lung capacity, improve balance and co-ordination, develop mental agility and reduce depression and memory loss.
Jensen said he was hooked on square dancing from the moment he stepped on the floor with his wife at the Kent Street Activity Centre.
“Never done it before and haven’t stopped doing it since,” he said. “It was fun, it was laughter, it was feel good… three hours of just plain fun.”
And, he added, it can be done anywhere in the world – the calls are always done in English and the steps are internationally known.
“You can go anywhere – anywhere in the world there’s square dancing going on, and be able to participate,” Jensen said. “Last year, we had a couple couples from Germany stop in to dance with us one evening.”
Now is the ideal time for those wanting to get involved, Jensen said. New dancer lessons began Sept. 7 at the Port Kells Hall, at 88 Avenue and Harvie Road in Surrey.
In addition, in conjunction with Surrey Leisure Services, an introductory program will be starting Oct. 6 at the Cloverdale Recreation Centre, 6188 176 St. To start square dancing with the Surrey Square Wheelers, call 604-809-1703; for information on the course, visit www.surrey.ca