Square dance weekend set for July 5-7

The Mountain Dance Trail of Augusta Heritage Center will host a square dance weekend, Dare to be Square West Virginia, July 5-7 at Rich Mountain Battlefield’s Field of Fire, roughly 35 minutes outside Elkins. The weekend will feature many callers and musicians throughout the state including Bill Ohse, Lou Mauiri, Mack Samples, Pete Simmons and Ellen and Eugene Ratcliffe.

“You go to a square dance and most everybody’s there to have fun, they’re all laughing, and it’s easy to learn. I enjoy the fellowship, the music, and I just enjoy the dancing,” said caller Lou Mauri.

Dare to be Square will kick off Friday, July 5, with a public square dance at 8 p.m. featuring local musicians, Andy Fitzgibbon and Karl Smakula. Square dance callers will rotate calling throughout the evening. Workshops will be held all day Saturday, July 6, and Sunday, July 7, in Calling 101, Pendleton County square dances, big circle figures, how to play music for a square dances, four couple set squares and much more.

To see the schedule visit www.mountaindancetrail.org. There will be another public square dance featuring Gerry Milnes and The Stove Stokers on Saturday, July 6, at 8 p.m. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I would like to learn to square dance,” or wanted to know how to call square dances, this is the weekend to start.

“These old dances are simple, you can learn them in no time,” stated caller Mack Samples. “Squares dances haven’t changed much.”

Admission for the entire weekend is $40 and rustic camping is available for $15. There are still volunteer positions available.

Rebecca Hill, Appalachian Forest Heritage Area AmeriCorps volunteer, is organizing this event with the hopes to “jumpstart new and younger square dance callers throughout the state.”

“Many people believe community square dances are dying,” Hill said. “However, West Virginia has never lost the tradition.” The Mountain Dance Trail is dedicated to passing this tradition on. Rebecca Hill taught over 300 kids to square dance at Braxton, Randolph and Nicholas County 4-H summer camps this year.

“Only by teaching younger folks how to square dance and how to call dances will this tradition continue into the future,” Hill stated.

The Mountain Dance Trail is dedicated to helping preserve and promote small community square dances throughout West Virginia. Dare to be Square is possible through support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the West Virginia Humanities Council and the Country Dance and Song Society. The 2013 Mountain Dance Trail schedule is now available in our brochure and online at www.mountaindancetrail.org. For more information, call 304-637-1349.