Fargo event draws square dance enthusiasts
Published April 19, 2010
Swing your partner, do-si-do
Dave Olson, INFORUM
"Smile at your opponent ... here we go!"
With that, caller Tom Roper launched another
square dance Sunday afternoon at the F-M Labor Temple in Fargo.
Roper, an internationally known square dance
caller from Omaha, Ill., was in Fargo at the invitation of the F-M Square
Dancers Association, which is made up of four square dancing groups in the area.
After 30 years in the business, Roper said he
still travels about 40,000 miles a year doing square dance gigs around the
"You can go anyplace in the world and square
dance. I call in Sweden and England and Norway, Japan, Germany. Square dancing
is international," Roper said.
Sunday's event in Fargo drew people from all
over northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, according to Kay Jacobson,
Fargo, a member of the F-M Square Dancers Association.
Rhythm not required
Roger and Bernadette McNeil of Fargo said they
have been dancing for about the past 10 years, a pastime they started in the
1970s but put on hold while they raised a family.
Square dancing, which gives the appearance of
churning gears made of gingham skirts and western shirts, isn't as difficult as
it may look, said Roger McNeil, who is a caller for his club, L & M Squares.
"You don't have to have rhythm for your head
and feet to work together," he said.
Dancing is good exercise, his wife added.
"You'll walk three to five miles in a night,"
Many of the dancers Sunday appeared to be
retirees, but not all.
Joyana Wardrip, 24, said she started square
dancing in college when she attended barn dances.
She took lessons after moving to Moorhead.
"I like the music. And the people are real
fun," said Wardrip, who worries that someday she may run out of dancers to dance
"I think about that. I'm trying to recruit my
"I've had a few come out," she said. "But it
takes commitment to go through all the lessons."
For more information
find out more about local square dancing clubs, or call Roger and Bernadette
McNeil at 701.293.6620.
Published April 19 2010 On The