Far from the heart of Dixie in the Pacific Northwest, the Dudes and Dolls Square Dance Club is keeping alive the spirit of the Antebellum days.
The club, which is in its 67th year, will be starting new two-hour weekly dance lessons on Tuesday, Sept. 18. According to organizers, participants do not need any prior dance experience and can expect a warm, welcoming environment as they learn to dosado, allemande left and promenade for 16 weeks. The Tuesday night lessons are $7 and held at Cedar Valley Grange in Lynnwood.
Club vice-president Stephen Sworen of Marysville guarantees the club is not what people expect.
“It’s not your grandpa’s square dancing,” he said. “You don’t have to wear the skirts and boots. Just have fun.”
Sworen and his wife Joyce joined the club five years ago. Having little experience with square dancing, he did not fully appreciate it until joining Dudes and Dolls.
“Taking lessons with adults, I love it,” he said.
Edmonds resident JoAnn Becker has been a member of the club for four years. She began taking lessons with her brother and has since served as a lesson coordinator and is the club’s current treasurer. Becker said what kept her coming back was the welcoming and positive attitude of club members.
“The people are just super,” she said. “I’ve never really been a dancer, but I stayed because I love the people.”
The non-competitive club also meets on the second, fourth and fifth Friday from September to May. Dances often have themes like the Seattle Seahawks or Elvis, where caller Scott Coon dresses as the king of rock for an evening.
Dudes and Dolls also hosts charitable events like a back-to-school drive to collect supplies and a veteran’s dance donating all proceeds to the Fisher House.
For some, interest in square dancing stems from what people believe it stands for.
Jamie Dominguez said he appreciates the wholesome nature of square dancing and how the club members exude that with their attitude.
“They wrap their arms around you, made us their own,” said Dominguez, who along with his his fiancé has belonged to the club for a year.
“It doesn’t matter what level you are,” he said. “It’s a family-type atmosphere and they are very patient with you.”
Dominguez said the common misconception about square dancing is only older people join, but that is not true.
“We have teens come dance and there is a lot of modern music,” he said. The club recently held a dance inspired by “The Greatest Showman” with a circus theme.
The club’s first dance is on Sept. 14 and is open to all ages 10 and older.
Anyone interested in signing up for classes with the Dudes and Dolls Square Dancing Club can find more information on their website at www.dudesanddolls.org
— By Cody Sexton