Narrator: The baby boomers. They’re hip! They’re groovy! They’re far out! But how are they spending their golden years? Well, if you’re Barbara Sindorf, you kick up your heels, square dance style! She recalls how she got started square dancing over 40 years ago.
Barbara:Oh, gosh, we had a neighbor who used to call when I was in high school actually and he had six kids, and we had six kids, and it just kind of fell together. And of course when you’re a girl, that’s fun to wear all those fancy petticoats and skirts that twirl around.
Narrator: In 1999, Barbara moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Grass Valley, a beautiful community located in the mountains of Northern California. In 2008, she joined the Goldancers.
Barbara: Well, the Goldancers were founded in March of 1949.
Narrator: A few years later she found herself in the role of president of the organization.
Barbara: I became president strictly by default. So when the election time came around in the Fall, everybody said “Oh Barbara, you’d make a great president!” And I said “Well, I’ve never done anything like this before, but okay I’ll give it a try.”
Narrator: And what kind of person do the Goldancers attract?
Barbara: A lot of us did it in our youth, and then we raised our families and now we’re coming back to square dancing. A good portion of the dancers are sixties and up, but there are young people that are seeing how much fun it is.
Narrator: So, square dancing is easy to learn, right? A couple of lessons and you’re good to go! Well, not quite.
Barbara: And a lot of people think that, that you can just pick it up in a couple of lessons, and you can’t. It takes about nine, ten months to learn square dancing$8212;the basic steps!
Narrator: What does it take to learn square dancing? And what can beginners expect at first?
Barbara: The caller starts out on week one, he puts everyone in a big circle, and boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, and he teaches the basics: this is your partner; this is your corner. And then he takes you through the basics. And so each week he just builds on those skills, and continues on…and on…and on! So the caller keeps you on track, and sometimes he’ll just throw wild things at you: “Do this!” “Do that!” It’s like “Okay!” But you have to listen! So that’s a good part of keeping that brain active!
Narrator: Think that square dancing is just physical exercise? Believe it or not, there’s a mental side to square dancing.
Barbara: You have to remember the calls. So, your brain is always thinking of what to do, so it keeps your brain sharper!
Narrator: Square dance music. It’s more than just country. What kind of music does a caller use during a square dancing tip?
Barbara: There’s one caller from South Carolina that calls to a lot of the oldies that we grew up with as baby boomers in the sixties that are really fun!
Narrator: So, how did square dancing evolve? It began in New England when the first settlers brought with them their various national dances, which we now call folk dances. So, in the twenty-first century is square dancing only found in America?
Barbara: They have it all over the world. And you don’t have to know Japanese or German, or any other language, to be able to square dance.
Narrator:In the summer of 2013, Barbara will be joining several others on a trip to Germany. And besides site seeing, she’ll be kicking up her heels and twirling her skirt on the dance floor! Is it hard to find a square dancing club in most communities throughout the United States?
Barbara: There are clubs all over the place! I would just type in “square dancing” on the computer and the state that you want. I know in our region here we have about seventeen clubs in our square dance association.
Narrator: Besides the great physical and mental exercise Barbara receives from square dancing, there’s also another aspect that’s been beneficial to her, especially as of late.
Barbara: And so it’s an outlet for me to get out. I take care of my mom now. I live with her, so it’s a great outlet to get out and I can forget about what’s going on at home because I’m there laughing and just having a good time with my friends there.
Narrator: For those who have lost a spouse joining a square dancing club can be a boon. Friendships made at your club will become family.
Barbara: Sometimes you can feel kind of lonely at home because your spouse has passed away, especially as we get older. We have a lot of single people in our club. And it really helps to give you that social outing that you need to keep away the depression basically. It’s a good thing!
Narrator: Barbara is grateful for the time each week she spends with her square dancing family. She cherishes her involvement with the Goldancers and finds one word to sum up her experience.
Barbara: To laugh. Just friendships even outside of square dance. My current club that I belong to, we get together every once in a while, we’ll go out to dinner, or for pizza. It’s a good outlet. I would urge everybody who needs some good social outing, some laughter, some healthy exercise and stuff to come out and try square dancing.