Dancing documentary to premiere at Brewery

Published Caption: Sarah Hall/The R-C

Published Caption: Sarah Hall/The R-C

A documentary about square dancing will do-si-do through Carson City before making a grand promenade around the circle of film festivals, where producers hope it will be picked up by cable TV.

Partly filmed in Minden and featuring residents of the area, "Larry Ward - The Square Dance Caller" will premiere at the Brewery Arts Center at 5 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for the free showing.

Produced by Steven Shore Productions and directed by Andrew Shepherd, the film is based on the 61-year career of square dance caller Larry Ward, who now lives in Carson Valley and teaches ballroom and square dancing in the area.

Ward, 74, learned square dancing in school and became a caller as a 12-year-old. Over the years, he learned ballroom dancing, worked at movie studios and helped form the B Sharps square dancing group - still active after 50 years. He also made a cameo appearance as a square dance caller in the TV series "Six Feet Under" and other productions.

Ward said documentary director Andrew Shepherd created a "class act."

"It's going to accomplish many things," he said. "First of all, it will enhance my career. When it hits cable, it will draw attention to square dancing, which is our national dance, and maybe bring back its popularity."

"Larry Ward - The Square Dance Caller" includes footage taken from videos from Ward's own collection and from dancing scenes shot last year at the CVIC Hall in Minden. It also features interviews with Carson City High School graduates Tyler Smith and Lauren Schultz who took Ward's classes and perform in demonstrations.

Ward is excited to see more young people take up dancing, including square dancing.

"When I taught in Southern California, the square dancers were 60 to 70 years old, but here, half of the dancers are under 25 and there's a lot of teenagers," Ward said in an interview last year.

In the documentary, he explains that we, as a culture, spend too much time sitting. Square dancing is good exercise and also builds a sense of community as dancers interact.

• Record-Courier reporter Sharlene Irete contributed to this story.

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