New square-dancing class begins Sept. 16
Henry Ford developed a way to mass-produce horseless carriages so that the masses could get to square dances more easily.
I just made that up. I think he really made cars so he could amass a lot of money (and there is nothing wrong with that), but Mr. Ford did love square dancing and he spent lavishly to promote it.
Members of the Oasis Squares, Fallon’s square dance club, love the activity, too, and they will be starting a new class Sept. 16. The first three classes are free. Just show up at Highland Estates, 570 N. Sherman St. at 7 p.m. For more information call Ernie at 775-423-0471 or 775-217-3105.
But back to my story: In the early ‘20s modern dancing, mostly lumped into the category of jazz, was all the rage. Mr. Ford viewed this as decadent, whereas he saw square dancing as more wholesome.
One story goes that Mr. and Mrs. Ford were visiting the Wayside Inn in south Sudbury, Mass., where dance master Benjamin Lovett was calling for square dances. Ford was so impressed that he asked Lovett to come to Dearborn and set up a school for square dance callers. Lovett supposedly said. Mr. Ford, I won’t come to Dearborn. I don’t even like you.” Whereupon Ford bought the Wayside Inn, and along with it Lovett’s contract.
It turned out well. Lovett stayed on with Ford for many years, enjoying a handsome salary, a new Lincoln every year and a hall built by Ford especially for square dancing.
Ford recognized the many benefits of square dancing and encouraged his executives and their wives to engage in the activity, even to the point of discharging those who objected.
Those benefits, which are as applicable today as they were then, include low-impact exercise, teamwork, concentration and the healthy aspect of taking one’s mind off the troubles of the day and permitting a couple of hours of enjoyment in a congenial atmosphere.
Studies show that a square dancer who participates in every dance during an evening will have traveled about five miles and will burn up hundreds of calories.
Fallon’s square dance club has been do-si-doing and promenading on Friday evenings for some seven years. They say if you can walk you can square dance. Anyone from 12 to whatever can start the class. No partner is needed and experienced dancers are welcome to join in anytime.
Come dance in a square, you’ll make a circle of friends.