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Mar 2005 / games :: email this story to a friend

Wanna Swing?
By Milton J. Murry

The Club

St. Louis Swingin' Singles was founded in January 1974 at Brentwood YMCA. The purpose of the club is to give singles a place to go and have large of amounts of fun and square dancing. The club provides friendship and fellowship of like-minded singles. There are activities all year round: a club picnic, club Christmas party, Raiding and Retrieving, dancing every other Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., theme dances, travel to state and national square dance events, day trips to out-of-town dances and participation in "League"-sponsored dances and picnics.

Levels of Square Dancing

While you may have done square dancing in gym class in middle school and found it revolting or have less than positive memories of it, square dancing as an adult provides a great deal of fun and mental stimulation.

swinger The version of square dancing that is taught now is Modern Western Square Dancing. It is a group activity with three other couples for a total of eight people in a square. You will learn about 140 calls. Don't let this number of calls turn you off! There are really only two things you must do to be successful at square dancing: listen, and know your left hand from your right hand. (Listening is the more important of the two.) Class will be taught by one of the many callers in the St. Louis area. The St. Louis Swingin' Singles club provides a hall and the caller.

There are three levels of square dancing: Mainstream, Plus and Advance/ Dance By Direction (DBD). Mainstream will give you a good deal of fun and in many ways I enjoy dancing Mainstream more than the other two levels. You will have learned about 80 calls when you complete Mainstream lessons and most of these calls are very easy and self explanatory — Grand Right and Left, Circle Left or Right, Weave, etc. The caller directs the square dancing steps and you respond to calls as he/she sings them out. Mainstream dances are held on a monthly schedule so you will be dancing with confidence very quickly. The more you dance the better you get, and as always, the main purpose of square dancing is to have fun and relax from the day's cares. You will not dance well if you are thinking about what happened during the day, so it helps put your worries aside. Additional classes will be needed to dance at the Plus level, learning more complicated calls, and progressing to Advance/DBD.


While you may have seen women dressed in enough petticoats that make them appear likely to become airborne in a strong wind, a simple prairie skirt is a very nice outfit. Men need to dress in long-sleeved shirts to provide a good surface to grip when doing calls. Square dance should not be physical or forceful when doing calls; a light touch is sufficient.

Getting Started

If this social activity sounds like something you would like to try please contact me. We arrange classes when we have enough new dancers. We encourage you to come observe one of our club dances. Our next dance will be at Webster Groves Christian Church, 1320 W. Lockwood, near Lockwood and Berry Roads, February 19, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. We have two dances in March: the first dance is March 5th with Mark Turner, who is an out-of-town caller from Paducah, Kentucky. The second dance is scheduled March 19, 2005, once again at Webster Groves Christian Church at 7:30 p.m. with Donald McConnell of Taylorville, IL. You can reach me via e-mail ( or phone (314-644-3661).

Milton J. Murry is President of the St. Louis Swingin' Singles Square Dance Club.

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