Square Dancing Dancers Marvin & Gwen Lewis, Ballard White & Connie Roberts, Cecilia & Bill Randall, Deborah & Alex Longoria. Photo Courtesy Of Alex Longoria

Give Square Dancing a Try for Health and Fun

Dancers Marvin & Gwen Lewis, Ballard White & Connie Roberts, Cecilia & Bill Randall, Deborah & Alex Longoria. Photo courtesy of Alex Longoria

Dancers Marvin & Gwen Lewis, Ballard White & Connie Roberts, Cecilia & Bill Randall, Deborah & Alex Longoria. Photo courtesy of Alex Longoria

According to statistics, close to half of the people in the U.S. like to make a traditional New Year’s resolution, and one of the most popular resolutions is to get in shape and lose weight. These same studies show that the second week of January is almost always the busiest time of the year at the gyms. However, over two-thirds of the resolution crowd starts to drop off after the month of February. One of the main problems with a lot of work out routines is that they’re just too much work and not enough fun, so people quickly lose interest. What’s the solution to this problem?

According to Brother Ballard White, it’s square dancing.

Brother White, 84, of the Greenfield Ward, Alta Mesa Stake, is a retired instructor from Eastern Arizona College. He always liked to square dance, but started taking it seriously about four years ago. From Mesa to Tucson to Thatcher, there are around 14 different square dancing groups throughout Arizona with three local area chapters: the Desert Mainstreamers, the Mesa Checkmates and the Valley Single Squares, of which Brother White is a member.

“Square dancing has great physical, mental and social benefits,” says Brother White, “because you raise your heart rate, stimulate your brain and socialize with people of similar interests. And it’s some of the best cardio exercise around.”

While the majority of square dancers are retired, you can make a family affair of it, too. Many families come to square dance, because of the very family-friendly environment and the clean language and no alcohol policies.

Alex and Debbie Longoria, of the Cooley Station Ward, Higley Stake, are good friends of Ballard’s and members of the Desert Mainstreamers chapter. “Square dancing is friendship set to music,” says Brother Longoria. “The people there are fun and friendly and everyone is warmly welcomed. Square dancing is a little like going to the prom every week, too, because you get to dress up and go dance.”

For those who have never square danced before, there are Learn to Square Dance classes offered, with the next session starting on September 5, 2017. The first lesson is always free; after that, there is a nominal fee of $5 for two hours of instruction.

For more information on meet times and locations or classes, call Ballard White at 801-717-7141 or contact him at pres.vallsing2@gmail.com.

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