Get Active And Socialize In Cedar City With Square Dancing Classes At Aquatic Center
Are you dealing with a little bit of the winter blues after the holiday season? Looking for something to give you a little activity this time of year? Looking to meet new people to associate with? Well, the Hey Cedar Square Dance Club might be able to help out.
Pat Matthews joined us on the radio this morning to let us know that beginning square dance classes are starting on Thursday, January 11th. The class will be held at the Cedar City Aquatic Center at 6:30PM Thursday evening for twelve to fourteen weeks. The cost is $4.00 per person per class.
Square dancing is a traditional American dance form that has been enjoyed for generations, and its benefits extend beyond just the physical aspects of dancing. Engaging in square dancing provides a range of social, mental, and physical advantages that contribute to overall well-being.
Pat began square dancing in high school, but after going to college he took a break from the activity. In 1993, he got back in to square dancing and has been going ever since. After he started dancing again, Matthews told us, “about a year in to it, the existing callers that were there asked me if I ever about becoming a caller. They had me take over and it was amazing.”
It's not just the Hey Cedar club that Matthews is involved in. Monday nights, Matthews call dances for the Rubicks Cube Square Dance Club which is made up of area youth and Matthews said the youth “have a ball.”
From a physical standpoint, square dancing offers an enjoyable way to stay active and healthy. The dance involves a combination of walking, swinging, and twirling, promoting cardiovascular fitness and enhancing coordination. Participants often find that square dancing is a low-impact exercise that can be easily adapted to different fitness levels, making it accessible to people of all ages. Matthews told us that in just one dance, participants can get in the recommended 4,000 steps a person should have in a day.
Moreover, square dancing is a social activity that fosters a sense of community and connection among participants. Team work is essential in square dancing. Matthews said, “they all have to work together to have success. In order to achieve what the caller is asking them to do, they can't be thinking I'm not going to dance with (someone). They have to dance with everyone.”
A dance is typically performed in a square formation, with four couples interacting with each other in a coordinated manner. This setup encourages teamwork, communication, and cooperation, as dancers work together to create a harmonious and synchronized performance. The shared experience of dancing in a square fosters a sense of camaraderie and helps build lasting friendships.
Mentally, square dancing requires participants to engage in constant mental stimulation. Dancers must listen to calls from a caller, remember choreography, and respond quickly to changes in the dance routine. This mental agility contributes to cognitive health and can be particularly beneficial for older adults in maintaining sharpness and memory.
But be aware, sometimes Matthews will put that mental agility to the test. I asked him if he ever calls out things just to mess up the dancer to which he replied, “absolutely!”
If you think square dancing is fading out of the public mindset, you might find it interesting that according to Matthews, if you are willing to travel a bit you can square dance every night in Utah.
Matthews has danced as far away as Washington, D.C. Square dancing is also taking on an international feel. In 2016, some 50,000 people gathered to square dance in China. But if you do dance in another country, you won't get lost. Matthews told us that no matter where you are in the world, square dance calls are made in English.
To find out more about the class or to get signed up, call Matthews at 435-233-5910.
You can listen to (most of) our visit with Pat Matthews below.
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Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll