September 2012 is Square Dance Month in New Jersey. Gov. Chris Christie issued the proclamation in recognition of the popular dance form, which has been the official folk dance of New Jersey since 1983. New Jersey is home to dozens of square dance clubs, including Caldwell's Cross Trail Squares.
“Square dancing provides the benefits of healthy exercise and social interaction,” reads the Governor’s proclamation. “People of all backgrounds and ages—adults, young people, couples, singles and families—come together to share in the fun of participating in one of the most traditional American dance forms.”
Square dancing is following a pattern created by a caller who tells the dancers which step to do next. The music has evolved to include genres such as country, Broadway show tunes, movie themes, rock, classical, folk, and more. Some dancers choose to wear traditional outfits, while others prefer western wear, prairie skirts, or everyday clothing. In addition to plain old fun, square dancing keeps people of all ages physically limber and mentally active.
Many square dance clubs in New Jersey offer inexpensive weekly lessons. Cross Trail Squares who dance at the Grover Cleveland Middle School have a free lesson on Thursday, Sept. 20, followed by a 12-week session starting Sept. 27. Classes are held in Grover Cleveland Middle School from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Generally, newcomers can start participating in “Mainstream” club dances after about 12 lessons. The cost for an evening of dancing is usually about $5 per person and includes an array of tempting refreshments.
Square dancing offers an ideal theme for vacation travel at square dance resorts, conventions, cruises, and clubs throughout the world, all of which provide ready-made camaraderie through sharing American-style square dancing. The calls are always in English.
Caldwell's sessions are being sponsored by Caldwell-West Caldwell Recreation and Cross Trail Squares. To obtain more information visit www.crosstrailsquares.org.