Anne Christie (left)

Anne Christie (left)

Lakecity square dancers kick up their heels at jamboree in Japan

Two square dancers from Williams Lake were invited to attend a square dance jamboree in Japan this summer.

In early July,  Betz Ratch, an experienced square dancer, and Anne Christie, who had just completed her first season with the Williams Lake Square Dance Club, were invited to attend a square dance jamboree in Japan.

They were met at the Narita airport by Betz’s friend Kazuto who took them to the Shimura Square Dance Party in Tokyo the next day.

At this dance the callers were all Japanese and although square dance calls are always in English throughout the world, some were much easier to understand than others.

After the dance there was a fun evening at an Izakaya (Japanese pub-style eatery) where all sat on the floor on tatami mats and sampled many new foods including lotus root and skate fin.

After touring Tokyo, Anne and Betz travelled to Nakano and stayed with Kazuto and family. His house has been the ancestral family home for 160 years and is a traditional style with a thick thatched roof.

Anne and Betz enjoyed seeing the snow monkeys cavorting in hot springs and Matsumoto Castle.

Returning to the dance scene, Anne and Betz attended the 35th Nagano Apple Squares Shiga Summer Jamboree.  It was north of Nagano, the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Betz enjoyed visiting with Nagano Apple Square members who she had met on a previous visit.

This was Anne’s first visit to Japan, and because she had only been dancing for one year so she was nervous at first. However, she found everyone very helpful and accommodating.

“We loved seeing all the colourful and creative dance outfits, and admired the graceful round dancers,” Anne and Betz commented.

“Square Dance caller, Jerry Story, from Iowa, and Mac O’Jima, from Sendai Japan, and other guest callers were lively and fun.”

They also said a favourite highlight of the trip was participating in a ceremonial lighting of a campfire followed by singing, folk dancing, square dancing, fireworks and sparklers.

“It was truly magical!” they said.

The remainder of their visit was spent in Kyoto enjoying a festival and parade and touring many historic temples, shrines and beautiful gardens.  One day was spent in Nara and the giant Buddha was much admired.

Back home in Williams Lake, Anne and Betz commented: “We found the Japanese to be extremely gracious and hospitable and they were constantly taking our picture, giving us gifts and buying our meals. They also stopped to help if we looked lost, which was a good thing because we did take the wrong train on our fourth day, and travelled an hour in the wrong direction! “

Square dancing is definitely a good way to have fun, and meet lots of people.

Anne and Betz encourage Williams Lake residents to join the fun and try today’s style of square dancing.  For more information, videos, and a poster, check out the Williams Lake Square Dance web site at or phone 250-392-2432.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Tribune file photo)
Roses to Good Samaritans who helped me during theft

It restores one’s faith in human nature

Maggie Ferguson continues to deliver pet food to communities in B.C’s Central Interior and North. She hopes to make things easier by eventually purchasing a truck and trailer through fundraising efforts. (Perfect Pastures Animal Sanctuary Facebook photo)
From Delta with love, Maggie Ferguson helps northern pet owners with food

Animal sanctuary owner leads efforts in delivering thousands of pounds of pet food

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale, owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

A student from Dawson Creek is the winner of Tolko’s Orange Shirt Day design contest for 2021. (Tolko photo)
Tolko contest features northern winner

Student from Dawson Creek beats out entries Canadawide for Orange Shirt Day design contest win

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility’s COVID-10 outbreak has been declared over by Interior Health. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID outbreak at Vernon’s Noric House declared over

10 deaths were linked to the outbreak at long-term care facility

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)

Most Read