Hundreds of dancers of all ages and skills levels enjoyed a weekend of dancing at the Williams Lake Square Dancers 61st annual jamboree.
Held up at the Longhouse above the Stampede Grounds, the three-day event saw dancers come from across the province for the ‘Call of the Canadian Wilderness’ themed event. Many camped out in campers besides the hall and all were filled with good cheer, vim and vigour.
The featured caller of the event was the golden-voiced Dustin McGifford, a longtime participant in the jamboree. His smooth voice and easy manner made for fun, fast-paced dances to music of all kinds.
Jean Wood, the president of the BC Square and Round Dance Federation from Salmon Arm, said she felt the event was a success. Wood has been square dancing since 2012 and said she originally got into it as a thing to do with her husband that got them out of the house.
“Interaction with other people, it’s a social time, the atmosphere and the music (attracts me),” Wood said.
She said that she had to respect what Mary Anne and Nick Turner, the husband and wife team at the heart of local square dancers, had done to make the weekend a success. Decorating The Longhouse was all them, Wood said, adding that “they always put on such a nice dance.”
Wood encourages people to give square dancing a try for both the social element but also the physical activity it provides. Besides, once you learn to square dance in one country you can do it anywhere in the world, she said.
Wood’s granddaughter meanwhile, Tyla Garreau, was proof that the event wasn’t just for seniors. Garreau started dancing back in September when the Williams Lake Square Dancers were offering drop-in night classes at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre.
“It’s a nice thing to do outside of school and stuff that isn’t necessarily bad,” Garreau said. “Give it a shot, you might not think it’s going to be your thing at first but it’s really fun, try it.”
The Williams Lake Square Dancers will be in attendance at the BC Festival 2019 in Salmon Arm from July 10 to 14th for four days of square dancing.