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Square dancing at the Tractor Tavern

Read the article below from the Seattle Times -- this is not your ho-hum old folks dancing!! They have live music, with callers that will help you to learn the steps, and alcohol is always good!! Come and join us for a fun night of dancing and exercise. Swing your partner and get a fun workout. Cost is only $7. 

By Nicole Tsong Special to The Seattle Times

SQUARE DANCING as an adult is no less awkward than it is in middle school; palms are still sweaty, there’s confusion during the do-si-do, and people still step on your feet.

The good thing about adult square dancing, at least at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard, is it involves live music by The Tallboys, occasional partners highly skilled at twirling and some yeehaws.

The best and the worst thing about square dancing is that square dancing requires very little technique. It helps to be able to follow directions, but even that isn’t completely necessary. The result is people of all ages and skill levels show up at the Tractor’s square-dance nights — though the crowd does skew young.

If you want time to get accustomed to steps, go earlier in the evening. The caller walks you through each dance, but earlier there’s more space for squares.

As I stood in a group of four couples, I had flashbacks to middle school, from the awkwardness of finding a partner to doing different steps as the caller walked us through dances including “Divide the Ring” and “Down the Line.” I relearned how to swing, remembered who my corner was and got turned around every time we had to promenade.

I quickly learned that a partner skilled at twirling was key; they guarantee your dance is fun no matter what. I also learned that if your partner wasn’t the best twirler, chances are your corner or someone else in the group was, so I could get my fix and spin really, really fast.

As more people showed up, it turned into square dancing, body-slam style. I got stepped on. I stepped on people. If people in the square got turned around, we enthusiastically redirected them. It’s a confusing, hilarious mishmash.

As the night went on, dance moves got more complicated, like when four of us had to grab left hands in the center, go to the right, add right hands, and go to the left. One partner, Andrew, showed us how to put our foot in the center to twirl super fast. That got exciting.

I beefed up my square-dancing vocabulary and moves, adding back in the do-si-do and the allemande. Not that I think anyone really noticed if we got it right anyway.

Caller Gabe kept it fun, throwing in a Seahawks-themed dance where we created “impenetrable walls” of six dancers, snarled at each other and wove through each other like wide receiver Percy Harvin.

People come with friends, but it’s easy enough to grab a partner and dance, and to keep dancing. This is not the place to get attached to dancing technique, though it is fun to dance with someone with some flair.

The Tractor also is an ideal venue for a square dance, with its old-timey feel and cowboy décor. People came dressed the part, with lots of plaid and cowboy boots around the room.

Square dancing gets sweaty, fast. You can make it as active as you want, dancing every time or taking breaks in between dances to let others jump into the fray. The room’s enthusiasm is contagious; I didn’t want to stop. I bounced through every dance, grinning and laughing.

Square dancing is messy, it’s sweaty and a little wild. It’s a great way to move, but getting activity in is almost secondary. Go because it’s fun.

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  • meg

    I had a lot of fun -- bummer it was on a work night -- would have loved to stay later, but am definitely going back !!

    April 30, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Is anyone here yet? I just got here and the door is locked...maybe im at the wrong entrance?

    April 28, 2014

    • meg

      No, they just posted won't start til 8 :-(

      April 28, 2014

  • Zinnia

    I'm hoping I will show. Sometimes it's taking the bus that makes me no show, but, I love dancing with squares. It takes one to know one.

    April 28, 2014

    • meg

      Hope you can come. I'm coming from everett if you need a ride.

      April 28, 2014

    • meg

      Shoot me a text at[masked]

      April 28, 2014

  • Tammye Read w.

    nursing a sciatica

    April 27, 2014

    • meg

      Ouch -- hope it gets better !! Rest, ice and anti-inflammatories.

      April 27, 2014

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