Fancy footwork was on display in Botha this weekend as dance enthusiasts began the fall season in style at the Community Hall.
The Botha Old-Tyme Dance Club hosted its monthly gathering on Sunday, Sept. 28, attracting a crowd with live music and a potluck supper.
Club president Doug Haustein said the repertoire includes waltzes, polkas, foxtrots and old-fashioned pattern dancing.
“Any of the old, traditional-style dances,” he said. “We try to keep it alive.”
Haustein said attendees will come from all directions for an afternoon on the dance floor. The club regularly attracts guests from as far away as Red Deer, Camrose, Drumheller, Veteran, Sedgewick and even Hardisty.
The regular meetings are usually organized with a theme in mind, followed by a potluck meal and always accompanied by a live band.
September’s meeting featured a fall harvest theme. Music was provided by Black Velvet, a four-piece band based in the Delburne area.
The club’s attendance is healthy, as its monthly meetings commonly draw between 60 and 80 people. That said, Haustein added that the club would like to see some younger members join.
“Younger attendants, for us, would be anybody age 50 and less,” he said.
Club events are alcohol-free, so families, teenagers and older kids with an interest in dancing would be welcome, said Haustein.
The club bills itself as a warm group, as evidenced by its slogan: “The Friendliest Little Dance Club on the Prairies.”
Novice dancers shouldn’t shy away, said Haustein, adding that members are often willing to help by demonstrating the stepsfor the pattern dances.
He said the benefits of dancing are ample, summarizing them with the words “exercise, socialize and memorize.”
Dance is a form of physical activity, and it’s also a chance to get out, see old friends and make new ones, but it can also be helpful for the mind, said Haustein.
“You’ve got to keep memorizing how these patterns go,” he explained. “It’s good exercise for the mind, too.”
Haustein and his wife, Bernadette, have been part of the club for almost 20 years, while club secretary Fran Clark has been involved from the beginning, three decades ago.
She said she still appreciates the camaraderie, the music — “which we think is the best” — and the food served at the potlucks.
Clark said the club’s mission is to keep the classic styles of dancing alive, and part of that is teaching them to younger generations.
“Now we’re trying to get people who are younger to realize that there is a social life out here,” she explained.
The Botha club generally meets the last Sunday of each month. The next meeting is Sunday, Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m. at the Community Hall, with a Halloween theme.
The Nov. 30 meeting will have a Christmas theme, while the final meeting of the year will be on New Year’s Eve with a catered meal. Guests are asked to purchase their tickets for that meeting in advance.
For more information, contact Haustein at 403-742-3994 or Clark at 403-574-2197.