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The Weyburn Old Time Dance Club will be holding the last dance of their season on April 29, which just so happens to coincide with International Dance Day. The club, which was established about 60 years ago, typically holds events once a month from October to April.
The club has a long history in the community of Weyburn, a town with a population of 10,679, according to the 2016 census. It’s unclear when exactly the club was founded, but Ron Klein, the club’s treasurer, joined in 1964.
The evenings of dance are “an opportunity for people to get together and socialize,” said Klein. “We get to know each other quite well. It becomes a family.”
Patrons enjoy a variety of old-time styles at the dances, including waltzes, polkas, two-steps and jives. The music, which is always live, will be provided this time by a band called The Two Stepps.
“I’m very fortunate to have a life partner who enjoys dancing as much as I do,” Klein commented, referring to his wife, Josie. “We try to dance wherever we can, whenever we can, even in our own living room.… We just love dancing.” The two started dating and dancing together in 1964, the same year they joined the Weyburn Old Time Dance Club.
“I’ve been dancing pretty much all my life.… I grew up doing the German polka,” said Betty Pond, a member of the club’s executive committee. “I’m 85 now, and I’m still dancing.” Pond was introduced to the dance club 22 years ago when she moved to Weyburn. The polka remains her favourite dance style.
“I’ve got lots of good memories of dancing,” said Pond. She laughed while recalling the disappointment of her first dance event as a child: “I was so excited,” she remembered. “And that day at school, I got a black eye and I had to stay home.”
Klein has also been dancing from a young age. “Mom and Dad were dancers and they taught us kids to dance while we were still at home,” he said.
This season has seen an average of 40 to 50 people dancing at the club’s monthly events. Door fees have been keeping the club afloat, but the group has been facing rising expenses. “We have applied for a grant … to offset some of our costs,” said Klein. Some similar clubs in Saskatchewan have not been able to survive. “That’s happening more and more, so there are very few dance clubs left,” Klein remarked.
Beyond the upcoming dance event, the organizers are looking ahead to the next season starting in October.
“We’ve already got the dates for next year, and the bands are already booked for next year as well,” said Klein.
The club hopes that old-time dance styles will live on for generations to come.
“We’re encouraging all ages to come and dance,” said Klein. “We’re trying to get more younger people involved. We don’t want to give this old-time dancing up.”
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