Swing your partner ’round and ’round

Wagon Wheelers provide fun, fellowship with square dancing

Steve Rutherford, Cecilia Milner, Elaine Moon, Gene Moon, Mark Bohling and Sandra Bohling get ready to take a turn around the floor at the Wagon Wheelers weekly dance.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Steve Rutherford, Cecilia Milner, Elaine Moon, Gene Moon, Mark Bohling and Sandra Bohling get ready to take a turn around the floor at the Wagon Wheelers weekly dance.

Elaine Moon and Mark Bohling twist and turn on the dance floor.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Elaine Moon and Mark Bohling twist and turn on the dance floor.

Imogene Newcomer and Sandra Bohling take a turn around the square.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Imogene Newcomer and Sandra Bohling take a turn around the square.

Pamela McLemore, Mike Milneer, Cecilia Milneer and John Muldowny take a break from dancing to enjoy the food at the Wagon Wheelers square dancing special event at Greenbelt Park.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Pamela McLemore, Mike Milneer, Cecilia Milneer and John Muldowny take a break from dancing to enjoy the food at the Wagon Wheelers square dancing special event at Greenbelt Park.

It is Tuesday evening at the Theatre in the Greenbelt Park. Everyone is enjoying a wonderful picnic and will soon be participating in the western style square dancing lessons that follow.

The group regularly meets at the Springbrook Gym on Dalton Street in Alcoa at 7 p.m. Thirty to forty friends are gathering for this special event to enjoy an evening embraced in fun and fellowship. This is western square dancing night with the Wagon Wheelers, who have held weekly dances since 1956.

All of us need those special times when we are relieved of life’s tensions and responsibilities, an evening filled with laughter and good music. The melodic voice of the caller fills the hall with his baritone songs, smooth as silk, giving direction to the dancing couples. The “orchestra” is an old 78 record player with a fine speaker system.

Allen and Joann Tipton, who have been calling and teaching square dancing for more than 50 years, are nationally known and have called dances from coast to coast. Just coming to hear Allen sing is worth the investment of the evening. The age of the dancers spans the gamut, with experience ranging from new students in Main Stream dancing to advanced couples with 50 years of foot work. Some of the members danced in years past before joining the Wagon Wheelers. Others had little or no dance experience. With the experienced instruction and careful eyes of the Tiptons, all are soon mastering the steps of the calls.

Not only is the atmosphere one of fun and friendship, but square dancing mandates mental agility and physical exertion. When the music is attended by the calls of the next steps, there is not time for mental respites. Seven other people in the square are depending upon you to do your part.

A class for new dancers began on Tuesday, Aug. 25. The club holds dances every Tuesday night. The newcomers practice for aboutt ten months before graduating. Experienced dancers are also always welcome. The class dances from 7 and 8 and the experienced members continue to dance until 9:30 p.m.

The public is invitd to join this smoke-, drug- and alcohol-free tradition of fun, fellowship, mental agility and physical activity for $4 per person per night. For more information, call 865-982-9924.

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