Arms open wide, Florence Quigley approaches beginners who come for square dancing lessons.
Yellow rock. It's the first thing you need to know about square dancing, she says, hugging her new dance partner.
For the past 26 years, Quigley, of Loudonville, has been do-si-do-ing with the Latham Circle Squares, a dance club that specializes in square and ballroom dancing. The group celebrated its 50th anniversary with a dinner and dance Sunday, May 4.
The Latham Circle Squares was founded by now-91-year-old Frank Wermert, of Colonie, and Paul Witbeck, who died a few years ago. He and Witbeck, and their partners, Peg Witbeck and Eleanor Wermert, started the group because they thought it would be something people could get together and enjoy, he said.
The couples got together to dance at the Old Calvary Methodist Hall on Old Loudon Road, where each couple was asked to bring four more couples to participate. The first dance, in 1958, was so successful that the club went on to meet regularly, now twice a month.
The group has since grown to include several clubs that hail from various parts of the Capital District and beyond, according to Quigley, vice president of the group.
"We have some people here from Vermont. Some come from Massachusetts," she said.
The group dances to two different styles; ballroom and square. However, while members must know how to square dance to be in the group, they do not need to know ballroom dancing.
According to one member from the Latham chapter, interested participants attend a "Fun Day," which is a free demonstration and lesson, so they can see what it is all about. After that, if they want to be a part of the group, they are required to take 25-30 lessons before they can join.
Donna Parslow, one of the group's presidents, said that lessons are around $5 per couple. The annual membership fee, once in the club, is $25 per couple, she said.