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    May 11
    Dark. No dance.

    May 25
    Terry Halley, caller
    Ken Prattt, cuer

    The Checkerboard Squares dance at the Rockwood Grange, located at 183rd and Southeast Stark Street between the Taco Time restaurant and the Motel 6 in Gresham, Ore. Admission: $5 for non-members.

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Elvis Sighting Expected at Fifth Friday Dance

I’m debating whether I should attend the Portland Area Council’s Fifth Friday dance on July 30. Instead, I could mow my lawn. Or empty the dishwasher. Or vacuum. Just kidding. I definitely plan to go…I try to never miss a Fifth Friday Dance. These dances usually feature the area’s best callers and cuers. They usually are well-attended, meaning excitement on the dance floor and meeting new people. And refreshments are tasty.

Mark Wheeler will be calling this dance at the Oak Grove Community Center. You know Mark–the caller with the infectious grin and twinkle in his eye– signalling mischief, perhaps?

I got to eat lunch one afternoon with Mark and his delightful wife, Enid, at the Pendleton Summer Festival. (Enid, by the way, is the new PAC treasurer.) We discussed calling…and his love for impersonating Elvis Presley. Yes, we’ve all heard that an Elvis sighting is in store this Friday. But there’s more to Mark Wheeler’s calling than just dressing and singing as Elvis. A lot more. He’s one of the Portland area’s newer callers, an up-and-comer who is fun to square dance to. And he just keeps getting better and better.

He started to learn calling in 2006 when he attended Darryl Clendenin’s Circle 8 Callers College. This past summer, he attended the intermediate callers’ college. In 2008, he became club co-caller for the Country Capers, along with Janet Shannon. The Capers just happen to dance at the Rockwood Grange, too–the same place the Checkerboard Squares dance.

And Mark Wheeler truly is musical–beyond being a caller. He is a key member of his church’s worship band.

Also this Friday, Tami Helms will cue rounds. The Country Capers will serve refreshments. (I hope it’s ice cream!)

July 30 will be the only Fifth Friday dance for the rest of 2010. October’s dance is cancelled in favor of a Tri-Council dance on Saturday. December’s dance falls on New Year’s Eve, and in deference to the many clubs that put on their own special New Year’s Eve dances, the PAC decided to cancel its dance.

So this Friday could be one of the larger dances of the summer. ..if we leave the mowing, dishes and vacuuming for another day and turn out.

Cowboy Day At L.L. ‘Stub’ Stewart Park to Include Square Dancing

I was listening to the KEX morning news today when I heard the word “square dancing” in a news report. Those words seldom appear in the media (unfortunately), so my interest was piqued.

Turns out that the new L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park between Banks and Vernonia is celebrating its third annual “Cowboy Day” on July 24 (this Saturday). As the newscaster listed events taking place during the day, he mentioned square dancing.

After some sleuthing, I learned that the Sunset Promenaders from Hillsboro will be doing a demo dance at 1:30 p.m. to the calling of Harold Kleve. The club is hoping to attract new members. Good for the Sunset Promenaders—getting out there and showing off the fun of our sport!

A day at the park might be a great way to enjoy the sunshine we’re to have this Saturday. If you have no other plans, why not turn out and support the Promenaders? And watch the horse drill team, dancing horses and old west re-enacters that will also contribute to the festivities.

The Forest Grove newspaper wrote a nice article about the Promenaders’ participation in the Cowboy Day: “Square dancers to kick up their heels at park.”  You can read the story by clicking on the link below.

Story

The park also offers 20 miles of trails, a day use area ($5 fee) and camping.

K.C. Curtis to Call at August Checkerboard Dance

My aunt, a former square dancer, said the singing calls are what she misses most about square dancing. Anyone who loves singing calls is in for a treat at the Checkerboard Squares’ dance this Saturday, Aug. 14.  K.C. Curtis will be calling. Curtis has one of the nicest singing voices around.

When the Checkerboards visited Curtis’ club, the Toe Draggers, last year, they enjoyed the interaction between Curtis and cuer Bev Flint. Humor and energy abounded. Flint will accompany Curtis at the Checkerboard’s dance this weekend, promising a fun dance.

K.C. Curtis is the caller adviser to the Tualatin Valley Council. He is also a member of the Wild Cards. He has called for the Toe Draggers at Kinton Grange since January 2006.

The Checkerboard Squares dance at the Rockwood Grange, 183rd and Southeast Stark in Gresham. The Grange Hall is air conditioned. Rounds begin at 7:30 p.m.; the square dance begins at 8 p.m. Refreshments are served at 10 p.m. Summer dances are casual, but dancers are welcome to wear traditional square dance attire if they wish to do so.

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