SUMNER, Wash. -- Did you know square dancing is the official dance of Washington state? There are over 100 square dance clubs in the state, and one of them convenes weekly in Sumner.
“If you can count to four and know your right from your left, you can square dance,” Olympia’s Amy Lu Thompson says with a wide smile.
Inside the Sumner VFW, dancers of all ages and backgrounds come together for a little piece of Americana.
“Most clubs in the state either shut down or curtail their dancing during the summer months but we’re a club who decided to keep it going!” Swingnuts Square Dance Club President Lane Johnston says proudly.
"Thursday Nite Lites" is The Swingnnuts Square Dance Club’s summer dance series.
“I love the music, I love the people. It’s always here. If you’re having a sad time you come here and it’s a happy place,” Swingnuts member Carolyn Tagles says.
Square dancing dates back to the 1800s in America.
“Sometimes it’s like working a puzzle. You're told what to do, but you have to know the definition of the call and you have to perform it once the caller indicates what maneuver he wants you to do next,” Johnston explains.
A standard formation is a "square" made of four couples. The caller calls tell the dancers to perform to the music. Your average dancer knows at least 50 calls, while your most experienced dancer knows well over 100.
“I love the fact that it’s family, that anywhere from 9 to 90, its all ages. It's inclusive," Amy Lu Thompson added.
You, too, can be a part of the 3,000 dancers in the state. Swingnuts, along with most other regional clubs, start beginner lessons in the fall.