The Bows and Beaus Square Dance Club, a local singles and couples square dance club based in Los Altos, is kicking off its 50th anniversary this year with two free beginner classes this month.
The club saw 40 newcomers from Los Altos, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Cupertino and even San Francisco at this week's first free class, which was held in Loyola Elementary School on Monday evening.
Since its start in Mountain View in 1963, Bows and Beaus has aimed to bring together folks from throughout Santa Clara County through square dancing. According to Doris Livezey, current president of Bows and Beaus, the club has 82 regular club members and offers various classes for dancers of all levels. Both single dancers and couples are encouraged to attend.
"A friend suggested I go with her to a class," said Livezey, recalling her introduction to the club five years ago. "Because I am always willing to try new things, I went. And I got hooked!"
Many new dancers seemed to show the same energy at the first free class on Monday evening, Jan. 21. The music plunked and dance partners laughed and smiled their way through newly-learned "do-si-dos" and "promenades."
The club sees square dancing as a unique social event, where old friends or total strangers can meet, exercise and socialize all at the same time.
"Working together as a team of four couples, everyone enjoying the music and camaraderie, bonds people," says Lee Vojvoda, who has danced with her husband in the Bows and Beaus club for almost four years.
Couples dance in a square formation while reacting to a set of "calls," or specific dance moves the group has previously been taught, as they are announced by the caller.
"Beginning is easy, and it is fun to put the calls together," says Tom Haines, 15-year member and former vice president of the club.
Bows and Beaus also hosts parties, or "hoedowns," on weekends, organizes larger functions with other local square dancing clubs, and coordinates a variety of social events for club members throughout the year.
"Everybody says we have the best club," Livezey says. "I am inclined to believe it."
A free introductory square dancing class at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27, at Loyola Elementary School, 770 Berry Ave., Los Altos. More information is at www.bowsandbeaus.org.