Square-dancers gather for holidays

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
South Windsor/Enfield - posted Thu., Jan. 2, 2014
Lois and Brian Pabst were enjoying the Santa Ball-themed square dance. Photos by Lisa Stone.
Lois and Brian Pabst were enjoying the Santa Ball-themed square dance. Photos by Lisa Stone.

The South Windsor Square Dancing Club held its Santa Ball-themed dance at the Powder Mill Barn in Enfield on Dec. 27. “This is a great way to relax after all the holiday rush,” said the club’s vice president, Brian Pabst. “We are very fortunate to have Ken Ritucci. He is very well known throughout New England and beyond. He is one of the best callers there are. We also have Margene Jervis as our cuer tonight.”

Ritucci has been a caller for 37 years. He has calling schools all over the world, including in Germany, Russia, California, Alabama and Manchester, N.H. “I love what I do,” said Ritucci. “This is a great bunch of people. I schedule my classes at different times during the year so that I am able to do as much as I can.”

Ritucci was accompanied by his girlfriend, Sue Ruggiero, for this particular festive dance. A caller is someone that calls out the commands for the dancers in square dances, which are comprised of four couples of dancers that form squares. A cuer is the person that calls the steps to the dancers of round dancing, which is a huge circle of dancers that interact with each other. Jervis engaged the dancers while Ritucci took a break, and vice versa. This method kept the dancers moving all night long.

Al Rouff came from Worchester, Mass., for this dance. “I am here with my dancing partner, Mary Barrett; she is from East Hartford, Connecticut,” said Rouff. “I dance as often as I can. It has literally helped with my recovery from my recent amputation of my lower left leg this past July.” Rouff had his surgery due to complications from an infection in his left foot. “The doctors told me that I am responding so well because I have been dancing for so long. That helped strengthen my muscles and keep me healthy, so I was able to make a quicker and better recovery. I left the hospital on September 12 and one week later, I was calling a dance. Many people helped set my stuff up and get me ready to call. It is like a family with square dancing.”

Mike Mosely has been dancing for 14 years. “I have my medical issues,” said Mosely. “I have to use a portable oxygen tank, but I am still dancing. I have a back-up dancer ready to fill in for me if I am not able to continue the dance, but I am still out there.” According to Mosely, dancing is what keeps him going strong. At 84 years young, Mosely attributes his determination to years of dancing.

Dorothy Robitaille of Enfield sat down for a quick break with her friend, Joan Davis. “I will be 92 this February,” said Robitaille. “This brown hair is my natural color. I keep young by being active, and dancing is the best way to do that.”

The South Windsor Square Dance Club meets at Powder Mill every second and fourth Friday of the month. For information, call 860-659-1719 or go online to http://fhrick.net/SWSDC/SWSDC.htm.

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