It’s Hip to Be Square


I had polio as a baby and, as a result, I am about 90 per cent paralyzed on my left side. One activity I thoroughly enjoy is square dancing.

While my husband and I we were taking lessons, the instructor or “caller” noticed that a couple of moves were almost impossible for me to do because I cannot raise my left arm. He was quick to teach me some alternate moves. A few weeks after we graduated, our “angels” (a square dance couple that helps and mentors a new couple) gave me a badge that said “No Twilling, Please.” This would let other dancers know that I could not do moves that involved twilling with my left arm.

It was not until I started to travel to other clubs throughout Nova Scotia that I became aware of just how many people in the square dance community have some form of disability – and how many ways there are to adapt the activity. For dancers with hearing loss, a caller uses an FM system. I have also danced in a square with a blind lady. And there are several clubs across the continent of square dancers who use wheelchairs.

Square dancing is beneficial to one’s physical health. And there are emotional benefits to be gained from the fellowship of the community. It increases longevity. It also gets you out of the house with your partner, doing something together.

Well, I must go now. I hear the music starting to play, and I hear the caller saying we need another couple in the back of the hall. Happy dancing!


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