Kettle Squares has been active in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin continually since 1975.
The purpose of our club is to encourage and promote fun and good friendship thru square dancing.
The Kettle Squares was organized in 1975 by a group of teachers. Dorothy Willers, a gym teacher, and Wayne Havey, a Sheboygan Falls High School teacher/later principal, wanted to form a club of square dancers. Starting out with an introductory set of lessons at the Sheboygan Falls Elementary & Middle School gym, with caller Ralph Everson of Two Rivers as the instructor, a good share of the participants were teachers. As the 11 couples became more interested, they formed the Kettle Squares.
In square dance clubs, unless a member is single, offices are held by couples. Therefore, Don and Janet Klemme were elected the first presidents. Charter members of the club include Evelyn (and the late Wayne) Havey, Roland and Veronica Gilles, Don and Mary Ann Otte, Gary (and the late Judy) Henderson, Klemmes, and Tom and Pat Pibal.
The club grew to include members from virtually every walk of life and with it grew each dancer's circle of friends and acquaintances. And with that in mind, square dancing lends itself ideally to a celebration: the dancers are a party waiting to happen. Over the years that the club has been in existence, the Kettle Squares have danced at countless anniversaries, weddings and birthdays. The club has attended sad occasions as well, such as funerals, where of course, nobody danced.
The club has danced in several halls: the Croatian Hall in Sheboygan, Lyceum Hall in Plymouth, the Plymouth YMCA, Fairview Elementary School in Plymouth, and presently at the cafeteria in Plymouth High School with occasional dances at Parkview Elementary School, Plymouth.
The club keeps active in the community with a float in parades, and doing exhibition dancing at occasional special events. One of the former members, Frieda Heckmann, lead our group for a number of years at nursing homes in the Sheboygan County area. We danced an exhibition from records, and she did simple calls for square dancing with the residents in wheelchairs. The residents loved getting pushed around in a square by dancers and volunteers.
Various aspects of square dancing have changed in recent years and can be seen at our club's dances. Women's attire now includes longer, more comfortable prairie skirts, as well as occasionally slacks. The music is a mix of country, rock n roll and contemporary songs that are upbeat and easy to dance to. Also square dancing is seen as a form of aerobic exercise that can be enjoyed by young and old, married or single.
What hasn't changed is the fun reflected in smiles and laughter throughout an evening of dancing.
It's such a great activity! "We have one of the best-kept secrets in the country", states square dancer Ron Mueller of Sheboygan. If we can get people to try it once, they find out how much fun it is! He cited several misconceptions:Dancers perform in exhibitions as a main activity or for competition. Actually it is done sporadically, on a volunteer basis. (There is no competition.)Square dancing requires expensive clothes. False. Comfortable shoes, a long-sleeved shirt for men, and a comfortable full or prairie skirt or slacks for the ladies will suffice.Dancing is only done to country western music. Again false. Pop, polkas, show tunes, spirituals, as well as many familiar songs are sung as square dance music.Admission is expensive. Not so, the admission per person per night is less than half the price of a movie. Refreshments are potluck.It will be like classes in school. The difference is a live caller, spontaneous hash, and a variety of music.
1. Social Aspects – Square Dancing & Contra Dancing are great ways to meet people in a non-threatening, relaxed social atmosphere. You never know who you are gong to meet. Lifelong friendships are formed, and many have met the love of their life. There are clubs for singles, couples, the handicapable, gays & lesbians, campers, and youth, although usually everybody is welcome at all clubs.
2. Healthy Environment – Square Dance, Round Dance & Contra Dance clubs are smoke and alcohol free.
3. Stress Relief – Since these 3 dance forms, Square Dancing, Round Dancing, & Contra Dancing, are all led by a leader giving commands, you become so focused on the “task at hand” that your other mental worries are forgotten, at least for a couple of hours.
4. Cardiovascular Fitness – Dancing is a safe way to exercise. The level of exertion is up to each participant. You can rev it up for a high intensity workout or take it easy for a relaxing, yet beneficial workout. Dancing regularly can lead to a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and an improved cholesterol profile.
5. Body & Brain Boost – Square, Round, & Contra dancers react to calls as they are given. This forces the body and brain to be tightly coordinated. A number of the calls are memorized which keeps the brain sharp.
6. Calorie Burn – Dancing burns between 200 and 400 calories every 30 minutes of dancing. That’s equivalent to walking or riding a bike.
7. Distance – The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends 10,000 steps per day to maintain physical fitness. It is estimated that a typical square dancer can expect to clock 9,000 to 10,000 steps per dance.
8. Sturdy Bones – The side to side movements of dancing strengthen weight-bearing bones, tibia, fibula, and femur, and help prevent the slow loss of bone mass.
9. Rehabilitation – Dancing is a way to get back in the swing of things if you are recovering from an injury. Dancing keeps your joints moving, and is nice alternative to jogging or other high-intensity activities.
10. Mental Health – Studies have shown that activities that involve both physical mental activity at the same time help to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
11. Balance – Studies have shown that adults who have a history of activities such as dance, tend to have less incidents of falling as they get older.
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