Get ready for a Halloween hoedown

Promenade down to the "Boo" grass scare dance For a Great old Time

  • Oct. 26, 2011 8:00 p.m.
Craig Marcuk will be calling the 'boo' grass Scare Dance this Saturday at Kirk Hall

Craig Marcuk will be calling the 'boo' grass Scare Dance this Saturday at Kirk Hall

By Mary Ellen Green

arts@mondaymag.com

 

Grab a partner and do-si-do your way down to St. Andrew’s Kirk Hall for a hoedown Halloween with the “Boo”grass Scare Dance.

A group of young oldtime and bluegrass musicians in town are trying to scare up support for the square dancing movement, beginning with a Halloween dance for all ages.

“I think people have these memories of being a sweaty-palmed 16-year-old in the school gym for their first square dance, but we want to show young people that square dancing is really fun,” says event organizer Damian Ritchie, fiddle player from local bluegrass/oldtime band The Stowaways.

Ritchie, along with bandmate Colin Boland (vocals, guitar), attended the Portland Oldtime Music Gathering where the traditional folk dance is a major part of the week’s events. The square dancing scene is alive and well with young adults in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, says Ritchie.

“There were hundreds of people and pretty girls everywhere,” says Boland. “And so many of them had that old-timey sparkle in their eyes.”

Ritchie was inspired to organize the event after attending a dance at the B.C. Bluegrass Workshop in Sorrento with Shanti Bremer, banjo player with the Sweet Lowdown. “We were talking about how great it would be to revitalize the square dancing scene in town and one of us said ‘boograss,’ then the other said ‘scare dance.’ Then we realized that with a name like that we just had to do it.”

The evening will feature live high energy acoustic music by four local bands; The Stowaways, The Moonshiners, The Sweet Lowdown and The Sirens, as well as an open jam. Callers from the mainland and the Island will be in attendance to teach each dance before it begins.

“The movement is fun and not too serious,” says Craig Marcuk, who’s been calling dances for the last year. “If you screw up, no worries, just wait and it will start all over again.”

Marcuk says square dancing is also good for the body, mind and spirit. “You get your body moving, your mind is challenged and your spirit is lifted when you’re dancing with people from all generations.”

Ritchie agrees. “Once you’ve been in a square, suddenly you have seven new friends. It’s kind of like riding a chairlift together, but totally different,” he says with a chuckle.

But square dancing is no stranger to Victoria. In fact, the oldest continuously dancing club in Canada is right here and is about to celebrate its 60th anniversary, says Lorne Clayton, caller for The Mavericks Square Dance Club. “There are about 10 clubs in town and dances happening at least a couple nights a week.”

Bert Buckley, treasurer of the established Country Cousins Square Dance Club says membership is on the decline. “One of the problems we’re facing right now is that there’s no club in town for the 30-year-olds. If you look at most of the clubs in town, the membership is mostly in their 50s, 60s and 70s.”

But that is about to change. Ritchie and his cohorts are working to establish the Young Oldtime Dance and Music Association, which is hosting jams at the Solstice Cafe every Wednesday night from 6 to 9 p.m. all winter long. They’re hoping to raise enough money with the scare dance to host three dances a year. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Juno-winning Toronto dub poet Lillian Allen is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2021. (Photo courtesy Karen Lee)
Juno-winning dub poet is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet this year

Lillian Allen will present online lecture, reading and Q-and-A

James Summer, the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

Most Read