By Gabriel Monte: Freedom New Mexico
David and Alyse Josiwak danced on their first date 39 years ago. About 15 years ago the couple learned ballroom dancing. They spent Saturday afternoon twirling, promenading and dosidoing.
In a seamless transition of figure eights, they switched with six other dancers in the Baxter-Curren Senior Center dance hall but still ended up with each other.
Unlike most dancers on the floor, the Josiwaks, who live in Roswell, are new to square dancing, having learned two years ago when they moved from Iowa.
They took up square dancing when they moved to Roswell because they couldn’t find a venue for ballroom dancing.
So they swapped their suits and gowns for promenade dresses and cowboy boots to learn square dancing.
“It’s good energy, and it keeps your brain going,” said Alyse. “It’s just an easy way to meet really close friends.”
The couple are members of a Roswell square dance club that met other clubs in Clovis for a big dance.
The Clovis club, the Circle Eights, hosted the event for clubs from Roswell, Portales, Carlsbad, Farwell and Melrose. The chapters meet four times a year for a big dance, according to Baxter-Curren Treasurer Johnnie Smith.
Smith said the club gives square dance lessons at the senior center to anyone who is interested. She said they meet every first and third Saturday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“Anyone over 18 can come and learn to square dance,” said Smith, who learned square dancing in the 1970s.
Circle Eight member Dorene Weigl of Portales said a square dance is a group of four pairs of dancers who start in a circle and dance to country music while a caller choreographs their moves.
David said square dancing doesn’t involve as much memorization of moves, but it requires the dancer to pay attention.
“It’s not as difficult as it looks,” he said. “There’s a lot of repetition and learning basic moves. It’s like riding a bicycle — once you’ve got it, you’ve got it.”