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Camden Hi-Steppers do-si-do for fun

Posted: October 5, 2010 3:41 p.m.
Updated: October 6, 2010 5:00 a.m.
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All the members of the Hi-Steppers pose for a quick group shot.

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The Camden Hi-Steppers are square dancing their way to a longer life, according to a Weekly World News article.
“It’s the perfect exercise,” Frank Trapp said. “It isn’t stressful on your body, but it gets you moving, you’re blood flowing,”
In the article, Dr. Aaron Blckburn said square dancing combines all the positive aspects of intense physical activity with none of the negative elements.

Trapp and his wife, Mary Ann, have been square dancing for the past 40 years, and they don’t plan on giving up the hobby anytime soon.

The couple is part of the Camden Hi-Steppers, a local square dancing club that meets at 8 p.m. every  Thursday night at the Kershaw County Recreation Department (KCRD).

The club has been in the county for 48 years -- 40 of those under KCRD.

The Trapps, along with Hi-Stepper Betty Joe Jackson, reminisced about a time when square dancing was the “in” thing.

“We had more than 100 people join our first class when we began,” Mary Ann said, “It’s not as popular as it used to be, but I think it’s coming back. We still have one of the largest clubs in the state.”

Not only are they one of the largest clubs, they are also very active in the community.

“We organize nursing home visits about once a month,” Betty Joe said. “Actually, it has gotten to where the nursing homes call us now.”

The group holds two dances every year and most recently participated in the KershawHealth Fall Festival in Elgin.

They also participate in local Christmas parades as well as host hamburger cookouts and fish frys.

“This dance is for every class of people,” Mary Ann said, “from ditch diggers to doctors and lawyers, we’re all out here to have a good time.”

Plus, she added, it isn’t hard to learn.

“At first, Frank didn’t want anything to do with dancing,” Mary Ann laughed. “I had to drag him here kicking and screaming.”

Frank didn’t disagree, but he said he was pleasantly surprised once he started dancing.

“You don’t have to have rhythm,” Frank said. “It’s more like a step-by-step process.”

The group’s motto over the years has come to be “if you can walk, you can learn to square dance.”

“And it’s true,” Frank said. “I’m a perfect example.”

“Square dancing is a good way for people to break down barriers, you know, bring them out. A person that may come in shy and reserved is dancing, laughing and having a good time by the end of the night,” he said.

Of the 65 active members of the Camden Hi-Steppers, the ages range from 16 to 91 “years young.”

Many of the members have danced in square dancing clubs all over the world, including Australia, Canada and Germany.

“No matter where you go, the calls are in English,” Mary Ann said. “It’s traditionally an American dance so that makes sense.”

The Hi-Steppers meet each Thursday night and follow basic instructions set to music from their callers Ron Rutz and Al Tarver. Classes begin tomorrow to help new dancers learn the basics. The cost is $45 per couple. Each class session lasts three months.

For more information about the classes, call Frank and Mary Trapp at 432-5902, Betty Joe Jackson at 432-9358 or KCRD at 425-6009.

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