British Columbia

Square dancing making 'major comeback' on West Coast

Square dance 'caller' and banjo player Paul Silveria says square dances can draw large crowds, sometimes of up to 500 people.

Province has declared B.C.'s first ever 'Square and Round Dance Awareness Week'

Paul Silveria says square dancing isn't all about "fancy shirts and poofy skirts" anymore. (James Frystak)

Square dance 'caller' and banjo player Paul Silveria says square dancing is making a "major comeback" on the West Coast.

As a 'caller,' Silveria announces which moves dancers should perform next, from the simple 'sashay' to the slightly more advanced 'grand chain.' He said these square dancing events regularly attract 100 to 150 people, with some festivals drawing crowds of up to 500.

He says the dances aren't all about "fancy shirts and poofy skirts" anymore, and the age of the dancers has changed too.

"They're just as many people in their 20's coming out to my dances as people in their 50's, so it kind of hits every age group and everyone is dancing together."

Square and Round Dance Awareness Week

The Provincial government has declared this week the first ever "Square and Round Dance Awareness Week."

The Vancouver Fringe Festival is holding its annual square dance night on Granville Island Monday.

Silveria said newcomers shouldn't feel intimated — while some enthusiasts do dress up for a barn dance, most dress as they would for any other night out on the town. He added anyone worried about their performance should remember square dancing is a team effort.

"Everyone's working as a group but also everyone's so focused on getting through the dance themselves that no one's going to be really focused on you."

Paul Silveria will be 'calling' the Fringe Festival's annual square dance tonight with a live band at the Big Rock Brewery Fringe Bar on Granville Island.

With files from The Early Edition

To hear the interview click on the link labeled Live square dancing 'making a big comeback' on the west coast