Joe Burdock believes square dancing is like a cultural melting pot.
“Square dancing is a traditional European-American dance,” Burdock, the man in charge of the square dancing social, said. “But over the years, different cultures from places like Africa and Scotland have put their own unique style on the dance.”
The rich history of square dancing will be celebrated by ARTS/West with socials the first Thursday of every month through May 3. Square dancing is a folksy form of entertainment that has blossomed in the United States, but has roots that stretch back to 15th century Europe, according to .
If You Go
What: Square dancing social
Where: ARTS/West, 132 W. State St.
When: 7 p.m., Thursday
Admission: $6 donation
Burdock has always enjoyed square dancing and wants to share his love for it with the residents of Athens.
“I lived in Louisville for awhile and a good friend of mine thought we should try and hold square dancing socials,” he said. “It went really well so I’m hoping I’ll have a similar turnout here.”
Shaina Dubinskiy, a freshman studying journalism, has never square danced before, but would consider checking out the ARTS/West event.
“I was never given the opportunity to square dance in school,” she said. “But I feel like it could be fun if I tried it, especially if I had a big group of friends to try it with me.”
Burdock is hoping for the square dance social to focus more on the social aspect of the gathering.
“I want people to come and just be able to hang out and listen to some good music,” he said. “I would like to try and get the community involved with one another.”
Despite Burdock’s high hopes, the popularity of square dancing can vary. Burdock believes that the real battle started with teaching kids how to square dance in school.
“Most people have a very negative idea of what a square dance is,” he said. “But I can assure everyone that it’s nothing like what kids learned in school.”
Connor Johnson, a freshman studying pre-physical therapy, is not a fan of the traditional dance.
“I remember square dancing in high school and not liking it,” Johnson said. “I don’t really enjoy dancing in general, but high school ruined square dancing of any redemption it may have had for me.”
Burdock is looking forward to the monthly socials coming up at ARTS/West.
“I just want the community to come and have a good time,” he said. “I’ve always found dancing to be an awesome activity to meet people you may never have talked to, and I think it would be great to see everyone come together through a simple dance.”