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Recreation Department offers dance classes

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald

To chase away the post-Christmas winter blahs, the Henry County Parks and Recreation Department will offer the chance to dance.

The department sponsors square dance classes by the Lads "n" Lassies Square Dance Club in the carriage house at Nash Farm Park. The classes are 2-5 p.m. beginning Jan. 18, and will last 20 weeks. A free open house on Jan. 11 from 2-5 p.m. will provide an opportunity for dance enthusiasts to learn more about square dancing. After the open house, lessons cost $5 per person.

According to Richard Rhinehart, the club's membership chairman, the Lads "n" Lassies began in 1977, and is the only square dance club in Henry County. Club membership is about 100, and the classes are only offered once a year.

Rhinehart hopes the open house, and the classes, will increase interest in this type of dancing.

"There's only one way to know if you're going to like square dancing, and that's to give it a try," says Rhinehart.

There are 100 different square dance calls to learn for most people it takes five months to learn the dance moves. But despite the requirement to learn 20 different calls each month, he says square dancing can be fun. "It's not that difficult to master. It's like a new language...you need to learn the language."

Square dancing also is good exercise, both physically and mentally. It differs from other types of dancing because each individual relies on the other partners to perform the dance correctly, explains Rhinehart.

"All the people in the square are depending on you to do the right thing," he adds. "When you're thinking about square dancing, you absolutely cannot think of anything else. You have to concentrate."

For more information call (770) 957-2254.

The Henry County Parks and Recreation also sponsors line dance classes at the J.P. Moseley Recreation Center. Beginner classes are 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, beginning Jan. 6. Intermediate-level classes are 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, starting Jan. 8. New classes form every six weeks. The cost is $25 per class, or any two classes for $40. The classes are taught by Tommy Bailey.

Line dancing is growing in popularity, and Lynn Bailey, Tommy's wife, says there is a waiting list for the beginner class. Compared to other types of activities, line dancing offers a chance for participants to socialize while exercising.

"Everybody becomes friends," she says. "It's a little bit different than aerobics. Line dancing doesn't have the high impact stress."

The Bailey's classes attract dancers of all ages, because participants can exercise at their own comfort level. One man in the class is in his 80s, and others in the class are as young as 14.

For more information email the Baileys at mbailey571@yahoo.com.