Our organzation is the Edmonton and District Square Dance Association. We
Square Dance, Round Dance (choreographed ballroom dancing) and Clog.
• Square Dance is the oldest form of dance. Modern Square Dance
became popular in the 1950's. It can be done by children, teens,
adults, and seniors. It is a vigorous but gentle form of exercise that
demands the coordination between the brain and the body. In fact,
MIT (Michigan Institute of Technology) encourages its students to
square dance as you can not fret over exams or studies while you are
participating in a square dance. This is an easy form of dance with
many levels. It has been said that if you dance every dance during an
evening you will have travelled about 5 km. Good exercise for brain
• Round Dance is ballroom dancing with a cuer who instructs the
dancers on the moves. It is fairly easy to learn, and again has many
levels. The higher levels are composed of dance steps from the
Rhumba, Samba, Fox Trot, Charleston as well as the Waltz and Two
Step. If you watch Dancing with the Stars on television you wil see that
many of the moves they do are also part of Round Dance.
• Clog is the newest form of dance. It was introduced into Western
Canada in the mid 1990's and has become very popular. This form
of dance does not require a partner, is much like line dancing with an
instructor calling the moves. This type of dance also has several layers
and each has more intricate steps and challenges.
Each of these forms of dance is fun, exciting and easy to learn. The
challenge is in the levels of dance, in fact, it can in some ways be compared
to the game of Chess. Easy to learn and takes a lifetime to master.
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By 1953, there were seventeen square dance clubs in Edmonton. Many which were run and organized by callers. The newly formed Country Sunshiners registered with the Edmonton District Square Dance Association in 1981 by Wally and Iris Ewen. Originally they danced on Sunday afternoons at Garden Hall on Wye Road, a few miles east of Sherwood Park. The Edmonton based Country Sunshiners have always been known for welcoming beginners and other club members to participate in their dances. The women originally wore a royal blue dress and men, a white shirt with a royal blue tie, yoke and cuffs. With a banner containing black lettering and a white lamb on a blue background edged with gold piping and a white mascot lamb named Curly Q, they started being exposed to the public. In 1982 the Country Sunshiners began their first performance by participating in the Cooking Lake parade, and by winning two trophies. In 1984 the club began lessons at the Leefield Community Hall and later making it a part of the Leefield Community League's program. In 1985 the Country Sunshiners were introduced to round dancing by one of their couples, Pat and Alma Falardeau. By popular demand round dancing and square dancing became a part of the club's dances. Community building through social gatherings has always been an important part of the square dancing community. Clubs exchange visits, and to ensure the return visit of a host club, the visitor would "steal" their mascot. This practice continues among square dance clubs in the Edmonton area. Country Sunshiners continue to be busy with a schedule filled with annual Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's, St. Patrick's, Spring Dances, campouts and many other public events and performances. Continually growing in membership, relationships and skill, the Sunshiners have have evolved to the strong, fun and relevant square dancing club they are today.
Resources taken from "The Mill Woods Country Sunshiners History"
Article written by Tim Hydzik