Square dance set at Center for Dance in Preston

Find a partner and prepare to promenade: square dancing has come to the Valley.

Find a partner and prepare to promenade: square dancing has come to the Valley.

A public square dance is planned for 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12 at The Center for Dance, 30540 S.E. 84th St. in Preston.

This event is for beginners as well as experienced dancers.

Event organizer Joan Pliego, by day the communications coordinator for the city of Snoqualmie, had been looking for a place to square dance in the area for some time, with no success.

“So I found a dance hall and a square dance caller and am just hoping that lots of people come,” Pliego said. “It’s so much fun. I’ve never laughed so much as at a dance.”

If there’s a good turnout at the Sept. 12 event, Pliego may turn it into a monthly event, and some dancers may decide to form a club.

“Everyone should give it a try,” Pliego said. “There are misconceptions about square dancing. Beginners tend to think that you need special clothing, such as the frilly dresses and dance shoes.”

But, although some gear is worn by many experienced dancers at special events and competitions, at regular dances like this one, casual clothing and comfortable shoes are encouraged. Also, square dancing is for all ages. People can come solo, as couples, or as families.

“It’s such a welcoming environment,” Pliego said.

Square dancing is the state dance of 19 U.S. states, including Washington. It originated in 17th century England and France; and it burns approximately 300 calories per hour, Pliego said.

There is a suggested donation of $7 for adults and $3 for ages 9 to 18 to cover the cost of the dance hall. For more information, e-mail joan.p@comcast.net. Directions are available at www.thecenterfordance.org.