Swing your partner and do-si-do

by Sharlene Irete

People Editor

About 100 dancers of all abilities showed up to the CVIC Hall on Saturday to participate in the filming of a documentary on square dancing.

The B Sharps documentary film company was shooting a film based on the 61-year career of square dance caller Larry Ward, who recently moved to Carson Valley and teaches ballroom and square dancing.

The documentary will include footage taken from videos from Ward's own collection and from dancing scenes shot in two sessions on Saturday.

One session featured an exhibition of tango dancing by Ward's ballroom students. The second session was square dancing called by Ward for dancers from Carson Valley, Carson City, Reno, Las Vegas, San Francisco and the Los Angeles area.

Ward, 73, taught dance in schools in Los Angeles and Orange County before before moving to the area. He teaches classes in square dancing and ballroom dancing for teens and adults in Gardnerville, Genoa and Carson City.

"It's been 61 years for me in one career," he said.

He learned square dancing in school and became a caller as a 12-year-old. Over the years, he learned ballroom dancing, worked at movie studios and helped form the B Sharps square dancing group " still active after 50 years.

Ward said up to 54 dancers have attended one of the weekly square dancing classes he teaches.

"When I taught in Southern California, the square dancers were 60 to 70 years old, but here, half of the dancers are under 25 and there's a lot of teenagers," Ward said.

The popularity of TV dance shows have renewed the public's interest in ballroom dancing. Ward said people want to learn to dance for family weddings and at quinceanos celebrations.

"There's a big need for knowing how to dance these days," said Ward. "And because of the image of athletes on 'Dancing with the Stars,' my classes have had more men than women and more boys than girls."

Ward said the documentary film should be finished in July and will make the rounds of film festivals and may be sold to cable TV channels.

Ballroom and square dance classes offered

Adult ballroom dancing, teens welcome.

Ballroom dances taught are swing, cha-cha, fox trot, waltz, tango and salsa.

Cost, $8 per person per session.

Information, Larry Ward, (775) 392-0182.

n 7:30-9:15 p.m. Mondays beginning March 9 at Dresslerville Community Center, 1585 Watasheamu Drive, Gardnerville.

n 7:30-9:15 p.m. Thursdays beginning March 12 at the Pinkerton Dance Academy, 2045 California St., Carson City.

Beginner square dancing.

Cost, $6 per session. Cookies and coffee provided. Information, Larry Ward, (775) 392-0182.

n 7-9:15 p.m. Wednesdays at the at the Pinkerton Dance Academy, 2045 California St., Carson City.


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