Goodtime Senior Citizens’ Club attempting to preserve traditional dances

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By Linda and Garry Shears

Province assisting group to preserve cultural heritage through teaching dances

Tilmon Martin and Edith Rutherford finish a set of the waltz quadrille. 

The Goodtime Senior Citizens’ Club and the provincial Department of Health and Wellness are joining forces to preserve an active part of Nova Scotia’s cultural heritage.

Health and Wellness has provided financial assistance to assist the Goodtime Club in letting people know about its efforts to preserve and pass along traditional dances. During the month of April, club members will provide instruction in waltz quadrille, the foxtrot, polka and jive. Lessons are held from 7 to 8:20 p.m. each Tuesday evening at the Royal Canadian Legion on Brunswick Street, Truro.

The lessons precede the regular Tuesday night dance sessions the Club holds from 8 p.m. till 11 p.m. from September to June each year. It takes a break for the summer months of July and August.

Each Tuesday night the waltz quadrille is danced three times. The Goodtime members do introduce a special feature, the “peel off,” which ensures everyone has an opportunity to dance. During the two “peel offs,” the women form a line on one side of the dance floor and the men form a line at the front. The two lines converge and people get an opportunity to dance around the floor with a variety of partners. Generally after a turn around the floor, the lady is dropped off at the end of her line and the gentleman gets in his line.

Many of the current club members recall attending dances “along the shore,” notably at the Portapique Beach Dance Hall and the Dickie Barn Dances. They say the Tuesday night music and dances are very reminiscent of these and it would be a regrettable loss of cultural heritage if these traditional Nova Scotia dances were lost.

The Goodtime Senior Citizens’ Club was incorporated in June 1980 and now boasts members from Truro, Stewiacke, Bible Hill, Brookfield, Onslow, Portapique, Tatamagouche, New Glasgow, Debert, Wentworth, Lantz, Shubenacadie, Nine Mile River, Milford and areas in between. 

The Club offers special theme nights, such as tropical night, country-western, prom night, Easter Bonnet night, St. Patrick’s, Halloween and Christmas. Theme nights include costumes, table decorations and music for the occasion. 

Each dance night features a five-member band playing drums, keyboard, fiddle and guitar. Dances are held on the upper level of the Legion, which features a spacious hardwood floor. Admission is $6 per person, with a shared lunch. Visitors and new members are welcome. After a person attends two or three dances, he or she is encouraged to join the club for a membership fee of $10.

For more details, contact Helen at 902-897-6707 or e-mail questions to glshears@gmail.com.

Organizations: Senior Citizens, Goodtime Club, Department of Health and Wellness Royal Canadian Legion

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Brunswick Street, Tatamagouche New Glasgow

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