Orbiting Squares History
The Orbiting Squares Western Square Dance Club began in 1962 as an activity offered to employees of North American Aviation, by a caller named Jack Barton. The first group of students had only 9-10 lessons when Jack was transferred back to California. They continued to learn on their own, dancing frequently at the various clubs in the city, and they rapidly became very polished dancers. The first Presidents for Orbiting Squares were Woody and Helen Bodkins, followed by Walt and Virginia Brenneman. When Jack transferred to California, the club invited Bob Doran to become the club caller. He continued until 1973, then was succeeded by Jerry Metz, who was the club caller until 1985. Bob Jones was club caller from 1985 until 1994, and Dave Stuthard was club caller from 1994 to 2007. At that time our board decided not to have a club caller, and we now contract with many different callers to call our dances. Since the early 1970’s we have also offered round dancing at our dances; we contract with a number of different round dance leaders to cue the rounds at our dances.
Over the years Orbiting Squares has begun and continued many family type traditions. The Hobo Dance was started in the mid-60’s as a Fall Outdoor activity – originally shared by a club in Newark (the Mound City Twirlers); then became an annual “Hobo Stew” outdoor picnic. This has evolved into our annual Chuck Wagon Dance in the fall.
In 1967 a group of couples began to caravan across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and into Missouri – down to central Missouri to the Kirkwood Lodge, Osage Beach, at the Lake of the Ozarks, for a week of square dancing, round dancing, and water-skiing; several of the club members towed boats. This began the association with caller, Marshall Flippo from Abilene, TX, who continued to call a Special annual dance for the Orbiting Squares in March until 1999. From that annual event evolved our current Spring Special.
Many activities have evolved over the years; among them is the New Years Dinner and Dance. This tradition started with a Hilliard Club, the Northwest Twirlers. They quit offering the New Years dance in 1972 and Orbiting Squares took it over. At that time, and for several years, we were the only club in the city offering a New Years Eve dance.
Our club initially was a couples club, but has evolved into a club that welcomes both couples and solo dancers. Orbiting Squares has a club membership in Single Square Dancers USA (SSDUSA).