The ‘Do-Si-Dos’ of A Great Education

Southview Elementary students learn about the old art of square dancing

Kearney, Mo., February 1, 2023: Aiden Mathes likes to get into the swing of things.

Mr. Mathes is a second grader at Southview Elementary School. With cowboy boots and a big smile, he was ready to learn an old form of community art under the gentle guidance of square dancers from across the region who visited the school on Feb. 1.

“I love to dance and I love the music, so I’m having fun,” Mathes said. “Southview is great because we do these types of things a lot. It makes me want to come to school!”

The square dancing program in the school gym is just one part of a longer series of educational events over the next couple of weeks that are designed to teach students about history, art, music and media through hands-on activities, according to Principal Rebecca Parks.

“During their music and PE time, they will be learning various dances,” Dr. Parks said. “During art time, they will be designing decorations for a hoedown party – including boot and buckle designs – and in media, they will be learning about the art of ‘calling’ for a square dance.”

Square dance caller Connie Graham talked the students through a half-dozen basic moves in conjunction with the experienced dancers. After a few minutes of instruction, she decided they were ready to try a traditional square dance in a circle around the gym floor.

Ms. Graham recalled how much she enjoyed learning how to square dance in school and said she wants today’s students to have that same experience.

“I really see this as creating a connection between our children and a way of celebrating that has been part of our community for decades,” Graham said. “Square dancing is the official state dance, so I think it’s important that they learn about it first-hand.”