Local residents have something to dance about

Butch Tracey, of the Happy Feet Round Dance Club, helps teach the moves during a recent round dancing lesson in the Moose Lodge. Tracey says his club will offer lessons in Huntington again, possibly in the winter.
Butch Tracey, of the Happy Feet Round Dance Club, helps teach the moves during a recent round dancing lesson in the Moose Lodge. Tracey says his club will offer lessons in Huntington again, possibly in the winter. Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally published Sept. 14, 2009.

Several Huntington residents have found something to dance to on Monday evenings.

Happy Feet Round Dance Club, based in New Haven, has offered dance lessons in Huntington's Moose Lodge since late August of this year.

Butch Tracey, instructor, and Mary Harlan, assistant, run the show.

Tracey is from Ossian and has cued since 1971. He began teaching three years prior to that.

"I love the dance movement, I love dancing and I love music. I love working with peo-ple... It's a very good family oriented type thing, and the people are tremendous that you come across," Tracey says.

He also says the club is trying to make Huntington its central location. The club provides lessons to people from Bluffton, Fort Wayne and surrounding areas, and they think it'd be nice to bring them all to one spot in Huntington.

The club has never offered lessons in town before, but round lessons were offered many years ago, says Tracey.

"Round dancing can be described as choreographed ballroom for couples who progress around the floor in a counter-clockwise direction dancing to cues," says Tracey.

The cuer calls out individual dance steps, which allows greater variety of steps for dancers without them needing to learn the details of each dance instructed.

The waltz and two-step dances are taught in beginner classes, with dances such as the foxtrot, jive, rumba and tango taught in upper levels.

"During the square dance, I've watched the round dance and decided to try a little bit of it," says participant Gary Heckman. He started dancing mostly in the last year, but has had experience years ago.

Harlan says round dancing is a good source of activity, it's economical and it allows people to mingle and meet new people.

Tracey says the club will take new people at this time only if they have had prior dancing lessons.

When the next set of lessons will be offered depends on demand, he adds, but they could begin as early as January.