Thompson Valley Stars

Lavishly dressed dancers, some wearing brilliantly-coloured beads, carnival masks and party hats, gathered together recently for a weekend of square  and round dancing. Kamloops dancers Merv & Sandy Meyer and John & Elsie Rempel were sure to attend — even though it was in Chilliwack.

Held at the Atchelitz Hall, “Rally-in-the-Valley”‘ is a 3-day annual event presented by the Chilliwack Rhythm Reelers Square & Round Dance Club. Each year they have a different theme and  this year it was ‘Carnival’. The Meyers and Rempels were thrilled to join over 100 dancers from all over the Province. They gratefully accepted the welcoming gift of a water bottle with brightly  coloured beads attached, part of the festive atmosphere.

Recalling the fun, Elsie Rempel said “it was a most enjoyable dance weekend and there were so many great events, all of it very reasonably priced.” She explained that they started Friday night with a “Trail-In Dance” then the fun continued Saturday morning with a Pyjama dance following a continental breakfast.

The Meyers, as leaders themselves, enjoyed two ‘workshops’ where the dancers learn different combinations of moves in round dancing and square dancing. John Rempel pointed out that  wherever you travel to square and round dance, there’s always good food. He cited the “splendid” Saturday potluck dinner, which included an assortment of salads, casseroles, and lots of fresh fruits.

Sandy Meyer chose one of her nicest dance outfits to participate in the Grand March that opened Saturday night’s dancing. She bubbled “after the dance they presented yet more fun — some very amusing skits.”

Featured at the Carnival were Dan and Anita Adams, who have been calling and cueing since 1984. They also call and cue for Chilliwack Club. The Adams asked caller/cuer Merv & Sandy  Meyer of Kamloops to participate in the program on Friday and Sunday. Merv, with 13 years behind the microphone calling square dances in the Kamloops and Chase area, was quick to step up to call.

As a qualified round dance cuer, Sandy Meyer also took the microphone to prompt the round dancers with their next step. She enthuses that round dancing, a choreographed version of  ballroom dancing, is something that anybody can do. “You simply learn the individual steps,” she says, “then I put them into sequences and cue every move – there’s no memorizing and no  need for someone to lead.”

Not having had their fill of dancing, the Meyers and Rempels headed out yet again Sunday morning for a pancake breakfast complete with sausages, strawberry topping and fresh fruits. Then, dancers packed up their RV’s and some 50 of them went on to MinterGardens to stroll in the gardens and dance for captivated visitors. Some of those visitors had their photo taken next to the dancers. An exhausted Merv Meyer concluded “the weather was absolutely perfect and it was a beautiful setting for the final dance of the weekend.”

Elsie Rempel pointed out that “the dancing fun that my husband and I enjoy is within reach of any Kamloops area resident.” She continued “you simply attend new dancer sessions and a  whole new world of fun and socialization will open up for you.”

See an entertaining video of this year’s Chilliwack dance Carnival at www.YouTube.com, search for “Rally in the Valley.”

For more information, including new dancer sessions starting in the Fall, call 250-376-5636, or email: meyerdance@telus.net.

The benefits of the recreation can be explored at:

http://www.thompsonvalleystars.squaredance.bc.ca.html

or: www.TakeMeDancing.squaredance.bc.ca

Also, see the online video: www.DancingKeepsYouYoung.ca

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