Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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SQUARE DANCING

Square dancing started in Brookdale the winter of 1954. Mrs. Meldrum, wife of the school principal invited several couples to the school auditorium where she taught square dancing. The next year a club was started at Brookdale with help from a club at Franklin which had been dancing for some time.

A record player amplifier was purchased and Ken Mitchell and Charlie Simpson were elected instructors. Hector Swanson helped with instruction a few years later. Records with the music and callers on them were used. Since some of the records were difficult to follow, sometimes the dancers enjoyed a caller for an evening. In 1959 several people from the Wellwood district joined the club so the club met at Brookdale and Wellwood alternating week for week. At this time the club adopted the name of Brookdale Comets Square Dance Club. In the 1963-64 season the club did not organize because of lack of people interested.

Eldon McDonald learned to call and was caller instructor at the Neepawa club. Some members from Brookdale were members but this club became smaller so in 1979 they decided to come to Brookdale and started a club here with Eldon McDonald as caller. The name of Brookdale Belles and Beaus Square Dance Club was chosen and it is still dancing at time of writing with Ray Ommerlie of Portage calling since Eldon McDonald retired from the Brookdale club in the spring of 1982.

Brookdale Belles and Beaus Club is a member of the Western Manitoba Square and Round Dance Federation which has 20 clubs in southwestern Manitoba as members. It serves to help communication and teach new dances to the clubs. The Western Federation is a member of the Manitoba Square and Round Dance Federation which in turn is a member of the Canadian Square and Round Dance Society. The Canadian Society holds a convention every two years in different regions of Canada. Dancers who come from every province of Canada and state of the U.S.A. and from many other countries are able to dance together and enjoy the fun and fellowship. Square dance callers use the English language to call in other countries so dancers may not be able to talk to each other, but they can always dance. Members of the Brookdale club have enjoyed dancing with many people from near and far places.

 

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