John and Frances McAlister get into the spirit of Square Dancing ahead of the convention in Lismore this weekend.
John and Frances McAlister get into the spirit of Square Dancing ahead of the convention in Lismore this weekend. Marc Stapelberg

Its hip to be square at dance convention this weekend

According to Frances McAlister you are more likely to hear Lady Gaga playing at the Square Dance convention this weekend than a country song, and there won't be a checkered shirt or jeans in sight.

She said the old 'hillbilly' image has been gone for more than 40 years.

The 38th N.S.W State Square Dance Convention convenor said square dance music has always reflected the tastes of popular music unlike it's close counter parts 'line-dancing' or 'boot scooting'.

"Nowadays our musical styles range from Frank Sinatra to Michael Buble, from Doris Day to Lady Gaga, from evergreens to country to pop and Rock & Roll," Mrs McAlister said.

She said the fashion had also updated with the times including a more formal dress attire including long sleeved shirts and slacks for men and colourful skirts, petticoats and tops for the girls.

Flat formal shoes provide a sturdy footing for dancers.

Mrs McAlister has been doing square dancing for 25 years after seeing an ad in the Northern Star and fell in love with the friendly atmosphere and social aspect of the past time.

"Everything was just different about it," she said.

"You have to be active, you have to think, it exercises both the body and the mind and great way of fighting dementia.

"As our motto says "Fun and Friendship set to music"."

The 2017 Convention will be held over the weekend of September 15-18 in Lismore at the Goonellabah Sport and Aquatic Centre.

Each night starts 7:30pm and afternoon sessions start at 2pm and it goes for 2-3 hours.

Spectators are free with two special half hour sessions on Saturday and Sunday afternoon where spectators can come along and join in and give it a go.

Dancers today come from all walks of life and all age ranges.

Dancing will commence on Friday night, with sessions continuing afternoon and evening on both Saturday and Sunday and culminating in a farewell session on Monday morning.

Dancers and 'callers' from all over NSW, as well as from Queensland and Victoria are registered for the weekend.


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