New Year’s Eve in Trail, circa the 1950s. Photo: Trail Historical Society

New Year’s Eve in Trail, circa the 1950s. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: Dosey Doe-ing in a New Year

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

Those of us who grew up in Trail during the heydays likely remember the huge draw that square dancing once had.

Dressed in western garb and the women in frilly dresses, these dancers would fill the largest venues in the city, such as the Cominco Arena, sans ice of course, so they could step-to their routines which were always entertaining to watch.

So for this week’s Trail Blazers feature it is perfect timing to reminisce about the Trail and District Square Dance Association. These images from the Trail Historical Society show dancers celebrating a 1950s New Year’s Eve with a hopping party at the Scouts Hall, located on the corner of Fourth Avenue and McLean Street in East Trail.

New Year’s Eve in Trail, circa the 1950s. Photo: Trail Historical Society

New Year’s Eve in Trail, circa the 1950s. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Many square dance jamborees were hosted in Trail during that decade in the arena, usually in May and June, welcoming dancers and callers from all over B.C. and Washington state.

Jamborees included a grand march, various dances, clinics, and they usually wrapped up with an all-you-can-eat cowboy breakfast.

Full of music and dancing, this New Year’s Eve party was undoubtedly one for the books!

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A square dance is a dance for four couples (eight dancers in total) arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, facing the middle of the square. Square dances contain elements from numerous traditional dances and were first documented in 16th-century England, but they were also quite common in France and throughout Europe. Early square dances, particularly English country dances and French quadrilles, traveled to North America with the European settlers and developed significantly there.

Square dance movements are known as calls, and some forms of the dance, such as traditional and modern western square dancing, use a caller to direct the dancers through different calls. In some forms of traditional square dancing, the caller may be one of the dancers or musicians, but in modern western square dancing, the caller is on stage giving full attention to directing the dancers.

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