Todd Moe talks with musician Ed Lowman, coordinator of the Schroon Lake Square Dances. He's a fiddler who has helped lead the dances since 1979. Lowman says the dance steps and tunes vary from week to week. At a time when square dancing has decreased in popularity in some parts of the country, he's excited to see young families, seniors and even teens turning out to "do-si-do".
On a good night, there can be up to 300 to 400 people. The music usually starts around 7p.m. and people start filtering in soon after, Lowman said. The callers teach a variety of dances throughout the evening. Many are easy to do or to learn and are accessible to all ages.
It’s a beautiful spot to hold dances right by the lakeside. There is an old stone wall behind the band that creates very nice acoustics. With up to a couple hundred people dancing, as well as people sitting or milling around, it is great to see, he said.
One very popular dance called “the zodiac” was started around 1982/83. Friends of Lowman from North Carolina asked to play at his dance on their music tour. He believes the dance was originally called “zoodio” and comes from the Georgia Sea Islands area. “My friends taught this dance to the group, and some of the kids picked up on it so much that they remembered it for next week.” He said they used to get so many requests for it that it is now played around the half-way point of every dance.
They plan to resume the dances next year, the first Wednesday after Independence Day, and running until the end of August. Funding from the Schroon Lake Chamber has made it free for people to attend, and also pays the musicians. Lowman described the whole event as “just a wonderful situation in everyway.”