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State square dancing convention coming to Turlock
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The 54th annual California State Square Dancing Convention will be held at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds April 10-13. - photo by Journal file photo

Local square dancers and enthusiasts are preparing to “swing their partner round and round” as the 54th annual California State Square Dancing Convention is headed to Turlock.

An annual event that rotates geographically around the state, the convention is an opportunity for more than California square dancers to practice their craft as visitors hail from other states and as far as other countries like Germany.

“A lot of times square dancing has been termed ‘friendship put to music.’ It works your brain matter as well as your body matter and it’s very aerobic because you're walking, walking, walking and every time you’re in a new square you meet new people,” said local square dancer Vicky Ellis, who has been dancing with her husband Roy since they first met square dancing in 1985.

While the state convention will draw many advanced square dancers, the event is open to amateur dancers as well as those looking to learn.

“It’s strictly good music, good friendship and a lot of dancing,” said John Schol, the general chairperson of the convention.

The California State Square Dancing Convention will take place from April 10-13 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds.  At the convention there will be four square dancing levels including mainstream, plus, advanced and round and the level of difficulty is based on the number of calls, which are essentially dancing directions.  The convention will feature advanced and plus workshops as well as a “last man standing” competition to see who can dance the longest as well as line dancing lessons.