Over at the Torrance Squares’ dance hall on a recent evening, people were bowing to their partners, circling each other shoulder to shoulder and clasping hands as they threaded their way around a circle of dancers.
Every now and then, though, something would go wrong, and they’d wind up colliding.
But it didn’t seem to bother the dancers, who laughed and fell into each others’ arms when they botched a step. After all, they were there to learn square dancing, not show off like veterans.
“You run into each other all the time, but you just laugh and keep going,” said Robert Lockey, a student from Torrance.
The folks at Torrance Squares are among the hundreds of people who gather weekly at South Bay recreation centers, dance clubs, churches and lodge halls to learn to kick up their heels.
Not only can people take beginning classes in square dancing, they can learn the country-Western two-step, waltz and polka, ethnic folk dances and Scottish country dancing, a form similar to square dancing that dates to the 15th Century.
People who love this kind of dancing say it’s a way to have fun, get exercise and meet people. You don’t need a partner, and the price is right too. Most classes cost $3 or $4 a night, and in some cases a total fee of about $30 is charged for a one- to two-month series of lessons.
Marge Lubberts, president of the Renegades Square Dance Club, which sponsors lessons at Torrance Squares, calls the dancing “a wonderful, clean sport. There are few places you can go for $4 and dance all night, get refreshments and have good, clean entertainment where there’s no smoking and no drinking.”
* People who want to learn square dancing have two classes to choose from, with others scheduled to start in early February.
The Renegades lessons are Sundays from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Torrance Squares, 1512 Cravens Ave., and people may sign up through Jan. 20. Information is available at 547-0133.
The Honeycombers Square Dance Club gives lessons Thursdays at 8 p.m. at the Torrance Woman’s Club, 1422 Engracia Ave. Open enrollment is being held through Jan. 24. Information: 370-0285 or 320-1502.
The Inglewood Recreation and Community Service Department offers lessons Thursdays from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the Centinela Park Veterans Building, 700 Warren Lane. Intermediate square dancing is held at the same time on the third Friday of the month. Information: 412-5508; after 6 p.m., 412-5412.
In Torrance, the King’s Squares club starts lessons Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at Lloyd Lewis Lutheran Church, 2706 W. 182nd St. Information: 327-2148.
The Top Notchers begin lessons Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Church of the Brethren, 2761 W. 190th St., Redondo Beach. Information: 540-2666, 371-4870 or 326-7873.
Del Rey Singles begin lessons Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Rob Cunningham Masonic Temple, 7726 Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey. Information: 645-8462.
South Bay Bachelors and Bachelorettes will have a class starting Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sons of Italy Hall, 1744 W. Carson St., Torrance. Information: 379-3584 or 329-0392.
* Round dancing is offered by the Hawthorne Parks and Recreation Department on Thursdays from 7 to 8:45 p.m. at the Memorial Center, 3901 El Segundo Blvd. Intermediate lessons follow at 8:45 p.m. Information: 970-7230.
* Bill and Sally’s country-Western dancing lessons are given Mondays at 6:30 p.m. at the Gardena VFW, 1822 W. 162nd St., and Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at Carson Elks Hall, 530 E. 231st St. Enrollment for the six-week classes closes next week. Line dancing and intermediate groups follow beginners. The Gardena class is for couples only. Information: 372-6493.
* Scottish country dancing lessons are given Mondays at 7:30 p.m. at the Westchester Senior Citizen Center, 8740 Lincoln Blvd. Information: 326-6149. Lessons are also given Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 224 1/2 Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach. Information: 546-2005. Intermediate lessons follow beginners’ classes in both places.
* Balkan folk dancing sponsored by San Pedro Folkdancers, who teach dances of Yugoslavia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece on Mondays 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Harbor Area YWCA, 437 W. 9th St. Information: 547-0831 days, 519-1538 evenings.
* International dance classes start Thursday from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Hesse Park, 29301 Hawthorne Blvd., Rancho Palos Verdes. The class, which offers Yugoslavian, Greek, Armenian and Middle Eastern dancing, runs through March 21. Information: 541-4566.
* Mexican folklorico classes are offered at three Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department centers. Banning Recreation Center, 1331 Eubank Ave., Wilmington, offers the class Mondays from 5 to 8 p.m. Information: 548-7776. Classes meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. at Wilmington Recreation Center, 325 Neptune Ave. Information: 548-7645. Normandale Recreation Center, 22400 Halldale Ave., Los Angeles, has folklorico Wednesdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Information: 328-3689.
* Torrance is offering classes in folk dancing Fridays at 7 p.m.; Scottish country dancing, Mondays and Friday at 7 p.m.; square dancing Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; round dancing Mondays at 7 and 8:30 p.m., and clogging Tuesdays at 7 p.m. People must sign up for classes at the city Recreation Center, 3341 Torrance Blvd., between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday and Friday. Information: 618-5981.