By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

The tradition of an old-time barn dance will soon be revived in the Columbia Valley.

Invermeres first ever old-time dance entitled Its Hip to be Square will be taking place starting at 7 p.m. in the Lions Hall at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, April 16th.

Its Hip To Be Square, Invermere, is part of an all-ages series of old-time barn dances that started in Fernie three years ago and has grown to include communities such as Kimberley, Wardner and Canmore.

People of all ages love these friendly dances where every dance is taught and called, guaranteeing fun for all, said Leslie Gotfrit, event organizer and community dance caller. Snowboarders have told me its as much fun as fresh powder and one spry 70-year-old told me she hadnt had that much fun since high school. There is no doubt Its Hip To Be Square, Invermere, will be a good time.

She will be performing along with 15 musicians from the Kootenay Stringbenders group with the aim of bringing people together for a high energy, foot-stomping style of dancing.

Were trying to bring back old-time dance and music, so that its a living thing again, she said. We want people to have the best of both worlds My goal for dancing is to bring people together in the community to have a really good time.

She believes the music engages people to move their bodies in the moment, which creates an unforgettable experience.

We sell out really quickly when we do this dance in a community for the second time, said Ms. Gotfrit. People just love it theres nothing better than live music and were bringing back something that people used to do this kind of dancing all the time.

The Kootenay Stringbenders collaborated more than three years ago to combine dancing and musical performances.

Each dance is taught and each dance is called, so that everyone, no matter their background, can experience the joy of a real old-time dance, said Ms. Gotfrit, noting singles and couples are welcome to participate. Its community building at its best: all ages interacting; squares, circles and longways dances that mix people together; and live music driving fiddles, banjos, guitars, mandolins and bass–that makes everyone smile. Musicians will be performing before, between and after sets. There is nothing quite like it.

Tickets to the old-time barn dance are selling for $20 each at Circle Health and Circle Cafe. There will be snacks for sale by Slow Food Columbia Valley and a cash bar by Arrowhead Brewing (participants must be 19 and older). All money raised after expenses goes to Slow Food Columbia Valley for the work the group does supporting local farmers and food producers.

To purchase tickets to the event online, visit