As the music starts playing, couples join hands and form a square, tapping their toes in time to the beat. Soon they'll be dancing their way through complex patterns — patterns Mable Nicodemus knows well from her more than 35 years of square dancing.
Nicodemus is 93-years-old, and she continues to pursue her passion for square dancing as a member of Circle 8 Square and Round Dance Club of Newton.
Nicodemus first joined Circle 8 in 1975. She and her husband, Don, knew some friends who had started taking lessons, and Nicodemus and her husband soon caught the square dancing bug, as well.
"They encouraged us to start dancing," Nicodemus said. "I didn't know about square dancing until I started taking lessons."
They took lessons in square dancing once a week for 20 weeks, and Nicodemus has been dancing ever since. Although it was challenging to learn the steps at first, she said it was "well worth it." She continued dancing after her husband passed away, though she misses the times they spent dancing together.
"We really enjoyed it," she said. "It was really hard when he passed away."
Nicodemus still goes dancing several times a month and enjoys staying in contact with friends she's met through square dancing.
"They're such good friends, and such good people," she said.
Nicodemus said square dancing is a good way to stay active and improve your health. According to Mayo Clinic, dancing can be a good way to burn calories, promote heart health and strengthen your bones.
"The exercise is wonderful, and the association with the people," she said. "... To me those are very important. It's always a fun time. It's just good for the mind and the body both."
Curious about trying square dancing? The Circle 8 club hosts dances September through May on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. The next dance is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at Chisholm Middle School, 900 E. First St.
To register for square dancing lessons, contact the Newton Rec Center at 283-7330.