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North Salem Folk Square Dance Like Pros

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - It was difficult to estimate how many people turned out for the hoedown on Saturday sponsored by St. James Episcopal Church , because there were so many -- and so many of them were having a wonderful time.

Organizer Roe Intrieri said, "It's wonderful to see all this energy. In the past, we've had one line in the Virginia Reel. Tonight there are three!"

Bruce Buchholtz, currently running for Town Board, said, "This is the first square dance I've been to since high school. It's a really terrific crowd. And it's aerobic exercise."

Buchholtz elaborated a bit on the origins of the American square dance. "Ethnic dances were brought from all over the world. The American square dance is a combination of all the various ones. In that respect, it's typically American."

Eight professional square dancers intermingled with the crowd to keep everyone on track. Professional caller Sandy Corey shouted out the moves while music spun on an old-fashioned turntable. Who would imagine that the year was 2011, the place was Northern Westchester, and the dancers included lawyers, doctors, teachers, politicians, techies and a female rector?

"This is such a nice local thing," said Intrieri. "I work in the city, which is hard, because I don't want to leave North Salem."

While the grownups paused at the buffet to indulge the appetites and thirsts they had built up, the children gathered around the horse jumps at the far end and did a lot of jumping and neighing until it was time for the old-fashioned potato sack race.

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