Teacher dances with students
Ray Brendzy encourages square dancing
Adapted from The Vancouver Courier by Nancy Carson
Ray Brendzy likes to be active.
He says this leads to a healthy life.
Brendzy is a teacher
in a Vancouver elementary school.
He wants all students to be active.
He says kids need to try all sports.
Brendzy likes to coach
For years Brendzy coached soccer,
basketball and volleyball.
He coached track and field
and cross-country running.
He is very happy when
his students play many sports.
Brendzy also teaches students to dance.
His teaches them to square dance.
Square dancing is part of folk culture.
The music for this dancing
is usually fiddle music.
Four couples stand in
the shape of a square.
All students in a class can participate
in the square dance.
They can make many squares.
Why square dancing?
Brendzy loves square dancing.
His parents took him
to square dances
when he was seven.
He said, “It didn’t take long
before I was hooked.”
Teaching others to dance
He created a square dance course
for the Vancouver School Board.
He then showed other teachers
how to square dance.
Listen to the caller
Every square dance has a caller.
This caller gives directions to the dancers.
The dancers learn the names
of each part of a dance.
They listen to the caller.
Then the dancers follow
what the caller says to them.
Brendzy is a square dance caller.
A caller must know many dances.
A caller must know the names
of all the parts of a square dance.
Brendzy is one of the top three
square dance callers in Canada.
Once a year, Brendzy leads
an afternoon of dance at his school.
Every class does square dancing.
Parents can join the dance, too.
Sometimes pre-school kids try to dance.
He believes this boosts
Being together is good
Brendzy says it is important
for all the school kids to get together.
The students learn to be nice
to one another.
They learn to respect one another.
This year Brendzy won an award
for all his work.
“Thirty-five years have
gone by incredibly fast,” he said.
He loves what he does
with students. He says
it does not feel like work.
Four nights a week in Burnaby
and New Westminster,
Brendzy calls for square dancers.
Life is a dance, feels Brendzy.
1. fiddle: a type of violin used for traditional country dancing.
2. hooked: liking someone or something very much.
3. boost: to help or encourage someone or something so it will improve.
1. Watch a square dancing competition
2. Demonstration dancing at the Calgary Olympics 1988,
showing dancers from 12 to 80 years old. The caller is singing the directions!
3. Ashley MacIsaac, Canadian icon, plays traditional fiddle music
4. Natalie MacMaster, famous Canadian fiddler, and her children play fiddle music