There are a number of opportunities for mainstream or plus level square dancing in Central Ohio in the coming week. Other dance information (including information about higher level square dances, round dances, and beginner dance instruction) is available on our monthly calendar and our workshops and classes web pages.
Friday, May 22 – Bucks & Does at Gahanna Community Congregational Church, 470 Havens Corners Rd, Gahanna from 8 to 10:30 PM. (Early rounds at 7:30 PM). Caller: Tim Hellinger. Cuer: Phyllis Burdette.
Saturday, May 23 – Westerville Promenaders at Westerville Senior Center, 310 West Main St, Westerville, from 7 to 9:45 PM. Caller: Dick Mackey. Cuer. Chuck Berry.
Sunday, May 24 – HASHING IT UPWORKSHOP from 2 to 4:30 PM at the Clinton Heights Lutheran Church, 15 Clinton Heights Ave, Columbus. Please come and support the newer callers – which may include Ramona Willis, Larry Lim, and Dave Van Dyk, along with Velma Doyle – as they work to improve their calling skills. (Bob Daye will be there too.) FREE. New Dancers Welcome.
Wednesday, May 27 – Daylight Dancers at the Gillie Senior Center, 2100 Morse Centre, Columbus, OH 43229 from 3 to 4:45 PM. Caller and cuer: Mark Johnson. (LOCATION CHANGE FOR THIS DATE. We will be back at the Janis Center on June 3.)
Friday, May 29 – Little Brown Jug at Eagles Lodge #376, 127 E William St, Delaware, from 7:30 to 10:15 PM. Caller: Jason Raleigh. Cuer: Linda Warren.
Saturday, May 30 – Grove City Western Squares at the Evans Senior Center, 4330 Dudley Ave, Grove City, from 7:30 to 10:30 PM. Callers: Jack Pladdys/Tom Strickland. Cuer: Mark Johnson. (Two halls with Early Rounds from 7:00 to 7:30 PM and Advanced Dancing from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.)
Ray Wiles began Square Dancing in September, 1972, when he was just 15 years old. He was a partner for his younger sister (Joanne), because she wanted to join her parents (John & Ruth) who began dancing in 1967. Ray was himself totally against taking lessons, but his Mother insisted he "try it for 6 weeks and if you don't like it then you can quit." With much hesitation he agreed to "try it." Fortunately, Ray found it more fun than he had expected. His lessons began at the Sam Clark Modern Squares Barn in Livonia, MI, which featured square dancing six nights per week plus Sunday afternoons, in addition to a round dance class on the 7th night. Ray and his sister joined the Sunday afternoon group at "The Barn" called the Teen Wheelers.
About six weeks into the class the club hosted a Halloween Party, and the club callers (Bruce Light & Ken Miller) informed Ray about a Thanksgiving party the club was having, along with another for Christmas. By this time Ray was hooked. After graduating, both Joanne and Ray would join their parents on numerous square dance outings. One Saturday afternoon, Ray played the singing call Summer Sounds on his parents' stereo and called alongside the caller on the called side of the record. He thought to himself, "Gee, this is fun. I think I can do this myself," and so it began.
Ray began working with other callers in the Detroit area with whom he had become acquainted and was soon hooked on calling. His first teaching experience was on September 10, 1975, with another caller, because at that time Ray had no sound equipment. He was eventually able to locate some used equipment, and in January, 1976, began calling on his own. His first class later became known as Canton Wheels of Michigan.
In 1984 Ray recorded Hello Dolly on the TNT square dance record label. At the time, Ray was a member of the Michigan Square Dance Callers Association. He took calling clinics from several local callers (Dick Bayer, Rip Riskey, and Larry Prior). He currently teaches 2 different Advanced classes in Metro Detroit, and has attended eight national conventions, numerous Michigan State Conventions, as well as several in Indiana and Ohio. He has traveled as far North in Michigan as Petoskey, as well as into Ohio and Indiana. Ray also calls for many local clubs in the Metro Detroit area.
Ray has a 26 year old Son (Kevin) and has been married to his wonderful wife Ilidia since 2009. Ray is licensed through Callerlab and is available for calling Mainstream, Plus, and Advanced dances.
COMING SOON: Tim Tyl (Texas) will be our featured caller in June, followed by Tim Marriner (South Carolina) in July, and Ken Burke (Michigan) in August. These great callers are among the seven callers who will call at the Single Square Dancers USA Dance-A-Rama festival on Labor Day weekend (September 4-6, 2015) in Grand Rapids, MI. The other callers, who have already been featured here, are: Ray Wiles (this month), Don and Doug Sprosty (April) and Jimmy Robison (March). Two of the cuers at the DAR have also been featured previously: Phyllis & Doug Burdette (April 2012) and Natalie Sprosty (this April). To see the past biographies and photos of these and many other callers and cuers who perform locally, click on the Our Caller's Stories tab, either here or at the top of the page.