CLEAR LAKE — Steve Wilson of Pine City, Minn., did his best to slide together, step back and turn with the rest of the group learning the British Stroll on Thursday at the Surf Ballroom.

A feature of the Winter Dance Party for several years, the Thursday morning dance lessons enable novice dancers to learn popular Fifties dance steps and more experienced dancers to brush up on their skills.

“It’s a little confusing but we’re getting there,” said Wilson, 46, who with his dark hair, height and slender build even looked a little like Buddy Holly out on the dance floor.

It was the second year he, his wife, Laura, and other family members had come to the Dance Party, Wilson said. Although too young to remember Buddy Holly, they grew up loving Fifties music.

Elizabeth Ray, 53, of Cedar Rapids, said she, too, has always loved the music and comes to the Winter Dance Party every year.

“People from all over the world come here,” she said.

This year she and her husband have invited friends from Binghamton, N.Y., and Washington, D.C., who were arriving soon.

Mason City residents Jim Hoverman and Mary Pat Cole came to brush up on their dance skills.

“I remember doing the Stroll years ago, but it wasn’t like this,” said Hoverman, 70, who recently moved back to Iowa from Connecticut.

“This is our music,” he said. “It’s just been a big desert since rock ‘n roll.”

Floyd resident Margaret Majerszyk, a native of Liverpool, England, helped dance instructor Amy McNace of Boone take the approximately 50 dancers through their paces.

“There’s a big difference between the British Stroll and the American Stroll,” Majerszyk, 68, said.

The American version was done in two dance lines, one for men, one for women, she said. The British version is more of a group dance.

“It really is nice for people who don’t have a partner.”

Other dances that were being taught were the Jive, the Hop, the Charleston, the Boogie and the Surf Strut, a dance Majerszyk and McNace created in honor of the Winter Dance Party.

“I think it’s great that people want to learn and want to be a part of this weekend,” Majerszyk said, as she looked over the ballroom floor. “That’s what it’s all about.”


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