Basic, Mainstream - Tuesdays 8:00-10:00 pm (Class 7:00-8:00 pm), Hantsport Legion, Hantsport
(Not dancing on November 4, 11, & 18 )
Caller: Mary Dunlop
Contact: Larry & Mary Dunlop
1056 Harmony road
R. R. # 5 Kingston, NS B0P 1R0 (902) 847-3782 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hightide Twirlers was formed in the Fall of 1982 by Basil Griffin, a Kentville native, and wife Mattie. After serving in World War II, Basil moved to Ontario where he spent the next thirty years. Basil and Mattie were involved in square dancing, and on retiring in 1979 they moved back to Nova Scotia and joined the Haley dancers of Kentville. In the Summer of 1982 they went to Callers' School and after graduation set out to find fun loving people to turn into square dancers. This new club was caller run and the Avonport Elementary School was chosen as a place to Dance. Dancers were found, early in October instruction began; the club needed a name and after careful examination of the sixteen names suggested by the group, the name Hightide Twirlers submitted by Ruth Carr was adopted.
On 10th May 1983 eight couples received a square dance certificate, "having completed the basic and extended basic levels to the satisfaction of their caller are now qualified to be called square dancers." The first graduates were Stewart & Gladys McCann, Bob & Maxine Hunter, Arthur & Edith Parken, Ken & Judy Carr, Jack & Ruth Carr, Joe & Eudora Patterson, Annie Bird, Bill Pulsifer, Gilbert Veino, and Gloria Kenney. Angels for that first class were Bob & Betty Dechman from the Haley Dancers of Kentville, and they received honorary membership in the club.
May 8, 1984, the second graduating class at Avonport School produced thirteen couples with certificates in basic and extended basics. The first class was learning mainstream dancing on another night, and the club was now a mainstream club.
Three squares of dancers joined the club at the 1985 graduating exercises. The graduating celebrations for 1986 were held at the Windsor Regional High School on May 9th, when nineteen new members received square dance certificates; with this addition the club had a membership of eighty four, one of the largest in Nova Scotia.
Along with the graduating class of 1988 the club had a change of Callers as the Griffins turned the club over to Ken and Marion Atkinson of New Minas. Basil, with failing eyesight, decided to call it quits. The club had grown to 58 couples. The Griffins could now retire and spend the winters in Arizona.
With Ken and Marion Atkinson at the helm for the next nine fun filled years, the club prospered and gained in membership; some members went on to a higher level of dancing. The Atkinsons formed a plus club named the Annapolis Valley Promenaders. They met every two weeks in New Minas and the club was open to all the clubs in the valley. Several couples from the Hightide Twirlers were graduates.
In 1997 with Ken's health failing, he too decided to hang up the mike, and retire. The search was on to find a new caller, and one was found in the person of Mary Dunlop, "taw Larry" of Kingston. She was invited to call on two occasions; the members liked what they saw and heard, and she was unanimously accepted into the club. Mary Dunlop is no stranger to dance; she has been teaching clogging, step, and other dances to the young people in the Valley area for a number of years. Her dancing experience goes back to the time when she was a member of the Don Messer dance troop.
The club moved to the Legion Hall at Hantsport in 1997, where dancing is held every Tuesday night with class at 1900 hours and mainstream at 2000 hours.