STARDUSTERS
Mainstream & Ph II Rounds - Thursdays 8:00-10:00 pm, South Woodside Community Centre, 5 Everett St., Dartmouth
Caller/Cuer: Kerry Fletcher   kdf@ns.sympatico.ca

The Benny Slade's Stardusters Square Dance Club was founded September, 1969. The idea for the Stardusters Square Dance Club was formed when Benny Slade worked at Harbour Motors on Main Street, Dartmouth. For their grand opening, Benny arranged for five couples from the Tartan Twirlers to invite the public to dance with them. From this gathering four- and one-half squares of dancers formed the first class. Dances were held at St. Johns Hall, Westphal on Saturday evenings.

The original Starduster's badge, chosen by the first group of dancers, was black with white markings. The new graduates were welcomed into the club with a candlelight ceremony and were presented with square dance diplomas and club badges. This practice continues today.

In June of 1970, the club badge was changed to have a blue background with white markings. This badge is still worn by club members today.

In the beginning Benny's wife, Norma, was responsible for the refreshments for all the dances. It was during the Dartmouth Winter Carnival when her idea of beans and brown bread was born. Norma and her sister-in-law, Gwen Crawford, supplied the first Bean Supper.

In 1974, Benny had to resign as caller due to his loss of eyesight. At that time John Essex and his wife, Fran, became the Stardusters new caller couple. John continued to call for the Stardusters until 1980 when he moved to Amherst.

In 1979, Stardusters celebrated their 10th anniversary and the club members opted to have a club dress designed by one of their club members, Margaret Kidson. Margaret used several patterns to design this dress. The bodice was blue with white tucks in a V-neck line, white three quarter length puffed sleeves, white circle skirt with Stardusters, scrolls and stars painted in blue. The men wore white shirts, blue ties, and blue pants to complete the ensemble. This outfit was modeled at the 4th National Convention in Winnipeg, Manitoba on August 23-24, 1984. Our club dress is known worldwide.

In 1977, Wade Savage came to call with the Stardusters class under the direction of John & Fran Essex. In 1980 when John moved to Amherst, Wade and his brother, Mark, took over calling for both the Club and Class. They called until 1987 when they left the Stardusters to form their own club, The Fun Squares. For the next year and a half Stuart Brink (wife Debbie) called for the Stardusters. When Stuart's job took him to Ottawa the Stardusters were fortunate that another caller, Gerry O'Hara, with his wife, Bev, were living in the area. Gerry called for the Stardusters for the next three years. He was also the caller for another group known as the Classy Classmates.

In 1989 the Stardusters celebrated their 20th anniversary at the Finlay community center. A delicious pot luck supper was provided by the members of the club. Benny & Norma Slade (founders of the club) were guest speakers. The festivities were followed by an evening of dancing with caller Gerry O'Hara.

In 1990, The Stardusters acquired Kerry Fletcher to call for their Club dances and Bruce Savage for the Class. Bruce called for the class from 1990-1995. Bruce then joined his brother, Mark, as caller for the Fun Squares Dance Club. Kerry Fletcher has called for both the class and club since that time.

In November 2000, the Stardusters' celebrated their 30th year as a square dance club. At that time, the club recorded a membership of more than 120. You could always anticipate a turnout of at least six squares of enthusiastic dancers every Thursday night between the months of September and May. Since that time, due to ill health and deaths, membership has dwindled to its present level of twenty-four members. We continue to offer square dance classes for new participants, however, we have been finding it difficult to attract new members.

Every Thursday evening between September and May, visitors are always welcome to a night of square Dancing at the Mainstream level. Lunch nights are regularly scheduled for the 3rd Thursday of each month.

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