It’s time to swing your partner and “do-si-do” as a national square dancing group is holding its annual Dance-A-Rama in central Iowa this weekend.

Jo Saffell of Urbandale is part of the Merry Mixers Square Dance Club which is hosting about 600 dancers from across the U.S. and Canada through Sunday.

“There’ll be all forms of square dancing, all levels, there’ll be all levels of round dancing, which is choreographed ballroom dancing, and that includes the Latins,” Saffell says. “We will have line dancing, contra dancing.”

The national group is called Single Square Dancers USA and they target unmarried dancers, but married couples are welcome to join in as well.

She says a series of four workshops will be open to the public that will only cost five dollars for the set. They get training in four kinds of dance, including salsa, square and round dancing — four and a half hours of lessons for five bucks.

While some of us may have learned how to square dance in elementary school, that’s known as the “hoe-down” style of square dancing. Saffell says they do “western” square dancing where you won’t likely hear a fiddle and banjo.

“They use up-to-date music, in fact, one of the callers said to put him down for ‘alternative’ music, so he could use music off the shelf…and call to it,” she says.

The event is being held at the Airport Holiday Inn Conference Center in Des Moines. Learn more at: