It's a weekly tradition for the Hoedowners. Every Wednesday, the Marshfield club gets together to square dance. But this past Wednesday was no ordinary dance lesson. They honored their longtime caller with a dinner and night of do-si-do-ing.
"That means I direct people who are square dancing, " John Dittner said. "I give them the command and they perform the command."
Dittner has been at it for 50 years, "I can't believe I made it to 50 years," he reflected. Whether in Marshfield, across the state or even down in Texas, he calls for all levels and ages of dancers.
"It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of study, a lot of concentration and I guess a lot of stamina," Dittner said.
Doing anything for half a century is impressive, but doing it as well as he does is something few people can accomplish.
"When he goes through lessons, he works very hard to get people to understand the movement correctly and doesn't take short cuts to make everybody a better dancer that way," said Terry Prust, the Hoedowners' club president.
Prust says Dittner works hard to keep the dance interesting for everyone.
"You'll see most square dancing with four couples to a square," Prust said. "He'll call a dance where we have six couple to a square. He does things that are called tandem squares, asymmetric squares."
Those at the celebration Wednesday night appreciate Dittner's devotion to the dance. More than 150 people came out to honor the man with the mic, some he hadn't seen in 15 years.
"I just can't express what it means," Dittner said. "It's just unreal. There's no words to express it."
The Hoedowners start lessons every January. If you'd like to square dance, you can come by the Town of Lincoln Town Hall every Wednesday from 7:30-9:30p.m.
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