Jennie Jones was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, went to college at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, then moved to New York to find a job in textile design. These days she is Creative Director at Liora Manné, the innovative design company that specializes in home furnishing textiles for everything from indoor and outdoor furniture to pillows to rugs to wall furnishings.
Asked about her prior experience with square dancing, Jennie replied, “Only in grammar school (shocker!).” She learned about Times Squares from a good friend of hers named Jorge, who lives in Austin, Texas. “He had been doing it there for a few years, and encouraged me to try it. He also sent me a link to your website,” she said. “Jorge told me how much fun he had been having and how nice the square dancing community was. I thought I’d give it a go. He also encouraged my mom Terry to try it out, so it seemed like a nice way to spend more time with mom, as well as get some exercise and learn something new.” [For more about Jennie’s mother Terry Ellen Smith, also a graduate of Times Squares’ 2017 Mainstream class, see Terry’s own profile.]
Jennie found the Mainstream class both challenging and fun. “Some days things click, and on others not so much,” she remarked. “But when you get in the groove and can follow along without a misstep, it feels very rewarding.” She added: “I’m surprised at how huge the following is. Who knew this whole other world was here?”
Asked if she felt welcomed by Times Squares members, she said, “Absolutely! The people I’ve met at Times Squares are the nicest, warmest, and funniest people. I’ve never felt unwelcome.” As for enjoying the physical and mental exercise square dancing offers, she said, “Yes, I do enjoy it. Much more exciting than a treadmill.”
Originally from San Francisco, but having lived here long enough to consider herself “almost a New Yorker,” Marina is an actress and playwright, with more than a few productions to her credit. Her only previous experience square dancing was, like for most of us, as a child in school. She learned about Times Squares through the Internet. Asked what personally brought her to our club, she answered: “I wrote a play called The Swinging Nun. I wanted to do some background research on square dancing, and fell in love with it!” And asked for her response to learning the Mainstream calls, she replied, “I love being able to know more calls and dance longer tips. It was definitely challenging to learn those calls, but so worth the mental effort. I’m looking forward to learning more calls and getting better with the calls I know now.”
Asked if anything about square dancing surprised her, Marina answered, “How much fun I’m having. And what a thorough workout it is. My legs feel it when I’m done, and so does my brain.”
Marina feels welcomed by the extended family that comprises Times Squares, remarking, “That’s the main reason I like it so much. The group welcomed me from the start, and everyone is such a kick to be around. The atmosphere is inviting, people want to help you learn, and no one makes you feel like you can’t do it or are wrong if you goof up. Laughter abounds, which is a a very good and helpful tool for learning. And you don’t mess around, but get started dancing right away, improving every single time you attend.”
Terry was born in Buffalo, New York, and came to the New York City area in 1965 for the World’s Fair. She lived on Long Island for a while before moving into the city. Professionally she worked as a nurse.
Like many Times Squares members, her only prior experience with square dancing was in grade school. Asked how she heard about Times Squares, she replied: “From my daughter’s friend Jorge. He dances with the Lone Star Lambdas in Austin, Texas. And I came to Times Squares with my daughter for lessons.” [For more about her daughter Jennie Jones, see Jennie’s own profile.]
Terry said she finds square dancing “fun, and much more challenging than I thought it would be. I’m surprised at how much I love it.” Asked to comment on whether she has felt welcomed at Times Squares, she replied, “I’m overwhelmed by the love, acceptance, and amazing people at the club. I look forward to every positive aspect that square dancing provides. I can’t talk it up enough.”
“Meet our Members” is a new occasional feature on our website that will let you get to know your fellow club members better. We’re starting with the most recent Mainstream class.
Corinne is a born and bred Manhattanite, commenting: “I grew up on the East Side, but moved to the West Side as soon as I could. Why did I move? I found the East Side too homogeneous.” Although now retired, she worked in higher education administration at all the major universities in New York City, the longest period being for Columbia University. Asked if she had any experience square dancing prior to Times Squares, she said, “Absolutely none.” She heard about our club through a friend, long-time square dancer and Times Squares’ member Tom Alamo. But what brought her to the Mainstream class was retirement: “These days I have more time to do other things, to try new activities like square dancing. I thought it would be fun and get me out and about, meeting new people.”
Corinne finds square dancing “indeed very challenging to learn all the calls.” But, she continued: “As a new dancer, I find putting them together in a dance to be the most difficult part of it. However, it’s a whole lot of fun, and I‘m slowly learning the calls. Repetition is good for a newcomer. Having dances to go to in addition to class is also great for someone just learning.”
Asked if anything about square dancing has surprised her, she said, “How difficult it is. Very challenging. But once I ‘get it,’ it will be so much fun.” She has felt welcomed into the extended family of Times Squares, stating: “The club and the people are wonderful, helpful, and nice. They make learning fun, and that’s what I’m looking for. I just wish my problems with my back and neck would go away so I could enjoy dancing for longer periods at a time.”