Who wants to jitterbug?

Julie Frank

Julie Frank

Do not be surprised if one day while strolling through Main Street in The Union, a white-haired man pulls you over to dance.

He will say, “Left, right, quick quick,” and before you know it, you will be doing the fox trot. Not long after that, he will have you dancing the waltz, polka and maybe even a little bit of the jitterbug.

After all, that is his goal.

Dale Pettyjohn, a South Dakota State University graduate, has been ballroom dancing for 50 years, and now he is bringing his skills to SDSU students.

“I teach every dance I go to, every lady I get a hold of, I teach them a step,” he said.

Pettyjohn learned ballroom dancing by watching other people, and attends five to seven dances a week. He taught dancing lessons this past September at SDSU. With a turnout of 120 students in four sessions, he will return in November for an additional seven sessions.

Open to all students and faculty, the sessions include the basic steps for the fox trot, waltz, polka and the jitterbug.

The sessions are scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in The Union.

“There is no need to be self-conscious when it comes to dance lessons,” said Pettyjohn. “The hardest part about dancing is getting the boys on the floor.”

Anyone interested just needs to show up. All lessons are free.

People don’t need to attend all sessions in order to participate.

“Students learn more in one night than I did in one year,” said Pettyjohn.

He also said students with dancing skills “can go any place and dance.”

The lessons are also “good exercise,” and are “something you can do together and something you can do for a lifetime.”

If 1,000 students (at least 500 of them men) attend the dancing sessions, Pettyjohn has considered having a “prom.”

For a small cost, the event would include an 18-piece band from Watertown and a chance for dancers to show off their new moves.

“I do not care how people dance as long as they get on the floor, they can even walk to it,” Pettyjohn said.

#1.884072:2303686930.jpg:ballroomdancing01.jpg:Lauren Bushong, a sophomore nutrition major, and Tanner Cornay, sophomore sociology major, attended the Ballroom Dancing session in VBR Sept. 25 evening.: