2006 – Irv “Toots” & Claire Tousignant (MA)

Like many of us, we were forced to start the Square Dance Activity.  In 1951 Claire and I started our Square Dance career with six lessons in Howard Switzer’s cellar.  In those days “Throw in the Clutch” and Smoke on the Water” were the challenge dances.  Then it was on to our first public dance at the Brockton Y.M.C.A. with the Hall-of-Famer, Charlie Baldwin.  The bug bit and went on and on for forty-one years.


          Our first ten years were spent dancing in and around the Brockton area.  One evening while supervising a group of about 100 children, (a Friday night activity for about four years at the East Side Improvement Association in Brockton) I was persuaded to start calling.  The caller there and my first coach, Pat Phillips, left about a year later and  asked me to carry on.  My teaching started with the help of Marie Hawes and a great group of guys  also looking for experience.  Getting together weekly at on of our houses were Lou Mincone, Arnie Kanash, Mel Sheppard, Jack Bright and John Chor.  We were invited to be on the staff at Square Acres in 1964.  This was where square dancers were born, and for 18 years Claire and I were teaching every Saturday night and sending out new dancers to the New England area.


          Upon completing a class in 1966, the group wanted to stay together.  Our club, The Cupid Squares, was started and for 30 years, until my retirement, I am proud to say I was their only club teacher and caller.  On May 19, 1996, with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat – retired.


          It has made me proud to have contributed so much for so long a time to our square dance activity.  The experience of having a class with “two left feet” start in September and then watching them kick up their heels at one of our local clubs or Square Acres Main (Loy) Hall, Kramers or The Canoe Club was great.  By June I knew my teaching had been successful.


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