Giddy Up at Saddle Up

Cathy Vary has been putting a little “Boot Scootin’ Boogy” in the steps of aspiring line dancers for about 20 years now.

“Just to see a student go from never having danced in their life to being very good – it’s very rewarding,” said Vary, who teaches about 30 lessons a week, including 3 nights of lessons at Saddle Up Saloon in Aurora.

Vary knows more than 500 moves, letting her tailor each session to a specific audience. Her students range from age 6 to 98. Her advice for everyone of all skill level: “Just keep at it. Practice makes perfect.”

Vary says you don’t have to be a fan of country music to enjoy line dancing. Just ask 24 year-old Naperville resident Patrick Zywiek. “I never once thought I’d be line dancing. I wasn’t too into country music until I came here,” said Zywiek. “It’s a lot of fun. You can pick it up quickly if you come a few times. You feel like you’re a part of something.”

Now Zywiek even works at Saddle Up Saloon as a DJ, and on breaks, he slips on his dance shoes and cuts a rug.

As for Yorkville resident Sam Siemen, he’s lost more than 50 pounds in the last year after he joined in on the line-dancing each week.

“For the first couple of months we were sweating it out,” said Siemen. “But it’s been much better now. I feel like I’m in better shape now than I have been in a very long time.”

Line dancing also brings friends together. One group of moms who call themselves “The Wrestling Moms” first got together to watch their sons’ high school wrestling matches. But now every Wednesday, they hit the dance floor to pin down new moves.

“We just love dancing,” said Deb Needham, Naperville resident and founder of “The Wrestling Moms.” “It kind of takes me back to my college days.”

“Learning the dances is so easy,” said her friend Toni Tardy. “Just follow along with everybody else.”

And as for Cathy Vary, her greatest passion most benefits the person dearest to her. Vary’s job as a line dance instructor has paid for three open heart surgeries for her 14-year-old daughter. Alexis suffers from a congenital heart disease.

As for Vary, dancing also offers her a welcome distraction from her family’s health concerns while giving her opportunities to meet some great people.

“They’re all really wonderful,” said Vary. “They all have a special place in my heart.”

Cathy vary encourages anyone interested in learning line dancing to attend her free lessons at Saddle Up Saloon. She teaches every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm.

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Virtual FUNdraiser on Thursday, October 22 at 7 PM.

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