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Love of dance leads to honor

Denton resident Toby Thomason has joined the ranks of an elite group of Texans, and we want to congratulate him on the achievement.

Square dancers from throughout the area came to the Denton Civic Center recently to celebrate Thomason’s induction into the Texas Callers’ Hall of Fame.

Mike Bramlett, a hall of famer who announced the news, said it’s a sobering honor to be inducted because members are selected by their peers. Not everyone who gets nominated makes the cut.

A caller has to have called dances for at least 25 years, met professional and leadership conduct standards and taught at least 300 students the national folk dance to be considered.

Bramlett praised Thomason for his dedication to square dancing, a form that is part formula and part art.

Thomason told us that the induction was a complete surprise. He got tears in his eyes at the caller’s stage when he saw his extended family walking down the Civic Center floor to line up behind a banner with his name on it.

Thomason said the simple joys of square dancing have kept him calling for more than 40 years.

“I tell everyone the same thing. There are three main reasons to square dance: food, fellowship and fun. Everyone will learn to dance at some point. And if you mess up, no one cares,” Thomason said.

His experience includes serving as president of the North Texas Callers Association from 1979 to 2007 and president of the Texas State Callers Association from 1987 to 1988. He has called dances for 43 years, not only in Texas but also in New Mexico and Colorado. He has called for the Triangle Squares, a Denton area dance club, for 38 years.

That’s an impressive record, and Thomason has won a lot of new fans for square dancing through the years. More information about the Triangle Squares can be found at

Thomason said he especially loves the wholesome atmosphere of square dances. The night he was honored, the event kicked off with the Pledge of Allegiance and a sober chorus of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

There is no drinking and no drugs at the events, Thomason said, and in 43 years, he’s only seen one man get rowdy at a dance.

Someone once said that the secret to success is doing what you love, and Toby Thomason proves the point.

“I just love doing it,” he said.

Thomason has long shared his interest in square dancing with others, and a lot of lucky folks have gone along for the ride, making good friends and having a lot of fun in the process.

We’d call that a high calling.