A retired Bismarck couple who have been square dancing together for nearly three decades are dancing across the country for the third time.
Mark and Bina Krebsbach have square danced in all 50 states twice and have 44 states left on their current tour.
“Our goal is to drive or to dance in a different state every day,” said Mark, talking about the couple's two-week “drive-a-bouts.”
Square dancing involves four couples forming a square, with a caller giving “tips” or directions of what the dancers need to do. Most square dance events last about 2 ½ hours.
“We have friends in every state, and now that we’ve done this more than once, a lot of times we meet those same people,” Bina said.
The couple started dancing together and taking lessons in 1990. “The square dancing is what really brought us together,” Bina said.
The two started traveling the United States when they heard of the United Square Dancers of America travelers program, which promotes “visitation between dancers in all 50 states,” according to the group's website.
“There’s only been one other couple in the whole world who have completed dancing in all 50 states three times,” Mark said.
The Krebsbachs' first tour around the United States began about five years ago and took about three years to complete, with some trips taking days and others weeks or months. Their second tour, which ended in February, took two years and three months to complete.
The first time they toured, a caller in North Dakota was hosting a bus tour to Massachusetts, so they were able to attend square dancing events in 21 states within 10 days.
Now that they are both vice presidents of the United Square Dancers of America, they are assigned 13 states to visit once a year, so they are able to dance in those in only one or two trips.
Most of the time they drive from dance to dance, but sometimes they fly and rent a car.
Square dancing events are typically on weekends, so it is difficult for them to dance every day.
“A lot of time is spent driving from one state to another,” Bina said.
Square dancing is typically more popular from September to May, since people tend to travel during the summer months. The Krebsbachs take July as a vacation month from the tours. In August they plan to start again with Illinois, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
To verify they have been to square dancing events in all 50 states, they fill out a form including the name of each club, the date and the state, and a club officer or caller needs to sign.
They’re not allowed to start another tour until the first is completed, to keep them from dancing twice in one state and saying it counts for two tours.
The Krebsbachs are a part of Belles ‘N Beaux, a Bismarck square dancing club that's hoping to start dancing lessons this fall. They encourage younger people to get involved in square dancing to break the idea of it being for older people.
“It’s just wonderful exercise and keeps you healthy and strong,” Bina said.