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RACINE COUNTY — Retired educators Julie Krautkramer and Kate Martin, along with their husbands, have traded teaching in the classrooms for teaching people to Do-Si-Do around Southeastern Wisconsin.

Do-Si-Do to go
Credit: Do-Si-Do to go

These couples are on a mission to share their love for square dancing while providing an inclusive space for people to learn how to Do-Si-Do in a nontraditional sense through pop-up experiences.

“We are a little bit unconventional with our square dancing, but we are square dancers,” says Krautkramer.

The group that teaches a number of dances welcomes anyone and everyone to join in on the fun.

Non-traditional and inclusive

“People generally dance in groups of eight in the shape of a square which is where it gets its term from,” explains Julie about square dancing.

Unlike traditional square dancing, “Do-Si-Do to go” gets down to country, hip-hop and other genres too.

“There are no dress requirements, which is one of the things that I think separates us from traditional square dancing, we have no specific clothing expectations. We just want people to have fun,” shares Julie.

“We make inclusivity a priority. We want all to know that they are invited to enjoy the ‘Do-Si-Do to go’ experience including those from the LGBTQ community,” shares Kate.

The couples connect

Do-Si-Do to go
Credit: Do-Si-Do to go

Julie and her husband Mike have been dancing since they were in their 20s, even in a competitive setting.

Mike has even earned his way to the top as a regional caller, also known as the one who directs the dancers and their moves.

He was a caller for various clubs such as Circle 8 in Racine and other groups in Kenosha and Milwaukee.

After a lifetime of moving and grooving, traveling the Midwest, and working their way through the many different levels of square dancing and calling, the couple was ready to retire.

Just when the Krautkramers thought they were putting away their dancing shoes, Martin pulled new life out of the seasoned square dancers.

Do-Si-Do to go
Credit: Do-Si-Do to go

At Mike’s retirement party, Kate showed up to watch the couple dance and that’s when she decided to get her toes wet.

While the inception of this group ultimately started in 2019, it wasn’t until recently that the group has taken off, due to safer circumstances with regards to COVID-19.

Getting people going

Now, Kate and her husband, Jim Bemis, are well-versed and helping others to learn how to get their move on, too.

“For me, it was intimidating and I never wanted to join the club so-to-speak, you know how you just want to try it, but you don’t want to maybe make it your life?” says Kate.

Kate had the vision and together the four brought square dancing skills and a good time together.

Do-Si-Do to go
Credit: Do-Si-Do to go

The group collaborated to bring parties to backyards and to different venues around Southeastern Wisconsin where you can catch Mike calling and Julie DJ-ing, while Kate and Jim perform.

“We say we prefer beginners because, like myself, I just wanted to learn a few steps and really have fun with it,” shares Kate.

They get goofy with it, bring along tutus, and share comfort foods with those that welcome the “Do-Si-Do to go” crew into their backyards. You can hear the couples sing, play the harmonica, and mix music.

The lessons morph into a good time that caters to the environment in which the “Do-Si-Do to go” group is immersed.

“We expect people to make mistakes and they laugh and it’s half the fun is making mistakes, so there really is no pressure, no expectation. If you know your left from your right, you can do this,” comments Julie.

Catch ‘Do-Si-Do to go’ in action

“As of recently, all of a sudden, the interest is starting to pick up,” shares Julie.

Do-Si-Do to go
Credit: Do-Si-Do to go

Get a taste of “Do-Si-Do to go” for free at this upcoming First Fridays on Aug 4.

The group will have a short expo for people to learn and participate in, in addition to listening to music from Empty Bottle Boys and One Shot Jane.

In addition, those interested can participate in their upcoming event at Third Space Brewing, 1505 W. St. Paul Ave. on Aug. 11 at 6 p.m.

Tickets are available for $10 in advance.

For additional information visit the group’s Facebook page to learn about pop-up events and ways to have a rootin’-tootin’ good time.

Want to get involved in square dancing? Visit the Square Dancing Association of Wisconsin.

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