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The Motivators Square Dance Club

(Early 1980s — 2015)
Page Last updated: November 2017

Dancing at Harmony Hall
Dancing at Harmony Hall
Motivators Banner
Motivators Banner
Sam Philipps at Harmony Hall
Club Founder and Caller
Sam Philipps at
Harmony Hall
Circa 2010

This is a brief history of the Motivators square dance club, in its time the only Advanced level square dance club affiliated with the COCDC.

In the early 1980s Sam Philipps (then a budding plus-level square dance caller), along with his wife Barb, took Advanced lessons from Web Mills. The possibilities of Advanced dancing intrigued Sam, and taking a cue from his earlier entrance into calling, Sam offered to instruct an Advanced class at the Granville Baptist Church in Granville, Ohio, in order to develop his own skills as an A-level caller. The graduates of that class became the founding members of our Motivators square dance club.

The club grew throughout the 1980s, and in the early 1990s, Sam, who was by that time the club caller for several local clubs, decided to have a dance hall built to his specifications on a tract of land he owned at Buckeye Lakes. The facility incorporated many features which made it ideal for dancing, including excellent acoustics, superior lighting, air conditioning, and a spacious hardwood dance floor. It was christened Harmony Hall. The first dance was held at Harmony Hall on New Years Eve, 1992, and the Motivators moved from Granville Baptist Church to the new hall in early 1993.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the Motivators met twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday evenings. The club was quite robust during this period, often supporting four squares on the dance floor, and drawing regulars from as far away as Zanesville, Portsmouth, and Cincinnati. Advanced classes were occasionally taught on alternating Tuesdays during the winter months if there was sufficient interest.

Caller Eddie Powell
Eddie Powell, who took
over briefly as club caller
after Sam's death

By the 2010s, our membership was getting older. Many of our members had retired and become snow-birds, leaving central Ohio for points south during the cold months, which resulted in a decline in our winter dance attendance. At the same time, Sam began paring back his calling schedule, reducing the Motivator's summer dance schedule to one dance per month so that he and his second wife Shirley had more time to travel. However, Sam continued to enjoy his role as club caller. He once claimed that he had planned to retire from calling when he reached age 80, but had decided that calling kept him young. And, indeed, Sam remained an active caller until the month before he passed away in October, 2014.

With Sam's passing, our members met and initially decided we wanted to continue as a club. We transferred the helm to the control of local caller Eddie Powell, who had expressed an interest in leading the club, and we moved our dance nights to the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays to accommodate his schedule. However, participation in the club languished after Sam's death and the club was quietly disbanded in 2015.