As a dancer, I make a pretty good volleyball player.
Dance has never been my thing. Sure, I did the obligatory square dance lessons in grade school (at least, in Texas, they were obligatory). But ballet didn’t take and in high school the drill team wasn’t exactly beating a path to my door, begging me to join. I’ve never even watched much dance, unless you count occasional episodes of Dancing with the Stars.
But the food-and-beer part sounded fun, so we cheerfully packed our cooler last weekend and headed out to Blanco, Texas, to hang out with friends.
The little dance hall was on a scenic piece of property near the Blanco River in the Texas Hill Country. People came from all over for the event and erected a tent city beneath the oak trees surrounding the building.
When we arrived the barbeque pits were ablaze, dance lessons were in full swing, and many of the guests were well on their way to being… in a very festive mood. I immediately noticed all the boots. Big boots, small boots, fancy boots, plain boots. I saw boots on children barely old enough to walk. Also, lots calico dresses and twirly skirts. But there was an Austin flavor to it all, so plenty of cutoffs and flip-flops in the mix, too. Right at dusk, the band started playing and we were lured into the dance hall by the deep twang of the upright bass. Kids crowded near the stage, trying to get a look at the steel guitar.
Texas swing music is influenced by many styles, including big band, jazz, and country. It became popular in Austin during the 1970s with the help of celebrities such as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and the band Asleep at the Wheel. Until this weekend, I had never heard the music played live before. As I watched people twirling and spinning around the dance floor (and, yes, I jumped in for a few songs! I can at least do the Texas Two-Step) I got caught up in the fun of it. If you’ve never had a chance to watch swing dancing, it’s very entertaining.
What about you? When was the last time you put on your dancing shoes?