Learning to Dance Again

07 Feb

In the last twenty-five years, my dancing has been limited to rocking my babies to sleep and the occasional untoward burst of enthusiasm during a house-cleaning binge (Rockin’ Robin is my song du jour for those moments).

Until January 20, 2012.

On that fateful Friday evening, I was out and about with a friend. We stopped by The Buffalo Club – a lovely little country/western bar in Boise (more about the BC in a moment).

I danced.

Not me. Really. And not country two-step or swing.

A range of interesting characters kindly gave me the chance to try out

the old moves . . . several versions of west coast swing (I’m guessin’ we could name them, but I’m not sure they could be replicated), two-steps, and even a waltz.

I discovered my moves were indeed ‘old’. But the setting. The floor vibrated with each stomped turn of ‘Copperhead Road’, and hummed with the light, fast footwork of a country two-step. The scratchy old sound system couldn’t drown out the laughter or shouts of encouragement at a particularly athletic maneuver.  Faded wisps of men’s cologne, slapped on hours before, chased the lingering remains of decades of smoke, now banned (cheers for the city council). Let me just say it sparked treasured memories of giddy flirtations, stolen kisses and lost loves.

 I won’t stop.

Yep. This is it, except for his silly tennis shoes and her ballet flats. Seriously people?

So, I’m taking lessons, free for now, but if I’m gonna ‘kick it up a notch’ (pun intended), I may have to spring for a private lesson. Apparently, according to a charming 5000-year-old gentleman sporting an impressive snowy handlebar, I have ‘your dang, pardon my french, leading issues’ like all the other ‘young girls today’.

So what if it strikes at the core of my feminist heart . . . I’m all atwitter at being a ‘young girl’. Still – I suppose from his vantage – nah, I’m still gonna own it.

We have Idaho Swing Dancers, the Idaho Country Western Dance Association affiliated with national National Fast Dance Association, the Treasure Valley Country Western Dance Association and a myriad of private instructors, Irish steppers, and ballroom aficionados.  For now, I’m at the Buffalo Club every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7:30 to 8:30p following every word of the very patient instructors. This is a safe time . . . several hours before the cops show up.

I had no idea how extensive this community was. I’ve met so many kind and friendly people (except for the horsey diva with the big hair and fake boobs who stared me down the other day), picked up a whole variety of new words and phrases for dialogue. I can’t share the dialogue in this forum, but ya gotta love a cowboy.

Sexiest. Men. Alive.

Trust me on this. And, blessed geography means most live in Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming, only a few have horses – er, I mean girlfriends – several are Josh Turner clones, and best of all ….

They dance.


Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Idaho


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17 responses to “Learning to Dance Again

  1. Janis

    February 7, 2012 at 6:07 AM

    Liz, one of my decades-old dreams has been to take ballroom dancing with the love of my life. The catch is said LOML hasn’t shown up. I might have to adjust my dream to include just plain fun!

    • Liz Fredericks

      February 7, 2012 at 8:03 AM

      Do adjust your dream on that Janis! I’m doing this sans partner and the motto on the local circuit seems to be ‘everyone gets to dance’ so even if I’m alone, I’m really not.

  2. Johanna Harness

    February 7, 2012 at 6:09 AM

    Thanks for this, Liz. There was a time in my life when I spent every evening on the smooth dance floor at the back of a smoky bar. The older places have a magic to them.

  3. Liz Fredericks

    February 7, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    Ahh Johanna, something told me you had those same experiences. Stephanie’s blog last week brought some vivid memories, and you’ve contributed hugely to sharing what it’s like to grow up and live in Idaho. It can be magic.

  4. ramblingsfromtheleft

    February 7, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    Liz, the waft of dreams gone by, like the old smoke, may get old but never they fade. I love this post, your marvelous descriptions of how you were “hooked” on the dance and most of all, I have a weakness for cowboys. Brooklyn born and bred, Manhattan retred and transplanted New Yorker, there haven’t been too many real cowboys in my life.

    Happily, my dad, a naturalized Italian, taught me dancing at a very early age. He was also a cowboy nut and I sat through thousands of hours of old cowboy movies and every single cowboy TV show!! Little known fact: New York had two major country and western radio channels until the 80’s … they still sport country and western dance clubs.

    Thanks for the memories and the inspiration. I havent forgotten my moves, from ballroom, to Latin to rock ‘n roll, this gal even entered competitions. When my old bones don’t protest, I still use music and dance as a workout. Now I might have to gather my courage and hunt down some clubs and get with the real thing once more 🙂

  5. Liz Fredericks

    February 7, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    I knew you’d have ‘moves’! Latin really impresses me – that’s hard. Ok, now I’ll be reading your blog to hear more about the ‘Adventures of Florence Dancing through NY’.

  6. Peggy Staggs

    February 7, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Count me in. I’m all ready for the BC and all the fun.

  7. Liz Fredericks

    February 7, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    You got it! Bring boots. 😉

  8. Mary Vine

    February 7, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    I love slow dancing. I think it’s very romantic, so much so that my first two books each have a slow dance scene. A Place to Land is a contemporary western, so I (I mean my heroine) had a rich, hot rancher to dance with. Good for you for getting out there and enjoying yourself, instead of staying home and just writing 🙂

  9. Liz Fredericks

    February 7, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Thanks, Mary. I agree with you on the romance of dancing.

  10. Meredith Conner

    February 7, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Ah Liz, the romance and the descriptions swept me away. I love this post. I’m so happy you’ve got your groove on . . . and your boots. I love swing and line dancing. And really, who doesn’t love a cowboy?

    • Liz Fredericks

      February 7, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      Agreed, Meredith, agreed. I went to the lessons tonight and we ‘waltzed’ – too much fun.

  11. robin connelly

    February 7, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    I love dancing. I’ve tried a variety of styles–Swing dance, Belly Dance (Raq Shaki), Hip Hop, Ballet, Ballroom….
    Love it all.
    I love free styling it so I’m combining everything into my my step.
    Haven’t been able to afford dance lessons since High School unfortunately.

    • Liz Fredericks

      February 7, 2012 at 9:47 PM

      Robin, that’s the best part about these local groups. A lot of the lessons are free.

  12. Lynn Mapp

    February 7, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Sometimes it can’t be contained. You look up to the sky and you give in. You’ve got to dance.

  13. Liz Fredericks

    February 7, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Yep. Sometimes you have to dance . . . even if it means learning again.

  14. Clarissa Southwick

    February 8, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    What fun! Thanks for bringing it to life for us.


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