Steamboat country swing dancers light up the floor
December 24, 2010
Lucky Mosher thinks he might have given more than 100 impromptu two-step classes, lessons he gives to any girl or woman who answers "yes" to his almost undeniable requests to dance.
"I can't dance solo," he said. "It feels too unnatural. I see people out there dancing solo to rap and hip-hop, and it looks like they're having a seizure."
Instead, with a firm grasp and sure feet, he can whirl any woman across the dance floor, uttering the "one, two, one, two" count over the twang of country music.
Mosher, a lifelong Yampa Valley resident, is one of a core group of about 15 Steamboat Springs residents who get together for country swing and line dancing Tuesdays at locations across town.
This Tuesday, the group will be found dancing streaks around Ghost Ranch Saloon to local band Loose Change.
From 8 to 10 p.m. Jan. 4, group organizers Holly and Matt Blanchard will give a quick lesson in the West Coast Swing before an open dancing session at Ghost Ranch.
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"Dancing is just a great activity," said Holly Blanchard, who has been dancing with her husband for 20 years. "It's great recreation, good exercise, and the country music is a part of our heritage."
The smiles on each dancer's face this past Tuesday at Ghost Ranch Saloon gave away the charm of country dancing.
Hardly anyone was drinking alcohol, but many guzzled water between songs. Matt Blanchard ran the DJ booth, and everyone knew everyone else's names as they traded partners to waltz, cha-cha and swing.
"It's like when you're a little
kid and you're playing so hard
that you don't have to think about anything," Holly Blanchard said. "It's hard-core play."
And one doesn't have to be paired up to be welcome on the dance floor.
The group usually consists of about three couples; the rest were singles who came on their own. Farely was anyone without a partner.
Ann Perry, a local interior designer, has been coming to country dancing nights alone for about a year.
"It's much easier to fit into as a single woman," Perry said about the country dancing scene. "The men we dance with, they're gentlemen. They're all about the dancing.
"There are women a lot of men might not want to dance with. These men will dance with them."
Steamboat Springs High School senior Hayley Brookshire and Colorado Mountain College freshman Drew O'Donnell started coming to the country dancing nights less than a year ago.
"We've met a lot of friends," Brookshire said. "Everyone's so accepting."
The pair started by taking classes at Colorado Mountain College and then started attending Tuesday night sessions and learning from dancers including ballet-trained Don Miles and the Blanchards.
The rest of the country dancers said they taught the pair a few moves and Brookshire and O'Donnell ran with it. They even performed some aerial lifts at the end of the night Tuesday.
"We're addicted," Brookshire said.
As each song came to a close at Ghost Ranch Saloon on Tuesday night, there was one particular move that could effectively signal the end of the dance.
A man would ask his partner, "Are you ready for the dip?"
Then, with a hair whip and a smile, the woman would arc toward the floor for the finish.
"I love it," Perry said. "It's my favorite night of the week. I'm always smiling when I'm dancing."
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