The sawdust memories of four couples who dance together.
No, Virginia, it’s not just for rednecks anymore. Now, even Dallas’ haut monde are boot scooting across the sawdust-covered floors of country and western dance halls. ☆ Step aside, please, for dirty dancing of the ’90s: line dances like the "Achy Breaky," the "Tush Push" and "Twister," plus the Texas two-step, the three-step, the Fort Worth shuffle, and enough spins and twirls to make you dizzy. ☆ Dance lessons are jammed with folks topped with cowboy hats and big hair, but these days, there are just as many Annie Lennox look-alikes and Billy Ray Cyrus wannabes in the crowd. ☆ Country dancing may be the best way to meet people since video dating. And, even better, everybody’s doing it, from truck drivers to architects, housewives to account execs. Even the Dallas Country Club set is learning how to step and slide-last month, the DCC offered country dance lessons to its members before a Ray Wylie Hubbard concert. Beneath the oversized ballroom chandeliers you could hear the jingle of Chanel belts in motion. ☆ What’s the rationale behind the rage? Here are four couples who’ll tell you why they dance together every week.
Morris Morgan and Glenna Stone- Morgan
Morris and Glenna Stone-Morgan met at the now defunct Belle Starr eight years ago during a beginner’s country and western dancing class, and after a few months of dancing together, the pair got married. At Belle Starr.
"We met on the 25th of this month," says Morris, 51, smiling at Glenna, who is sitting on a barstool next to him.
Glenna. 46, who had never been to a country and western bar in her life. says her girlfriends talked her into going to Belle Starr that Sunday afternoon.
"He kicked me doing the line dance," she says, laughing, "and I just kicked him back."
Now the duo kicks up their heels every Sunday at Cowboys. "It’s the best thing you can do as a married couple," says Morris, grabbing Glenna’s hand and walking toward the dance floor.
Paul Oxenreider and Teressa Camp
After a woman left him standing on the dance floor in the middle of a song because he couldn’t dance, Paul Oxenreider vowed to learn the two-step.
Now it’s just one of the dances in his repertoire.
"It completely changed my life," says the 36-year-old chief mechanical engineer at Hellmush, Obata & Kassabaum in Dallas. "You go from having little or nothing to do in the evenings to packing all of your nights with lots of activity. I’ve met lots of friends while dancing."
One of whom is his current dancing partner, Teressa Camp, 31. The pair has been dancing together about six months.
"I’ve always been country, but I never knew how to country and western dance," says Teressa, a Memphis native, in a honey-coated drawl.
So one nights, Teressa stopped into Stampede for lessons, and she’s been stepping out twice a week with Paul ever since.
"Every once in a while I dance with someone else," says Paul, "but I love to dance with her."
Buster and Lois Ellis
Buster Ellis had to miss five weeks of dancing when he had open-heart surgery a few years ago, but now he’s boot scooting better than ever.
Buster, 55, and his wife. Lois, 58, have been dancing together for almost eight years. Every Sunday afternoon the couple goes to Cowboys for their weekly dose of dancing.
Before the pair went country, they discoed.
"We’ve always liked to dance," says Lois, her bandanna-trimmed denim skirt barely covering her tomato-red ropers. "I really like the people here-they’re really friendly, and I like the music, too. It’s Texas," says the Nebraska native.
Now Buster teaches country and western dance at the County Fair in Piano on Friday nights, and helps Anita Williams, the dance instructor at Cowboys, on Sundays.
"We like the three-step best," says Buster, sipping a Coors longneck. "And the waltz," adds Lois.
In the background, "Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)" by Travis Tritt begins to play.
"I guess you realize we’re missing a good waltz while we’re talking to you," says Buster.
Charles and Linda Edelstein
When Charles Edelstein got divorced 10 years ago, he needed a dancing partner and didn’t want to pick up women in clubs. So, he snuck in Linda, his 15-year-old daughter. They’ve been two-stepping together ever since.
"Instead of thinking we’re father and daughter, people think we’re husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend." says Linda, now 25.
Besides the two-step, their specialties are the three-step and the jitterbug. At a jitterbug competition last year, the pair placed third.
Linda and Charles dance every Sunday and Monday at Stampede, sometimes Tuesday. too, and often end up Wednesdays at WW Fairfield’s.
What’s the best part about dancing together? "1 know what she’s gonna do," says Charles, 56. "Linda is a good spinner, and she follows well. You throw her out there, and she always comes back. Plus." he says with a smile, "she’s a lot of fun."
Where to learn to dance
Clubs:
Lessons are free unless noted; call for cover charges.
Cowboys 7731 Gaston Ave. 321-0115 Sunday 4-8 p.m.; Wednesday 6:45-7:45 p.m.
Stampede 5818 LBJ Freeway 701-8081 Sunday 4:30-8:45 p.m. $5 charge for push lessons. Monday and Tuesday 7:30-9:45 p.m. Free dance contests every Sunday and Monday.
WW Fairfield’s 147 North Piano Road 231-3844 Sunday 5-8 p.m.
Borrowed Money 9100 N. Central Expwy. 361-9996 Sunday-Friday 7-8 p.m.
Southern Junction Highway 276. 5 miles east of Rockwall 771-2418 Thursday 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Debonair Danceland 2810 Samuell Blvd. 826-5890 Tuesday 6:30-8 p.m.
Top Rail 2110 W. Northwest Highway 556-9099 Texas Country Western Dance Association teaches lessons Call Patty Stewart at 399-1333 for information. Sunday 4-6 p.m., Monday 7-10:30 p.m.
Cutter’s 1621 E. Lamar Blvd., Arlington metro 817-469-6070 Tuesday and Wednesday 7-8:30 p.m.
Stepper’s Shuffle City 2155 Great Southwest Parkway, Grand Prairie 988-8249 Sunday 6-8 p.m.: Monday 7-8 p.m.
The Broken Spoke Saloon 4 miles north of The Colony on Hwy. 423 335-3444 Sunday 6:30-9 p.m.; Tuesday 7:30-9 p.m.
The Ranch of Lonesome Dove 2299 Lonesome Dove Road, Southlake metro 817-329-1100 Thursday 7:30-10 p.m. $5 per person. BYOB.
Dance studios:
Arthur Murray 3701 W. Northwest Highway 351-0478
Crystal Ballroom 1166 Preston Road, #150 696-1192
Ballroom Dance by Bud and Rita 712 James Drive, Richardson 231-0648
The Collage 8220 Westchester (Preston Center) 369-6811
Dallas Dancemasters 10675 East Northwest Highway 553-5188
Dance Magic 8123 LB J Freeway at Coit 437-0671
Prestonwood Dance Studio Preston at Beltline 661-8701
Texas Elite Dance Club 580 W. Arapaho, Suite 154, Richardson 234-8333
Dance Tyme Dallas 5757 W. Lovers Lane at the Tollway 350-8855
Sandy Trent’s I Dance 2 5706 E. Mockingbird Lane. Suite 250 827-3888
Continuing education courses:
Fun Ed 960-2666 Classes begin November 12 and 19; December 3 and 10. Cost is $20 for one, $35 per couple. Call for class details and locations.
Almost all of the Dallas County Community Colleges offer dance classes. The next semester begins in January. Call for dates, times and prices.
Brookhaven 620-4723
Cedar Valley 372-8210
Eastfield 324-7113
Mountainview 333-8612
North Lake 659-5200
Richland 238-6005