Couples want to dance, but there’s no where to go |

Couples want to dance, but there’s no where to go

At last year’s Dancing with the Mountain Stars, the second annual fundraiser of its kind at Keystone, hundreds of people flooded the dance floor after watching couples compete in a format similar to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

“I don’t remember ever seeing so many people hitting the dance floor so fast, and so few left seated,” said CJ Mueller, one of the contestants who blogged weekly about his experience.

In his last blog, Mueller wrote:

“Music and dancing are such a joy. Skiing powder is still my favorite dance, but I need more dancing back in my life. I will try to seek out more opportunities to dance. I hope you will, too. Life is too precious not to indulge in simple (and healthy) pleasures.”

Problem is, venues providing couple dance opportunities are quickly fading away. Salt Creek Saloon used to offer at least one night of country dancing, until recently. Now hip-hop has stomped out the Texas two-step. For awhile, Abby Hall in Breckenridge hosted dances, but that’s no longer available. In 2003, the Summit County Dance Club folded after 10 years of going strong, because membership dwindled from 300, and the rent was too high for remaining members to chip in for space.

Meanwhile, Teresa and Roger Moen have more than 250 people on their e-mail list, interested in the partner dances they teach. The Moens send them links to venues in Denver.

“It’s really frustrating up here, because there’s so much desire,” said Teresa Moen.

Their clients are mostly Baby Boomers.

“People seem to want to dance with each other, rather than at each other, like when they were younger,” she said.

Beginning in 2005, ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” sparked greater interest in locals seeking ballroom dance classes; the Moens found themselves teaching more private lessons because students wanted to be proficient when they hit the dance floor.

“(Since the show started), people have been more interested in ballroom dancing,” said Stephanie Roller-Bruner. “It brought in all these different styles … before that, a lot of people (did) country-western dancing, and now people are interested in other things.”

The show portrays the stars’ progression, which inspires viewers to say, “I want to do that,” she said.

The creation of Dancing with the Mountain Stars also spurred mountain folks’ interest, and in the last two years, the Moens have seen more people signing up for their ballroom dance classes at Colorado Mountain College about two months in advance of the fall event. Last year, so many women got excited, organizers were flooded with volunteers to be a “mountain star.” This year, the event takes place in September.

But that’s a long time to wait for an opportunity to strut your stuff.

Michael DeGarie has expanded opportunities for people who like country-western dancing; he teaches at the Out of Bounds Saloon in Keystone and attracts 30-70 attendees, depending on the time of the season. His next class is May 19, and then he teaches and hosts dances like the cowboy cha cha and partner line dances at 6 p.m. every Wednesday, starting June 16, in Keystone.

“I think people are just looking for an outlet to exercise their new-found steps,” DeGarie said. “The thing is opening up an avenue to dance.”

Currently, his crew drives to Wolcott and Denver to kick up their heels.

Roller-Bruner started teaching couples dancing for weddings and other events, where, rather than change partners, specific couples learn to dance together. Still, most couples are aiming for that one date, and without more local venues, they won’t have much opportunity to experience dance as Roller-Bruner describes it:

“When you can do a smooth dance, it’s like gliding on the floor. That’s great fun for the dancer within us.”

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