OAKHURST – Ballroom dancing is back and better than ever on the second Friday of each month.
That means it’s time to get out of the house and “extend those lines” as they say on television’s popular dance show.
Starting Aug. 9, the Elks Lodge is the place to go for dinner followed by a professionally taught ballroom dance lesson and an evening of twirling, dipping and trotting.
Dinner begins at 6 p.m. with the lesson at 7 p.m. for approximately 30 minutes. After that, the floor is open for your dancing pleasure, plus some line dancing instruction later in the evening.
The cost per person for dinner and dancing is $20. Dinner alone is $12 and dancing is $10 per person, so you save a little if you reserve a place for both.
Dinner will be prepared and served by members of the Elks Club. The meal includes an entrée, salad and dessert, and guests may also choose to partake of an open no-host bar. Reservations are recommended.
All are welcome, says Ed Bailey, who will teach the lesson on Aug. 9. He’s planning a Cha-Cha.
“What I want to do is get ballroom dancing going again in the mountain area,” Bailey says. “People are saying things like ‘Gee, I’d love to go dancing,’ but there’s no place to do that up here. So our goal is to fix that.”
Setting the tone for each evening is musical entertainment Larkspur, playing a wide variety of American and Latin ballroom dance rhythms. The popular local group includes Monika and Kirk Moulin and sometimes Kirk’s brother Mark Moulin.
“The Larkspur band has the wherewithal to play any kind of dance rhythms we want,” Ed explains. “Whether we want a Brazilian Samba or an Argentine Tango, they can play it all.”
One needn’t be concerned about having great skills for these dances, as all levels, ages, singles, groups and couples are welcome. Besides being a lot of fun, it’s good exercise, particularly when it comes to improving or maintaining balance.
“What we’ll be teaching is pretty much the basics, getting people started. People in the mountain area are going to be taking turns volunteering our time, so no one gets compensated for that part,” Bailey notes.
He says organizers have contacted clubs in the valley to let people know they can come to Oakhurst for a good time on the dance floor the second Friday of each month.
“There are some pretty sophisticated dancers out there. We’re reaching out to let them know about it and hopefully we can get something going here.”
Bailey has high hopes for the future.
“Long term, I’d like to see us start an annual amateur ballroom dance competition here in Oakhurst,” says the man who’s been teaching dance since 1956. “If we can get enough enthusiasm going it would be fantastic, and this is the first step.”
Some of the proceeds benefit the Elks Lodge, which is located at 42484 Highway 41.
For more information contact Ed Bailey at (559) 676-2424.