Western Dancing: Dude Ranch Opera Hall Evenings

07.01.2010 · Posted in Dude Ranch

Discovering the world of western dancing is a highlight for guests on our Colorado dude ranch in Durango.Here in the fast paced 21st century, a lot of people who don’t live in the Wild West probably know very little about western dancing, except it’s what you do when you spend a night at a country music bar. At dude ranch Colorado Trails we have our very own private Opera Hall, which is, of course, the best place to have a dance in the Old West – next to the barn.

The first thing that will register in many minds when they hear ‘western dancing’ will be the Texas Two-Step and Line Dance. There are more types of dance than those, and your dude ranch vacation really wouldn’t be complete without some icy sarsaparilla, and a toe-tappin’ evening or two.

Why does the Old West have its own special kind of dance? Some say it’s because after spending most waking hours in a saddle, cowboys weren’t the most graceful dancers. They also had no time for social airs. Cowboys came to town on Saturday night for a little fun at the Opera Hall. Western ranch families shunned the risqué Opera Hall and had barn dances instead. You won’t find any liquored up cowboys in our dude ranch Opera Hall, or scantily clad dance girls either – though they too are a part of our historical past. What you will find is that these regional dance styles that you’ll be taking part in on a Colorado Trails dude ranch vacation, are a whole lot of fun.

The two-step is a modified fox trot that was once the rage of Washington DC society ballrooms. The Texas Two-Step is a cowboy version perfected long ago, with the tradition carried on today. As the story goes, those heavy boots still jangling spurs, are the reason the steps were changed to be just plain fun. No dude ranch dance hall is complete without a little Western swing. This dance has come in and gone out of popularity several times. Since jazz came along and blending the beat to cowboy music made it’s rebirth  possible. No, we aren’t about to cheat you out of some line dancing, so bring your showiest dude ranch boots, because they look so cool when you’re stepping out.

Some of the history of western dancing is really quite comical. Such as, do you know why barn dances have callers? Originally, it was to keep chaos from breaking out on the dance floor. Social events were few and far between. No one knew the same steps, but they wanted to dance, so a caller took the stage to direct them all. And you thought you wouldn’t be able to participate at the Opera Hall on your dude ranch vacation? The Old West took care of that for you very nicely. Now you know why square dancing and polka dancing have callers, it kept everyone moving in the same direction in similar fashion. From experience, we can assure you that even your kids are going to love this part of their stay on dude ranch, Colorado Trails.

If you thought that line dance is a modern bit of fun, no it’s actually been around forever. German settlers in El Paso added some innovations to a folk dance and came up with the Schottische, the line dance and created what we needed to enjoy the Cotton Eyed Joe today. Back in the day, what a real cowboy could do to a polka was said to be amazing. They loved this dance, as it let them get close to a pretty girl, and bounce around the floor with the enthusiasm of doing the Irish jig. The polka, like all western dancing,  is still fun today, its fast paced and will definitely put a smile on your face.

We guarantee you’ll be wishing you had more time for cutting the rug on your family vacation at our Colorado dude ranch, Colorado Trails, but we have so much more to do than the Western Swing. Evening hayrides to the live music campfire night is high on the list of great stuff to do with family and new friends. Your kids won’t be the only ones enjoying the ice cream social either. Sometimes the simplest things in life, can be the most fun of all – something many people forget all about, until they spend a week at our Colorado dude ranch. We have an action packed week in store from sunup until long past sundown for guests at Colorado Trails.

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