Country Western Swing Dance Lessons in Jackson Hole

June 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm Leave a comment

Two years ago I was elbow deep in preparation for my August wedding, reading the Knot blog posts and perusing Pinterest boards for inspiration when I came across a post about preparing for your first dance.54113_637296061575_1650376246_o My then fiance, Jared, would regularly joke about how I had an allotted number of times I could get him out on the dance floor each year. Every time I would drag him out on the dance floor at a friends wedding he would remind me “you are using up one of your dances tonight!” In our early years when I frequented the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson for Disco Night, or Ladies Night as it’s also referred to, on Thursday nights I invited him the first few times. After politely declining every time I came to realization that Thursday nights at “the Coach” were always going to be a true ladies night for me.

So when I came across the article about our first dance a little bit of panic set in. We definitely didn’t have much practice dancing as a couple and I was having a western wedding, complete with the cowboy boots under my dress, so how could I not throw in some country western dance moves for our first dance? I immediately turned to my best friend, Google, and asked it where I could find country western dance lessons in Jackson Hole. It generated one solid lead – Dancer’s Workshop offered country western dance lessons at the Center for the Arts. Yahtzee!

I pulled up the schedule and my enthusiasm rapidly waned as I realized that the only lesson available before our wedding was an advanced lesson. Jared and I didn’t even know what foot to start with, let alone how to do a turn. I called up the Workshop and asked if the lesson was suitable for beginners. They said that it may be a little advance but we should be fine. So we each donned our cowboy boots, paid our $20 fee and entered the dance studio, where the lesson was held. Within the first 5 minutes we knew that we were in over our head. They were teaching complex, old school country western dance moves, such as “the window”. One of the instructors noticed us flailing in the corner and came over and gave us some basic maneuvers to work on. We had a good time but knew that we probably should have started with a class for beginners. So, when last week I saw an ad for free country western dance lessons at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar on Thursday night, I told Jared that we should attend.

We showed up at 7:30PM, grabbed a drink from the bar and headed to the dance floor. There were three instructors – one old school cowboy and two ladies with flowing skirts. We started by learning the steps, one foot in, one foot planted in the back – lean in, lean out, lean in, lean out. Once we had that sorted we moved on to a girl turn, then a guy turn. As we progressed through the lesson we realized that we knew a lot more about country western dancing than we gave ourselves credit. There were a few couples who had clearly never danced before, dancing like puppies whose paws are too big for their body, clumsy and flailing. They watched us with awe, as if we were Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk for the first time. However, I’m pretty sure that we looked like bumbling idiots, just less so than them.

We were taught the cuddle and how to do a behind the back boy turn. Then we learned the two step, which while it is important to the history of country western dancing, I have yet to really see it being done on the dance floors in Jackson Hole. After the lesson we tipped our instructors and then the band started. We grabbed a beer and headed out onto the dance floor to try our new moves. We had an absolute blast! And I think that we even got a whoop or two from the crowd – though I could have completely been imagining that. If you are interested in learning how to dance, or even just to experience some true western culture, I would highly recommend attending the country western dance lessons at the Cowboy Bar. The lessons occur every Thursday from 7:30PM to 9PM. Make sure to bring a partner because when we went there were a lot more girls than guys so they didn’t end up doing the lesson. So grab your partner, don your cowboy boots and head down to the Cowboy for some good old fashion dance lessons!

**Note – the Dancer’s Workshop offers Country Western Dance Lessons on occasion. They currently do not have any lessons scheduled**

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Entry filed under: Music, Nightlife, Summer Activities, Winter Activities. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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