Irving – The annual Heart of Texas Line Dance Workshop offers line dancing lessons, camaraderie, and free dance events. More than 200 participants attended this year’s event hosted at the Westin DFW Hotel from April 23 to 25.
“People from all over the country come to this event,” dancer Bonita Malone said. “There were supposed to be instructors and participants from all over the world, but because of COVID restrictions, we have ‘home grown’ instructors this year. I know the instructor near us is from Delaware. Another one is from Florida. I have talked to people from all over the country that have come to learn line dancing and enjoy the company.
“I am fairly new to line dancing. I have a background in dance, even had a dance studio for years. After I retired, I wanted to continue dancing but needed something a bit easier on the knees. This dancing is not just for seniors, but it works well for seniors. It works both the body and the mind, plus the socialization aspect.”
COVID-19 restrictions have changed the way people are learning line dancing, but have not stopped this community from thriving.
“This last year we have been learning on social media with streaming services,” Malone said. “We are able to sign in and learn the dances from people all over the world. I am so grateful it has been able to continue even though we are learning in our homes. This is one of the very first events to be offered in person since the shut down. It has felt amazing to be here together.
“They are following all of the protocols, and a lot of us have received both our vaccines and are feeling more comfortable gathering together.”
“This is a workshop where people can come and learn multiple line dances throughout the day,” Cody Flowers, an instructor, said. “In the United States, we have some that are week long, but most are weekend events. This is a medium event, average for a weekend event.
“I teach and choreograph events, so I was invited to teach. This is such a fun sort of event. If you really like line dance, you can come to something like this. Most people start at a local class. The people who come here are the people who have decided this is their favorite type of dance and really come to soak it all in.
“Most people think of line dance as a country music activity, maybe at a bar, shuffling around. But line dance is so much bigger than that. We use all sorts of music, and people from all sorts of abilities are able to do these dances. People love it, because you do not have to be inherently musical to be able to do it. You need to count, you memorize it, and it is so much fun to dance together,” he said.
“This event has so many different pieces to make it possible,” Nikki Simpson, the event organizer, said. “We have some very loyal VIP participants that register early. so we can have some capital to make the event possible. Then I choose the instructors. We have classes every daytime hour for three days, so that is a lot of instructors to find and book. We are so lucky to have such high level instructors at this event. These instructors are such hams and really carry the show.
“Line dancing has such a variety of people who attend these events. We have all sorts of ages and abilities. We really try to make this event fun and exciting, and I think people have a good time. We have a beginner ballroom that welcomes people who are starting out, and then they can move to the more complicated dances as the weekend goes on. I feel like this community is so welcoming, and we always want more people to come out, join us, and give it a try.”