DANCING IN HOUSTON
A guide to places to dance in the greater Houston area (Ballroom, Latin, Swing, Country & Western). Information on locations, prices, schedules, directions, and general description of establishments.
For additional dance related information, see Aria's Dance Page.
Note: Starting January 1999, ten-digit dialing is in effect in Houston. The area code must be dialed even for local calls. (Do not dial a ``1'' before the area code)
(in alphabetical order)
Formerly known as "North Side Whip Club", this organization is going through some changes, so come back (or visit their web page) frequently for updates. For those unfamiliar with Houston, the name of the club does not refer to its year of inauguration, but to FM 1960, which is a highway in Northwest Houston.
The club operates at "Step In Club," 10635 Veterans Memorial Drive (1/2 mile south of Beltway 8), 281-820-3465. Whip lessons are offered every Monday, according to the following schedule: beginners 7:00 pm, intermediate 7:00 pm, advanced workshops 8:00 pm ($5.00 workshop fee), general dancing 9:00 pm. The club dues are $30 for 6 months, and include admission to beginner and intermediate lessons. The advanced workshops are open to both members and general public (everyone pays $5).
Questions and comments can be addressed to [email protected]. The president of the club is Mary Ellen Araujo, 281-821-3812.
Absolute Dancin' was a purely Country Western Dance studio. Due to finantial difficulties it was closed in September 1998 and its teachers absorbed into the Dance Arts Dance Studio.
Whip dancing on Satruday nights on a decent floor to Blues music (DJ), starting 7:30pm. Admission $3. This is a major dance outlet for the Bay Area Whip Dance Club, and around 100-125 people show up on a typical Saturday. Backstreets went out of business in 1998 but is now reopened and owned by a group of businessmen and whip dancers who have made repairs and geared it more towards dancing.
Sunday nights there is a mix of Whip and Country Western dancing. From 7-8pm there is a free C/W lesson, followed by general C/W dancing. Whip dancing starts at 9:00pm. Also, there are some talks to bring Lindy Hop dancing to Backstreets on one of the weekdays. Stay tuned for more information.
Directions: On I-45 take the Airport Blvd Exit and go West
towards the Hobby airport. After roughly one mile, on the fourth traffic
light, Backstreets is in a strip shopping center, behind a "Jack in a
box". It is located across from the Airport Hilton.
Bay Area Whip Dance Club is a non profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the style of dance known as The Whip. They meet at Walter Hall Park, in the Pavilion. The park is located in League City, TX., on Hwy 3, just as you get into League City from the north. Call their hotline at (281) 480-WHIP for directions, lesson night agenda, special events and announcements, or leave a message and they will call you back to answer any questions you may have.
Sessions start the first Tuesday of each month, dues are $30 for six months, which includes lessons. 7:15 Basic II, Intermediate II, and Advanced. 8:15 Basic I, Intermediate I, and Intermediate III.
This is a studio geared towards teaching the beginners. Typically the studio teaches only the first 10 hours of dancing. American style smooth and rhythm; also preparation for wedding receptions and dances. The studio is owned by Allen Darnel, the author of "Beginners Only Dance Book". He offers a one-hour complimentary dance lesson with the purchase of every copy of his book.
Directions: The studio is on the second floor of a business complex, located in a small strip mall on Westheimer, between Fountainview and Greenridge.
Bayou City Nights is a big nightclub with several clubs under the same roof (much like City Streets). Bushwackers is a Country Western bar and nightlcub inside Bayou City Nights.
Country Western Dancing on Saturdays, $4 cover charge. On Sundays, the Houston Whip Club holds classes. Workshops at 5:30pm, lessons at 6:30pm, open dancing to R&B and C&W afterwards.
Free practice dances of the Houston Argentine Tango Association, every Sunday 8-10:30pm.
Directions: Note that currently (mid-1998) there are *five* different establishments in Houston named "Cafe Express." I am unsure if this is a chain. But in any case, be aware if you ask someone for directions that this may cause some confusion. This location is on Post Oak, North of Westheimer and South of San Felipe, on the back corner of Saks Pavilion.
See the entry for SPJST HALL #88
This is the hangout of the 1960 Whip club (Formerly North Side Whip Club). Whip lessons and dancing every Monday, starting 7:00pm.
A conglomerate of clubs. Mostly regular nightclubs. One of them, "The Rose", is a country nightclub (at least on Wednesdays), and members of Merilyn's Dance Club sometimes go there. Opens at 5:30pm, free buffet until 8pm and no cover charge, $3 cover charge after 8pm.
30's era style nightclub, featuring swing music and dancing. Opened 21 May 1997, with a "speakeasy" atmosphere. It used to have a lot of swing dancing on a 30x30 sq. ft. dance floor. On Thursday nights especially, it was the favorite hangout of Lindy Hoppers. At various times it also served as a location for whip dancing. Unfortunately it has fallen on hard times. It is no longer open except on Saturdays, offering hip-hop, disco, or anything that will bring in the dough. It seems heading for bankruptcy, which is a shame.
Directions : From 59 South, take the Fountainview exit and make a right on Fountainview (going North). Make the first left onto Skyline Drive. be alert, because there are no traffic lights at this very small intersection. Once on Skyline, W Greenridge is the second intersection. Club Chicago is on your left, and the parking entrance is off of W Greenridge. (NOTE: if you're coming from 59 North, there is no Fountainview exit. Get off the Chimney Rock exit, make a U turn back to Fountainview).
Salsa, Merengue and Cumbia to DJ music. Typical nightclub atmosphere.
Latin and Salsa dancing, Wednesday through Saturday to recorded and live music. 8:30pm-2:00am. Cover charge varies, $5 and more. Has dress code: men need button-up collared shirt and dress shoes, ladies need to be dressed nicely in general.
This is a typical bar and nightclub, complete with large Disco Ball hanging from the ceiling, smoke machines, strobe lights, and large screen TV's on the wall, showing the action on the dance floor through close-circuit cameras. Include fake palms and inclined mirrors behind the bar and you get the picture. Large bars on the two sides of the dance floor, with an elevated seating area on a third side. 40x40 square ft. dance floor, typically jam packed with people who mostly aren't trained dancers, although one sees a few good dancers on the floor at times. Expect to be bumped around quite a bit on the floor. The DJ music is almost exclusively super-fast Merengues and some Salsas, with a few Cumbias here and there. Most of the patrons are Latino, the DJ and emcee speak Spanish only.
Unfortunately, the bar scene dominates, and the place is somewhat of a meat-market. Asking people to dance is not easy, being asked to dance is not always pleasant, and either of them usually has unwanted connotations. You need to go with a partner, and if you do, count on dancing with him/her all night. Also, the music is very loud, and don't go if you are sensitive to cigarette smoke.
Directions: Crystal is located on the southbound feeder road to
Highway 59 (Southwest Freeway), right after the intersection with
Hillcroft (Northwest corner of intersection). It is in the corner of an
outdoor mall located at the intersection. If you go past the big neon
sign for the Colorado club, you have gone too far. The club generally
takes over the whole parking lot, blocking parking spots to make you do
valet parking. But you can avoid it by parking behind Colorado and
walking back to Crystal.
Dance arts is organized by Teresa Mason and Lance Estridge. The grand opening of their studio at Dairy Ashford on May 1, 1998. They used to work out of other studios. Pro-Am competitions and private and group lessons.
Group classes Monday through Thursday in Ballroom, Latin, and Country Western, cost is $10 per class per person. Dance Arts has a dance party every Friday evening from 8-10 PM. The activities consist of focus on one particular dance for a group lesson (3 - 5 steps are covered) and social dancing. The cost is $10 per person.
Directions: Dance Arts is located in a shopping plaza on Dairy Ashford (west side of the street) between Westheimer and Briarforest.
Large Maple floor (approx. 3000 sq. ft.) with full-length mirrors on both ends of the hall. Lots of seating. Also another dance floor in a separate room that I have not seen used. Open dances every Wednesday 8:15-10:00 pm. Admission $5. open dances on the first Saturday of the month have been discontinued. Latin classes Tuesdays at 8pm, and various classes and private lessons throughout the week. The Dance Place also hosts the monthly USABDA dances on the second Saturday of every month. Unfortunately the music at the Dance Place is quite awful. They play the same tape over and over again, and the music is very tepid and uninspiring.
Opened in March 1997, this studio offers instruction in Ballroom, Latin, C/W, Whip and Swing.
Gilbert's Whip dances as well as classes are now held at Discover Dance.
Country Western dance establishment located 30 miles south of downtown Houston. Live music on very large dance floor on Saturdays (but call to confirm). The doors open at 8pm and live music starts at 9pm. B.Y.O.B. but beer, wine, soft drinks and food available on the premises. $5 cover charge, $3 with Merilyn Dance Club membership card.
Directions: On I-610 South loop take the exit for Route 288, and head South towards Freeport. Make left at the Pearland sign, into FM 518. Turn right at the fourth traffic light (Exxon station on the corner) into Manvel Hwy/ FM 1128. The club is about 5 miles ahead, watch for the sign on the right.
Latino restaurant, bar and nightclub. Dancing to Salsa and Merengue music, 8pm-2am. Admission: $6 on weekdays, $7 on Fridays and Saturdays. The drinks are somewhat expensive and the bar tending isn't that good, but the food is decent. Small dance floor (20x15 sq. ft.) that gets jam packed. A typical night starts with recorded music, and people coming in for dinner. At about 10:30pm, live music starts, and at about the same time, the place shifts from restaurant to nightclub mode. Youngish crowd, no ID check at the door. You could ask strangers to dance if you are prudent, but expect only mixed success, especially if you're not Latino. It is best to go with a partner or with a group.
Directions: Elvia's is located in a shopping plaza at the
Southeast corner of Fondren and Westheimer. Look for the Shell gas
station, Elvias is right behind it. You can turn into the shopping plaza
either going eastbound on Westheimer or northbound on Fondren.
Embassy is on the corner of Wesheimer and Post Oak, across from the Galleria shopping center. The ballroom is on the second floor, with the entrance via an elevator directly off Westheimer. It operates on a 4000 square foot dance floor. Nice, even lavish, decorations and furniture. Instruction in mostly American style ballroom. Embassy used to have open dances on Thursdays with live music, but not any more. They now have student dance parties on Tuesdays 9:00-10:30pm, limited to the students of the studio.
Note Embassy has moved to a new address. Information about the new location will appear here shortly.
Formerly known as Regines, this is a cigar-lounge, restaurant, and discoteque, where you can get decent food and dance too. Tuesday nights are Latin nights, 8pm to early morning hours (around 2am), where mostly Salsa and Cumbia music is played intermixed with Merengues, some Cha-Chas and a few Rumbas. During the band breaks, DJ music is played, to which one can do Swing as well as a few Latin dances. There is a $6 cover charge. 30x30 sq. ft. dance floor. Gets very crowded. Some people come single, and sometimes one comes across good dancers, but the experience is at best spotty. Go with dancing friends if possible.
Wednesday nights Elysee has either classic rock or blues. Thursday nights varies. Friday and Saturday nights it has a general nightclub atmosphere, with disco and top-40 music. Somewhat of a trendy pickup joint more than anything else. On Mondays it is closed.
The one bad experience at Elysee is with the valet parking staff, who are at best annoying, and at worst downright obnoxious. They try to force you to do valet parking: while the parking lot in front of Elysee is huge and mostly empty, they won't let you park there by yourself. You'll have to park in the cramped space behind the building, or at the adjoining bank parking lot. Sometimes both these parking lots are full. If you don't find space in either, streetside parking is allowed in the street behind the nightclub.
Directions: From 610 loop North, take the Woodway exit. Make left on the traffic light. Elysee is on your left after a few blocks, and some twist and turn of the road (between Sage and Post Oak).
Large group of whip dancers go to Fin's on Thursdays starting around 8pm. A smaller group on Tuesday nights after 9pm.
Dance instruction, mostly American Style. Dances at 9 pm on Thursdays on a small dance floor (roughly 800 sq. ft. of useful area) The dance seems to be intended mostly for studio students, and as a measure to bring in new students. Too much time is spent on demos by students and on promotionals; overall less than 1 hour of net dancing in the evening. Not necessarily the best setup for general dancing, but then again there aren't that many choices for ballroom dancing in the area in mid-week.
Operated by Gilbert and Trish Huron. Specializes in Whip. Open dances on Fridays, Lessons from 7-9pm, then open dancing. Admission to the open dance is $4.
The old location was at 9931 Harwin. Gilbert's operations have now moved to Discover Dance, located at 14520 Memorial Drive, Suite 59.
From the HATA mission statement:
``The Houston Argentine Tango Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the people of Houston concerning the rich cultural tradition of Argentine Tango, including dance, music, and history. We achieve our purpose by sponsoring: weekly dance practices, demonstrations and performances by expert dancers, regular weekend milongas (dances) with exhibitions, workshops by non-local instructors, lectures by local and visiting tango scholars, tango music performances, and other educational and cultural events. Our goal is to create an active and vibrant cultural environment within which the Argentine Tango can be preserved, with abundant opportunities to experience the joy and excitement which is Tango.''
The main events of the society are Tuesday night dancing and practice at the downtown YMCA, and a free practice on Sundays at Cafe Express. There used to be Wednesday practices at Sempers, but they are discontinued.
As a separate entity, Mr. Victor Collins of Argentina 2000 teaches a class in Argentine Tango each Thursday evening, also at the Rive Oaks Community Center, from 7:30pm-9:30pm. Cost: $10/person. You can obtain the latest details about these classes from Victor at 281-443-3322(h), or Joan Bishop at 713-861-7791(h), [email protected].
Studio owned by Barbara King. Most of the instruction is through independents who work in but not for the studio (typically they pay "floor fees" and charge it to their students). Various instructors teach everything from regular Ballroom and Latin to Argentine Tango to West Coast Swing and even Theatre arts.
Center of Dance used to have more-or-less regular dancing every Friday, 9-11pm. Admission $4 for students, $5 for general public, $3 for USABDA members. They now offer that only one Friday every month. More information will be forthcoming.
Directions: Center of dance is located at 5700 South Rice
St., South of the Highway 59 (Southwest Freeway). Unfortunately, the Hwy 59
feeder road does not intersect with S. Rice, and Hwy 59 doesn't have a
S. Rice exit. On Hwy 59, exit at Chimney Rock, go south on Chimney Rock,
make left on Glenmont (brings you back to S. Rice), and make right on
S. Rice. Center of dance is in a big cubical building on your right.
The Houston Swing Dance Society (HSDS) is a non-profit, educational organization, dedicated to the teaching and preservation of swing dance. The efforts and interests of the club seem to be concentrated on Lindy Hop. Annual membership is $15, and entitles the member to discounts on HSDS events and merchandise, notification of swing dance events in the area, as well as the opportunity to participate in the promotion of swing dancing in Houston.
Jitterbug and Lindy Hop classes at various levels are currently held in Melody Club, 5-8pm every Sunday. Classes are followed by a dance party with recorded music, 8-10pm. The Society also sponsors various dance workshops and local dance events; for more details, visit their web page .
Holds lessons and open dancing every Sunday at the Bushwackers. Workshops start at 5:30pm, lessons at 6:30 pm, and open dancing afterwards. Also look at Super Dance USA for more regional whip information.
A network of independent dance instructors. Call for more information. Their practice parties are Wednesdays 8:15-10:00 pm at the Dance Place, 3300 Chimney Rock, admission $5.
Swing dancing to taped music. Every first Wednesday of the month, the members of Houston Swing Dance Society go to Liquid for a night of dancing, 7-10pm. Dress code: No T-shirts, jeans, or sneakers.
Elegant dining on South American cuisine, and dancing Salsa, Merengue, and Cumbia to live music on Fridays and Saturdays. $8 cover charge, formal dress code (jacket required for men). This is a restaurant and bar with a small (20x10 sq. ft.) dance floor.
Directions: Right across from the Compaq Center (formerly the Summit) on Richmond Ave. between Edloe and Timmons. Valet parking, as well as a large parking structure in Greenway Plaza. But if you are willing to walk a short distance streetside parking should be possible. There is also a bank on the corner of Richmond and Timmons whose parking lot one might use after hours (at your own risk).
Formerly was the main center of operations for the Houston Swing Dance Society, but for the time being does not host any regular dance event.
Directions: Be aware that there are two Magnolia Ballrooms in Houston; the other one is at 7347 Canal. Do not confuse them. This one is located at the corner of Franklin and Milam in downtown Houston, just past Travis Square. Franklin is blocked off in the 700 block right at the ballroom, i.e., you cannot get from the 700 block to the 800 block directly. There is a pub called the Brewery Tap below the ballroom, whose sign is more prominent than Magnolia's. There is ample parking on the street; do not park in the bank lots or you will be towed.
Marilyn's Dance Club offers classes mostly in Country Western, but also some in social ballroom, as well as whip. Group classes meet once per week for 1.5 hours. No partners necessary. Private sessions are also available. Practice parties every Monday 7:30-10:30pm (next door, in the Melody Club), admission fee $3. Free introductory dance lessons are offered on Mondays 6:30-7:30pm. Marilyn's teaching and studio atmosphere are oriented towards social dancing (as opposed to competition oriented), and the lessons and dances reflect that philosophy.
This is mainly a top 40 joint with music from 70's, 80's and 90's. There is Swing dancing on Sundays, with a short lesson taught by Marylin's Dance Club. Small dance floor. The club is located between Chimney Rock and Fountainview, one block North of Westheimer.
Opens 4:30pm Tuesday through Friday, and 8pm Saturday and Sundays. Cover charge schedule is as follows: Tuesdays and Thursdays no cover, Wednesdays $3, Fridays and Saturdays no cover until 9pm, $5 after 9pm.
Formerly known as "Melody Lane Ballroom," this dance venue closed in early 1997 due to financial difficulties, then re-openned in August 1997 as "Melody Club".
Dancing on a 3500 sq. ft. wooden dance floor in a nightclub atmosphere. Surrounding three sides of the dance floor are tables that seat anywhere from two to eight people. A bar on one end of the room, bandstand on the other end. The place is clean, the decoration is nice, and the place is reasonably smoke-free.
Mondays are Country Western night, starting 6:30pm, admission $3. Free lesson by Marilyn Dance Club instructors 6:30-7:30pm. Open practice and dancing 7:30-10:30pm. The dancing really picks up around 8 to 8:30pm, when the advanced classes from Marilyn's studio (across from Melody club) finish and the students come over to dance.
On Tuesdays, ballroom dancing to taped music. Admission is $4. The dances are comprised of about 20% Foxtrots, and the rest is an even mix of Cha-Cha, Rumba, Waltz, Polka, and Samba. There were also two line dances played through the night. If you are in the 45+ age bracket, you will likely find this an excellent place for a night out on the town. There are plenty of people to dance with, but mostly at the beginner level. So you may want to go with a partner if you are more advanced.
Wednesday nights the Southwest Whip Club holds classes and dancing at Melody Club. Classes 7:30-8:30pm and dancing 8:30-10:30pm. The admission for open dance is $2 for general public, and free for Southwest Whip Club members. A great number of people show up and the average level of dancing is very good. The classes are open only to Southwest Whip Club members (See below). Mario Robau teaches the advanced class.
Sunday evenings the Houston Swing Dance Society holds their Jitterbug and Lindy Hop classes as well as dance party. See under "Houston Swing Dance Society" for details.
Directions: Melody Lane is located on Crossview Dr. (runs
parallel to Fondren), between Richmond and Westheimer. Going Westbound
on Richmond, make a right on Crossview (small intersection just before
Fondren, no traffic lights). Going North on Crossview, Melody Lane is on
your right, after passing the Fondren Tennis Center.
Orchid Lounge is located in the northern part of Rice Village, next to Village Brewery. A cocktail lounge with a dance floor, Orchid Lounge presents live or DJ music every day except Sunday and Monday. On Tuesdays, recorded music featuring D.J. Lucky LaRue. Live music Wednesday through Saturday. Latin band on Thursday, swing on all other nights. DJ music in the breaks of the bands. Cover charge can vary, but is generally around $6 on weeknights and $10 for weekend nights. Call their phone number for a recorded message detailing their weekly program.
Orchid Lounge used to have a small dance floor that seemed to be put in as an afterthought. Dancing was sporadic and not always pleasant because of unskilled reckless "dancers" on the floor. It has become somewhat better with time. In September 1998 Orchid Lounge expanded into the neighboring restaurant "Village Brewery" and enlarged the dance floor. On a typical night one sees many more decent (even occationally accomplished) dancers on the floor, so that it is semi-practical to go there on your own and find partners there (although there is still no guarantee).
The manager of the event is Chris Harkness ([email protected] / 713-523-6046), who used to be with Club Chicago. You can contact him for more information.
Latin dancing and Argentine Tango lessons. Dancing at first Saturday of every month, starting 9:30pm, $7 admission.
Note According to Michael Dorman, Il Paesano is no longer in business.
Used to have Monday night swing dancing, but has gone out of business.
Various classes in Ballroom and Swing dancing during the school year. Different classes and practices are held at Brown commons, Rice Memorial Center, or the Rice Gym.
Trash Disco on Sundays and Thursdays.
Sambuca is an upscale Jazz restaurant in downtown Houston. On most Mondays live Swing music is played, starting around 8pm. No cover charge.
Semper's is located close to the intersection of Westheimer and Fondren, behind Elvia's Cantina. This is a restaurant and nightclub, where dance events are sometimes hosted by various Houston dance clubs. The Houston Argentine Tango Association used to have its dance practices here, but not any more. Call for details.
Sempers also provides elegant (and also pricy) dining in a very nice atmosphere. But if you go there for dining, be prepared to pay, and make sure that you don't overlap with the disco times. The loud music can be detrimental to the fine dining mood.
Big band music every Saturday night starting 8:30pm. This seems to be an organization dating back to WW II, with various activities including dances. The participants in the dances are mainly in their 50's and up. The one night that my friends and I went there, we were conspicuous as a younger crowd, but everyone was very nice. The floor is typically crowded and the dancers do not move, so if you are a dynamic dancer this may not be the place for you. Dancers in their 50's and up will likely find this a pleasant venue for a relaxing night out dancing. Admission $6.
The Southwest Whip Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promotion of Whip dancing (a form of swing similar to West Coast Swing). The club meets Wednesdays at 7:30pm at the Melody Club (formerly Melody Lane Ballroom). Group classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level. Each class meets over one month (four classes), and one can sign up at the first Wednesday of the month. The cost is $20 per class, and is open to members of Southwest Whip Club. Membership dues are an additional $3 per month. For the first-time members, there is a one-time registration cost of $11. The classes finish at 8:30pm, at which time open dancing starts. The open dancing is free if you're in a class, but costs $2 by itself.
Mario Robau, a nationally known teacher of West Coast Swing and Whip, teaches advanced patterns for the club.
Live band music on Saturday nights. The music varies: some Saturday nights they have big bands playing mostly Swing and Foxtrot, and on other Saturdays they have "Variety Bands" that play Polka or other variety music. Admission prices are $11 for big band nights and $6 for variety nights. Some Fridays there is Country Western dancing, cover charge varies. make sure to call, because they will not have a dance if the hall is privately rented.
Chandelier has a strict dress code on Saturday nights: Men with jacket, tie and dress shoes, Ladies with evening dress. I've heard that they enforce this policy to the extent that even if someone takes off their jacket for dancing, he will hear from the bouncer! The regular Saturday night clientelle is mostly a more mature crowd, dressing up and spending a night out on town. The average level of dancing is not great, so it is better to go with a partner or with a group of dancers.
Directions: From Interstate 10, take the N. Shepherd exit north
to 15th Street. Turn left (west) onto 15th Street -- street will dead
end at Beall in front of the SPJST Hall.
Dance Hall located in Pasadena, to the southeast of Houston, about 30 minutes from downtown (except during rush hour). Very large (120x90 sq. ft.), well-ventilated oakwood dance floor. Mostly Country Western dancing, although they hold some ballroom dances once in a while.
SPJST features dancing to live music every Saturday night. The music is provided by different bands every time. The doors open at 7:30pm and recorded music is played until 8:30, when the band starts. While one can dance during this period, most people use this time to settle down, socialize and get their drinks. Live music 8:30-12:30pm. Dances are open to the public, admission is $5 per person.
The first and second Saturdays of the month are dubbed ``Singles Nights'', but about half the patrons come as couples. B.Y.O.B., but beer, wine, setups and some snacks are available for purchase. SPJST provides a family-oriented atmosphere and patrons are allowed to bring their children, but children are required to stay off the dance floor and maintain reasonable demeanor and behavior.
Used to have Argentine Tango lessons on Tuesdays, 8:30-9pm. But the studio closed in August of 1998.
SSQQ is located on Bissonnet, close to the intersection of the 610 loop (just to the West of 610 N). Director of the studio is Rick Archer. Variety of C/W, Ballroom, and Zydeco dancing classes. The studio has interconnected rooms, all lined with mirrors. The biggest room in which they hold the socials is roughly 3000 sq. ft. There is a metal post in the middle of the floor. The floor used to be somewhat frayed, but SSQQ has installed a new floor (as of January 1999).
Jitterbug dances every Monday, 9:15-11:00pm, and social dances (ballroom) every Tuesday, 9:15-11:00pm. The dances are almost exclusively American style; no one seems to have any interest in International style. There is a heavy lean towards the dances that were taught on the day of the social dance. For example, half the dances on a given night could be Foxtrots or Tangos, depending what was taught that night. There is also some Whip, and surprisingly, a few Hustles (as of 1997 Hustle is all but nonexistent in the Houston area). The crowd is generally friendly and easygoing, with dance levels mostly at beginner to lower intermediate.
Casual dress. The $3 admission price includes light snacks and drinks. The snacks and drinks are really nice: they offer cakes, popcorn, and other snacks, plus there is a big fridge in the kitchen with all kinds of soft drinks available to the dancers. Also, although I don't recommend drinking and dancing, I must note that they offered beer and wine (also free) at the social dance. However, I was pleased to see that no one was drinking alcohol during the dance.
Note Step'n Style officially closed on October 31, 1997. This is due to an unfortunate driving accident that happened to Laurie Sepulvado, the co-owner of the studio. More about this is available on the studio web page. Some of the independents that operated out of Step'n Style now work at West Houston Dance Sports Center (Steps-in-time).
Raised 2000 sq ft. dance floor. The middle is not open, there is a little brick structure in the middle of the dance floor with plants on top. Opens at 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, 7:00pm on Saturday, and goes until 2:00am. Cover charge some nights, including Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There is a free buffet 4:30-8pm except on Saturday.
Bar atmosphere, complete with big-screen TV's showing whatever sport that's in season. Inexpensive drinks. They play country 2-step and country Waltz about 90% of the time. A couple of whips here and there, but almost no-one does the whip. Some disco, a few jitterbugs, a couple of line dances make up the rest of the 10%. Some of the students of Merilyn's dance club go to Longhorn on Thrusdays. If you show up early you can do some practice on the floor before it gets crowded.
Except for the group mentioned above, the bar scene dominates, especially late nights. Preferably go with a partner, or even better, with a group.
Owned by Pat and Gerald Harris, this studio specializes in Country and Western Dance instruction.
President and contact person of the club is Craig Goehring [email protected] . Dance classes on Sundays, starting at 4pm.
Directions: Take I-59 North to I-45 South. On I-45, take the Calhoun exit and turn right into the campus on the third stop light. Parking lots are immediately on the left and right, and University of Houston dance events are held in the student center, which is a little ahead on the right.
The Houston Chapter of the United States Amateur Dancing Association (USABDA) holds dances on the second and fifth Saturdays of the month. On second Saturday the dances are at the Dance Place, and on the fifth Saturday at the Houston Center of Dance. The dances are 9:00pm-12:00am; admission $8 for members, $5 for college students, $10 for the general public, and free for professionals. There is usually a group lesson right before the dance, from 8-9pm, admission $5. The music used to be uninspiring, but they have changed and improved it considerably.
The crowd at the USABDA Houston dances is very nice and friendly. There is a wide variability in dancing capability: from lower intermediate to very very good (not many beginners, though). Some local professionals also show up at the dance, and do showcases in the intermission. A Foxtrot mixer comes right after intermission.
There is usually a strong presence of students from Rice University and University of Houston, who often sit at the table at the far end of the floor from the door. The attendance from the University crowd fluctuates, and is at it's lowest during final exams or major Holidays. One usually sees a few young, professional types as well. The recorded music is relatively good, with the all-too-familiar inclination to over-represent Foxtrots.
Additional information about Houston USABDA:
Annual membership dues are as follows: Regular $25, Competitor $37, College student and/or junior (under 17) $14, Associate $40. The current president of the Houston Chapter is Joyce Barr (281-531-4146), and the promotions and publicity officer is Ruth Sims (713-869-3664). The Houston Chapter publishes a bimonthly newsletter, Ballroom Dancers, that is available for free at the USABDA dances, and is sent via US mail to all members. It includes information on the upcoming local dance events, as well as happenings on the Houston dance scene.
Dances are held on the fourth Saturday of the month at Dancin' Room Only, 8-11 pm. Lessons from 7-8 pm. Admission for lessons is $5, and for the general dance, $5 for members, $3 for junior members, and $7 for the general public.
Note: Vapor room has gone out of business.
Open dance on Fridays, 9:15-11:00 pm. Admission is $8 for the general public, $7 for USABDA members, and $6 for enrolled (studio) students. Good mid-sized dance floor, decent music, friendly atmosphere, and the average quality of dancing is relatively good. University of Houston and Rice University dancers are also regulars in this studio. There is a dance class from 8:30-9:15pm, just before the open dance, for $5. The subject of the class varies from week to week, call to enquire.
Starting in late 1996, Steps-in-time absorbed many of the teachers and students of Step'n Style, a local country western dance school. During the Friday night dances, there is Country Western dancing in a separate room, and the studio now holds some country western classes, although it is still mainly ballroom.
Steps-in-time plans to have Saturday night dances starting April 1998, first Saturday of the month, 8-11pm, admission $10.
Directions: The studio is about 25 miles from downtown Houston,
close to the intersection of Hwy 6 and Bellaire. To get there, take I-10
West to Hwy 6. Make left (South) onto Hwy 6. After a few miles (5 or 6
traffic lights), turn right on Bellaire (Walgreen's at the
corner). WHDSC is about 0.3 miles ahead in a small strip-mall on the
left, across from Southwestern Community Baptist Church (which is the
*second* Church on your right, after the Bellaire/Hwy 6 intersection).
American Style ballroom, Salsa, and Country Western dance instruction on a 2100 sq. ft. dance floor. Operating Monday-Friday 2-10pm. No open dances, but they have dance parties for the students of the studio. Call to enquire.
Country dancing and lessons during the week.
The old location of Wild West was on Long Point, but that location has changed format and became a Tejano venue. The new location at Richmond is where Traildust Steakhouse used to be. The dance floor is not as good as the old one used to be, but is still fine.
Every Sunday (starting again July 26, 1998) instructors from Merilyn's dance club teach lessons from 4:30-6pm. 4:30-5pm basic 2-step, 5-6pm basics of some specialty course: Jitterbug, Waltz, Polka or line dance. Cover charge $3. Buffet available. Also on Wednesday nights starting from 7pm there is dancing, cover charge starts at 8pm ($4 for men, $2 for women).
Weekly swing classes run by the YMCA (call for times and prices), as well as Argentine Tango classes run by the Houston Argentine Tango Association (Tuesdays 7:30-8:30pm).
The Houston downtown YMCA is located at the south end of the downtown area, at the corner of Louisiana and Pease. There is an adjoining parking lot open at a small cost to members; additional streetside parking as well as parking structure across the street.
short list is a glossary of the places to dance locally, including addresses and phone numbers. This section should serve as a quick reference. If you already know where you want to go, and need the address or the phone number, this is the place to look. Because of its brevity, finding an item is often easier here.
If you need more extensive information, then the long list will probably serve you better. This section contains comprehensive information on the times, locations, and prices of dance events. In many cases, directions and maps are also provided.
To facilitate the finding of specific dance venues, dance types are grouped into the following classes:
If you feel that the information you need is not represented here, please read the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) before contacting me.
If you would like to have a studio or dance spot listed in this page, contact me at [email protected]. Any new information on the listed items (including change of schedule, location, or owner) will be appreciated by your fellow dancers who visit this page. Finally, if any of the establishments make a strong impression on you in any way (positive or negative), I'd like to hear about it from you.
Thanks are due to Stan Graves, Michael Dorman, Tyson Storm, Dejan Mircevski, Ann Pan, Steve Hudson, AJ Webster, Lester Buck Linda Brady, Jan LaRocque, and Karl Rorabacher for the contribution of information to this page.
The material in this page constitutes no express or implied endorsements.
Last Modified 3 December 1998
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Copyright (c) Aria Nosratinia 1997, 1998