Barb Thacker has been teaching country line-dance lessons at Cowboys (25 N. Tejon St., cowboyscs.com) for 20 years. When asked what's changed over the two decades, she says back then the line-dance choreography was a lot simpler.
"All of the dances started on your right foot, and at the end of the dance was when you made your wall change. ... Nowadays, they've had to get more creative."
Of course, she adds, "they still do the Electric Slide. It never died. You know, the Macarena died, but the Electric Slide, not so much. And they're still doing the Cotton-Eyed Joe."
Thacker, who also used to teach couples' dances, says she's seen those change over the years, too.
"Twenty years ago, we were cowboy swingin' a whole bunch and two-steppin' a little bit. Now we two-step a whole lot more and we West Coast swing." The two types of "swingin'," in particular, she thinks are very different: "The cowboy swing was rough, and the West Coast is sexy."
She laughs. "Country dancing in general is still a hoot."
Dancers of all ages who want to give line dancing a try can find Thacker at Cowboys from 5 to 6:30 p.m. every Sunday. After she wraps up, Manny and Alice Rodela teach traditional couples' moves from 6:30 to 8:30, including two-step, East and West Coast swing, country cha-cha and waltz — one style a week, on a rotating basis. You can practice anything you learn Wednesday through Sunday evenings at the downtown nightclub.
Two other spots in town offer tunes for two-steppin'. Bloom's Mill Hill Saloon (1668 S. 21st St., 632-6932) provides live country bands for your dancing and drinking pleasure, and Copperhead Road (3330 N. Academy Blvd., copperheadroadbar.com) offers Thursday Ladies Nights, Friday $5 Fever Military Appreciation, and Boot Scoot Saturdays, in addition to special events on other nights.
Swing and such
Of course, country dancing isn't the only game in town — and country swing isn't the only swing in town.
Front Range Swing and Blues hosts a weekly drop-in dance at the Movement Arts Community Studios (525 E. Fountain Blvd., #150, frontrangeswingandblues.com). Every Sunday, staff members teach lessons from 7 to 8 p.m., with open dancing following until 10:30. Vintage American styles taught range from Lindy Hop and East Coast swing, to Charleston and Balboa.
Another option for both learning and dancing swing happens Wednesday nights at the Loft (2506 W. Colorado Ave., Suite C, loftmusicvenue.com). Classes in Lindy Hop, Charleston, Shim Sham and Jitterbug run from 6:30 to 7:30, with a beginner East Coast class from 7:30 to 8, and open dancing with a deejay from 8 to 10:45. Every now and then, the Loft hosts live swing bands — keep an eye on their website for details.
Or let your passion lead you to Cucuru Gallery Café (2332 W. Colorado Ave., cucurucafe.net) on Monday nights for tango. From 6:30 to 7:45, instructor John Miller teaches advanced moves, followed by a free practica until 8:30. Make it a full evening out and pair your session with some of the restaurant's excellent Spanish tapas and wine.
On Wednesdays, join in on the weekly milonga downtown at the Red Martini (20 N. Tejon St., redmartinics.com) from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
And don't miss Latin Quarters Nightclub (1865 N. Academy Blvd., lqnightlife.com), the longtime locale for Latin dance in the Springs. Newbies can take in lessons on Fridays from 8:30 to 10 p.m., practice until 2 a.m., then return Saturday and dance everything from salsa and merengue to bachata and reggaeton.
Second Saturdays also bring the Latin Social Dance at Springs Rhythm and Event Center (1414 Kelly Johnson Blvd., springsrhythm.com). A mini-lesson begins at 7:30 p.m., with "new and old school Latin beats" from 8 to 11.
For mid-week moves, hit up the Sick Puppy Saloon (5975 Terminal Ave., sickpuppysaloon.com). Wednesdays at the eastside club combine salsa dancing with all the specials found at Ladies Night.
Now for a real change of pace: You'll find the oldest active traditional waltz club in the U.S. here in the Springs. The Broadmoor Waltz Club (broadmoorwaltzclub.com), founded in 1937, teaches lessons for couples on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Austin Bluffs Community Church (5090 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.), and Thursdays for beginners from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and returning students from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Colorado Springs Senior Center (1514 N. Hancock Ave., csseniorcenter.com). These classes prep students for six formal black-tie dances a year, held in The Broadmoor's grand ballroom. Such events are something to behold, with music provided by a live orchestra.
If you like waltz, but are interested in other styles of ballroom dance as well, and a more casual environment, Springs Rhythm also offers Saturday Night Ballroom Dances from 8 to 11 the first and third Saturdays of each month.