The Roaring Fork Social Dancers group helps build, maintain relationships
If You Go...
Who: Roaring Fork Social Dancers
What: Halloween dance
When: 7-10 p.m. on Saturday
Where: Masonic Temple, 901 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs
How Much: $15
The Roaring Fork Social Dancers provides an opportunity for people in the valley and beyond — some even coming from as far as Meeker, Grand Junction or Vail — to country couples dance at least once a week. Every Tuesday, anywhere from 20 to 50 people meet to dance for two hours. On top of that, organizer Jae Gregory puts on bigger events, like this Saturday’s Halloween dance at the Masonic Temple.
But while the group’s purpose is to provide a place for people to come together and dance, it has actually turned into quite the match maker. Gregory herself met her boyfriend, Bob Hoover, through dance.
“I met him not here, but I met him through dancing and recruited him to come over here,” Gregory said. “At the time, I was recruiting men for our dance group because it’s easier to get women than it is men. Everywhere I went and saw a man who was cute or looked like he could dance or did dance, I said, ‘Hey, do you want to dance more often?’ So Bob was one of those people at a place called 4 Eagle out in Wolcott, where they have dances once a month. And I just went over and said, ‘Hey do you dance?’”
Gregory said it took quite a while for the two of them to admit there was something more than friendship between them.
“It wasn’t anything about dating; it was strictly dance,” Gregory said. “We kind of became dance partners without dating at all. I never wanted to mix dating and dance partners because it’s harder to find a dance partner than it is a date — at least it was at the time. And then at some point, I think it was March 25, we took an out-of-town trip and decided maybe there was something else there. So that was after dancing together for six months or something like that.”
Landon Deane and Dean Vigil, another couple brought together through the Roaring Fork Social Dancers, said that after dating for about six months, dance is still a big part of their relationship.
“It’s a common interest, and the group here is so fantastic,” Deane said.
“Yeah, and a woman will ask a guy to dance here, where it’s not that common elsewhere, so it just brings you in very easily,” Vigil said.
Vigil has only been dancing since the beginning of this year, but he said learning how to dance with Deane was a fun way to start a friendship that eventually turned into something more.
Laura Whittemore and Ron Vincent, another couple that met through dancing, said it took them a while to really get to know each other.
“When you come to the dances, you’re here to dance,” Whittemore said. “It’s not a bar where you can go and pick somebody up. So we were carpooling to another dance that was in Eagle, and that’s how we started talking.”
Vincent said dance remains a centerpiece of his relationship with Whittemore, although of course now they do other things together as well, like hiking.
Whittemore thinks so many couples develop in the Roaring Fork Social Dancers because dance is very important to the women who are in the group.
“Finding a man who likes to dance is difficult,” Whittemore said. “Especially if a woman loves dancing, a lot of times she gives it up in a relationship.”
Eileen Tucker met her boyfriend, Bill McCann, through the Roaring Fork Social Dancers. She said although meeting McCann there was important, she just loves the whole experience.
“As adults, we’ve got work, we’ve got our home, we’ve got our pets, our children; life is all responsibility,” she said. “Here, we’ve got all these great people dancing, and it’s just awesome. It’s just a great group of people, and dancing makes my heart sing.”
Gregory’s friend, Maria Tafuri, who is a licensed marriage family therapist in Basalt, said two of the couples she sees have benefited from going to dances put on by the Roaring Fork Social Dancers. One couple seemed to find new life in their relationship, and the other saw the once-quiet husband initiating activities for his wife and him to participate in together.
“I think the theme is there’s a new aliveness in their relationship that has needed to be there and has come about through dancing,” Tafuri said.
Whatever it is about dance that brings people together, Ron Vincent said coming to events put on by the Roaring Fork Social Dancers is a great way to meet people. Newcomers don’t need to show up with a partner because everyone dances with everyone.
“If a guy wants to hold a girl, and he’s single, he can come to a dance, and he’s not going to get in trouble for holding a girl,” Vincent said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
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The first in-person local festival of the year has arrived with Dandelion Day making its return to Sopris Park in Carbondale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday.