Dancing for Dollars
A number of musical genres that are synonymous with Texas, including western swing, conjunto, and polka, might not be as culturally significant today without Texas dance halls, community institutions often built by German and Czech immigrants. “Many forms of music were born and bred in these dance halls,” said Stephen Michael Dean, co-founder and board member of the nonprofit Texas Dance Hall Preservation. “If it weren’t for these places, we wouldn’t have Willie Nelson or Roy Orbison or Buck Owens.” Many of these historic structures are in jeopardy because the small towns they call home do not have the financing to maintain them, so as a way to raise funds, Dean organized the Texas Dance Hall Preservation concert. Asleep at the Wheel, the nine-time Grammy-winning Texas swing band, will headline the show at Anhalt Hall in Spring Branch, which Dean said “has one of the largest, most beautiful dance floors in Central Texas,” a curved ceiling, and views of “pristine countryside outside of every window.” Even if you can’t make it to the show, help make sure these landmarks aren’t neglected by visiting any one of the roughly 1,400 dance halls scattered around the state.
Anhalt Hall, March 30, 8 p.m., texasdancehall.org
Dallas subcultures have been subverting the city’s stereotypically conservative image for decades. In the eighties, celebrities and locals danced away the night at the internationally known and infamously wild Starck Club. Before that, in the