Dance the night away: a ballroom club to celebrate the 100th dinner dance | New


Inspired by a strong local interest in ballroom dancing, two Jacksonville residents formed the Venetian Ballroom Dance Club in 2002 in East Texas.

On Friday, the club – with 44 attendees from various parts of the region, as well as Dallas – will commemorate its 100th gathering with a 7 p.m. dinner, followed by a dance, at the Willowbrook Country Club, 3205 W. Erwin in Tyler .

Music will be provided by Tom Lepper.

“We moved to Tyler 18 years ago and joined soon after we arrived here as we were eager to have the opportunity to practice what we were doing (at Shreveport),” recalls Suzanne Handley. , member of Tyler. “It’s a fun hobby, and Susan (Brock, co-founder and club president) is just great to put this all together, all these years.”

Friday’s event is open to guests, who are invited to join the club, which offers six dinner dances six times a year between May 1 and April 30.

The Venetian Ballroom Dance Club uses the best dance groups or live entertainment combos from the Dallas, Houston, and Northeast Texas area, including Jim Baker (who will be the featured group at an event on the 27th. March 2020), Swinging Ballroom (November 22), Larry Stanley (New Years Eve), Doc Gibbs, Jim Sharple and Tom Leper, ”said Brock.

These formal dances are optional in the black tie – “which means the choice of wearing tuxedos for men, or men can wear a coat and tie and that is certainly the case for the guests,” he said. she explained, adding, “We don’t ask or require our guests to wear tuxedos, it’s just optional. (Meanwhile,) women usually wear cocktail dresses, tea length, or an outfit.” after 5 years ”.

The Venetian Ballroom Dance Club, which was co-founded by Richard East of Jacksonville, has members “of all ages and backgrounds, from beauticians to pastors, from airline pilots to NASA scientists, we have it all,” Brock said. .

People sign up for a variety of reasons.

Handley said that two decades ago her husband, now a retired doctor, decided to enroll in dance classes to overcome the fear of dancing in the public eye and, to her delight, “became passionate about it”.

Today, the couple teach a free ballroom dance class at the Baptist Church in Green Acres “a few times a year,” she said. “We are not professional teachers, but we enjoyed doing this so much. “

“We’re all students (at the Venetian club),” Brock said. “Whether we’ve danced one day or 40 years old, we all have the same goal: to have a good time with food and companionship and a love of ballroom music and dancing.

One member, she noted, “had never danced a day in her life but wanted to learn. Five years later, Stepp Sydnor was making headlines on the Tyler Morning Telegraph with the “Tyler Dancing With The Stars” fundraiser – as a “professional” dancer.

Today, members are between 40 and 80 years old, with about a quarter of the members being among the youngest, Handley said.

“There is an interest (in ballroom dancing), although I’m not sure ‘Dancing with the Stars’ has rekindled an interest,” she said, adding that the mood created by the live music “is fun and exciting – it really is a Wonderful night. And some who can’t dance anymore come to enjoy the music and watch the people dance.

The cost is $ 45 per person for Friday’s event, which includes the cost of the meal, taxes, and tips, Brock said, adding that it was a good way for people to “see what’s going on.” is a “ballroom dance club.”

The reservation deadline is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25. RSVP to Susan Brock at 903-571-6772, or email [email protected]

The annual fee of $ 185 is for a married couple or a single person and a date / escort. Fees include groups, invitations, mailings and a membership directory. Semi-annual subscriptions, which include the remaining dances for the 2019-2020 dance year, are $ 100.


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