Dance hall photo exhibit debuts at Boerne Library

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Texas Dance Hall Preservation presents a new photography exhibit, Two-Step Your Way Through Time in Historic Texas Dance Halls. Conceived as a “visual tour” of historic halls, the exhibit debuted on June 4 at the Patrick Heath Public Library, 415 North Main Street, Boerne, Texas. The Boerne Library system’s music-themed Summer Reading Program this year celebrates music and history in Central Texas communities.

The exhibit is free and open for viewing in the Library Gallery from June 4 through July 8 during regular library hours, Mondays–Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Can’t make it to Boerne? You can view all of the images in the exhibit and order your own copies here.

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Special thanks to sponsors Cynthia Inman of Ranch Connection LLC and Greg Sales of Duncan Springs Farms, whose generosity made this exhibit possible.

Photographers who provided images for the exhibit include Deborah Fleming, Gary E. McKee, Dave Norris Photography, and Wendy Schutt; Lee and Judi Temple, owners of Kendalia Halle,  contributed a photograph by Jennie Trower.

On July 18, starting at  the Library will host a brief reception in the gallery, followed by a talk by TDHP executive director Deb Fleming in the Community Room on historic dance halls and their importance to the communities in which they are located. The public is invited to both events.

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Posted on June 10th, 2018


May 2018 Newsletter

Posted on May 30th, 2018


Remembering Steve Dean (1952–2018)

It is with heavy hearts that we remember and celebrate the life of Stephen Michael Dean (1952–2018), one of the co-founders of Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc. and a longtime champion of Texas music and dance halls.

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Photo courtesy of Nicholas McWhirter

“In 2005, a friend who knew Steve told me I must meet him, as she knew that — as a fifth-generation Texan — I had a strong interest and passion for Texas history, architecture, and music, and I loved a good road trip as well as small-town rural culture and people.  Steve was in the beginning stages of chasing down Texas dance halls, in hopes of doing a book one day.  Our first encounter led very quickly to a few road trips to look for halls. I was hooked from the start.  What started in 2005 as a mutual love of historic hall exploration and discovery soon led to co-ownership of a roots music venue on the outskirts of Austin, hundreds more dance hall and BBQ road trips clocking thousands of miles, library and archive research and interviews, and the beginnings of what is now Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc.

My most memorable dance hall trip with Steve was to Panna Maria, TX in October 2007 for their annual hall and church fundraiser.  That visit opened a door to my ancestral past, where I discovered that my great-great-grandparents were among the original settlers of Panna Maria, coming direct from Silesia (now Poland) in 1854.  My family had no knowledge of this before that dance hall visit, and I was able to take my 90-year-old father there before he passed away. This discovery was another major influence on my ongoing commitment and search for more halls and their stories.

Steve’s energy and sense of adventure and exploration led us down many a back road, never knowing what we might find, and many times we’d stumble upon a hall that neither of us knew anything about prior.  The excitement was palpable when this happened and only fired us up for more road trips to new parts of Texas.  We always had loads of fun mapping out the route, stopping for BBQ or a beer to chat with locals and ask ‘where did they dance’ or ‘where did their parents/grandparents dance back then.’  I never expected that our fated 2005 meeting would lead me down a totally different path in my life’s work, but it was the beginning of what brought me to where I am today and my continued commitment and passion for our historic dance halls and the communities they serve.  I have Steve to thank for that. ”

— Deborah Fleming, executive director/past board president, Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc.

“After I began researching Texas dance halls in 2007, for my master’s thesis in historic preservation, a friend from the Texas Historical Commission suggested that I should talk to this guy named Steve who kept calling him about dance halls. He made the introduction, and Steve and I met to talk about a project he was working on at that time — a book for UT Press with a friend from Kansas. Before long, we had also connected with Patrick Sparks. The first time the three of us met in person, sitting at a table outside Jo’s Coffee on South Congress Avenue in Austin, we hatched the idea for a new nonprofit organization, which became Texas Dance Hall Preservation. Although both Patrick and I later left the board (I came back in 2015), Steve was one of the threads that ran through TDHP from the start. He never had a shortage of ideas or passion for Texas music and the spaces where that music was born and nurtured. We are all poorer for his passing and will remember his great humor and indomitable spirit.”

— Steph McDougal, co-founder/current board president, Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc.

Posted on May 3rd, 2018


March 2018 Newsletter

Check out the latest Texas Dance Hall News here!

Posted on March 2nd, 2018


December 2017 Newsletter

For our latest newsletter, we’ve moved to an online publishing format. Please let us know what you think!

Posted on December 21st, 2017


Thanks for your support on #GivingTuesday!

Thanks to everyone who donated to Texas Dance Hall Preservation on #GivingTuesday last week. We set a goal of raising $5,000 for critical repairs for dance halls, such as roof leaks and faulty electrical wiring, which can lead (and have led) to losing important halls around the Lone Star State.

Generous donors stepped up to give a total of $5,518!

TDHP is heading into our 11th year with a full head of steam, and we need your help to continue helping Texas dance halls survive and thrive! We provide grants for building repairs, direct assistance to dance hall owners, and developing resources that cover everything from how to book a band, to fundraising for building projects, to dance hall business management.

It’s not too late to make a #GivingTuesday gift … just click here:

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All contributions to TDHP are 100% tax deductible.

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Posted on November 21st, 2017


Thanks for joining us for the 2nd Texas Dance Hall Tour!

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We had a great weekend with Asleep At The Wheel & Ray Benson, Dale Watson, The Derailers, Jamie Lin Wilson, and Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis on the 2nd Texas Dance Hall Tour! Thanks to everyone who came out, from the full-tour attendees to all of our old and new friends who dropped in for one of the four nights of dancing. It was such a pleasure to introduce you to Texas’ “round” dance halls in Galveston, Cat Spring, Peters Community, and Bellville. Thanks to everyone who made this possible, including Sam Seifert, Liz Foster, Ellie Newman, PJ Herrington, and the Asleep at the Wheel crew.

Deb and Steph also want to thank all of the folks who came out to the dances, asked us to dance, signed up for the TDHP newsletter, and joined as new members. We especially want to thank our five new Lifetime members! We enjoyed seeing all of you and getting to meet new friends.

Want to join us for the next tour? Visit www.texasdancehalltour.com to get all the info as soon as it’s available. See you on the dance floor!

 

 

Posted on October 30th, 2017


The Twin Sisters Dance Hall By Patrick Cox, Ph.D.

Twin Sisters Dance Hall

A one. A two. And away we go with the flow of Texas music on a Saturday night at the Twin Sisters Dance Hall, located just off US Hwy. 281 about six miles south of Blanco. The region is a hotbed of dancehalls that includes venerable venues in nearby Kendalia, Luckenbach and Fischer. Twin Sisters fits right in.

The nineteenth century dance hall stands among the stately Live Oak trees. The exact date of the venue’s origin is undetermined, but most estimates cite the mid-1870’s. The hall’s exterior is a checkboard tin pressed in the pattern of stone blocks and is multicolored from years of exposure to the sun and rain. Multiple casement windows surround the building to allow sunlight during the day. At nighttime inside the dance hall, thousands of tiny white lights wrap around the wooden columns and are strung across the ceiling to illuminate the aged wooden dance floor that dates back to 1911. On either side of the interior floor, dancers and visitors sit at long communal tables – just as their predecessors have done since the 19th century.

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Posted on April 18th, 2017


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