Jim Clark: What do dancing, social issues have in common?
I’m a baby boomer. When I was a kid, we went to dances as our social gathering place. One way of keeping kids out of trouble on the weekends was to hold dances in community halls. I picked up a bass guitar at the age of 14 and started playing at these dances. As I aged, I began playing in clubs. Every club had a stage and a dance floor. We swayed to the music of rock, soul, metal and, yes, protest songs. High school kids, college students and adults all gathered around music and dancing.
Later in my life, I entered the disco age and went from playing an instrument to spinning records. Music styles changed, but dancing remained the common social thread. My generation danced to tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and had a great time doing so. Do some of you miss those days as much as I do?
For me, music and dancing bring back lots of happy memories but some unhappy ones, as well. In my first job after college, I was in hotel management. Those of us who worked odd shift hours often hung out together, sometimes going to the local disco. One of the women in our group occasionally came to work with a bruised face. A fall, she said, a slip on the stairs. Or on the ice. Later, she’d admit the truth but said her boyfriend “didn’t mean it”.
Your first impression of Steamboat Springs as you descend Rabbit Ears Pass is one of beauty and tranquility. On the surface, this beautiful valley is idyllic in many ways, but hidden from most eyes and ears is a problem none of us like to talk about: domestic and sexual violence. We want to think it doesn’t exist in our community, or that abuse is confined to a certain demographic. But that’s not the case.
Advocates Building Peaceful Communities is a small, local nonprofit headed for the past 30 years by Diane Moore. Advocates provides services and shelter to those affected by domestic and sexual violence and is a charity we’ve become close to at the Chamber. The unpleasant truth is that, last year, Advocates answered more than 170 crisis calls. These services are vitally important to the safety and survival of many in our community.
So, what’s the connection between dancing and social services? Back in the ’80s, we put on an event titled, “Sunday at the Memories,” featuring popular Denver DJ Ray Durkee. Ray’s not with us anymore, but the memories are. The new event is senior prom, “Relive the Magic,” scheduled for 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Steamboat Grand. Music from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s will highlight an evening of dancing, music, prizes and yes, costumes. Tickets will be available at Alpine Bank, All That and at the Chamber.
We’re pleased to co-sponsor this event with Advocates and revive a tradition. You don’t have to be a great, or even a good, dancer. Simply join and have a good time.
I don’t know whatever happened to that young lady I used to work with. I wish I could have done something to help her back then. But you can help someone now and have a good time doing so. I hope to see you at the “Senior Prom.”
Jim Clark is CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
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