Ladies in full-length formal gowns twirl under the chandeliers in the Grand Ballroom at The Broadmoor. Men in tuxedos glide across the floor to live music. While much has changed in Colorado Springs since 1937, the Broadmoor Waltz Club (BWC) has remained a timeless example of elegance and civility.
Those two words normally don’t describe me. I’ve always been more Fred Flintstone than Fred Astaire. Yet for nearly a decade, my wife and I have been members of the longest-running traditional waltz club in the United States.
For me, it wasn’t love at first chassé. I quit taking ballroom dance lessons—twice. It wasn’t the cost. Lessons were, and remain, free. But while my wife moved in perfect time to the music, I was like the white rabbit from Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland—always running late.
During our first few lessons, the dance instructor kept asking, “Are you two married?”
“For more than 20 years,” I’d reply.
He’d smile and say, “Then hold her closer!”
After countless times of proclaiming my marital union, it occurred to me that the instructor knew dancing was best when performed in close proximity.
“When you’ve been married for a long time, you can begin pursuing different interests,” Newman McAllister says. “But when you’re waltzing, it sparks an intimacy beyond.”
Newman and his wife, Bonny, joined the BWC in 1984.
“There’s nothing like it,” Bonny says. “It’s dance; it’s wonderful and elegant.”
Lessons for the BWC are held at three locations where couples learn 12 figured waltzes. For a nondancer like myself, figured waltzing made learning the dances achievable. Because everybody does the same steps at the same time, all I had to do was memorize the moves (think square dancing without the caller).
At six yearly balls, a band plays music for the 12 dances and additional songs between waltzes when couples can tango, foxtrot or free waltz.
I still haven’t tried any of the “tweener” dances. But once I attended my first ball, I was hooked. Members of the BWC range in age from 20 to 80. My wife and I have met fascinating people, including war heroes, doctors, lawyers, artists, engineers, accountants, even a guy who makes his own armor and battles with real swords (he often shows up with a new injury).
“Everybody seems to know everyone,” Bonny says. “It’s very social, like a dance family.”
Each ball attracts around 40 couples. Members are mainly from Colorado Springs, but have come from as far as Santa Fe, New Mexico. Only members can dance, but guests are welcome to watch. Visitors of The Broadmoor often peek inside, saying it’s like going on a beautiful journey back in time.
I couldn’t agree more.
Care to Dance?
Check out the Broadmoor Waltz Club by visiting the Christmas ball on Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Learn more about free Tuesday and Thursday waltz lessons at broadmoorwaltzclub.com.
Find additional local ballroom dance opportunities from the Pikes Peak chapter of USA Dance at PPUSAdance.org.