DALLAS, March 3-5, 2017
And that spells DALLAS! One hundred and five dancers made their way to the Sons of Hermann Hall in the Deep Ellum sector of Dallas TX for Pegasus Squares’ first Fly In. Pegusus was resurrected several years ago after a 12 year hiatus, by 6 co-founders and with President and Fly In Chair Alan Josephson. Their numbers grew exponentially, and Pegusus is now the Third IAGSDC Club in the State of Texas, with Lone Star Lambdas in Austin and Alamo City Wranglers in San Antonio. What a fantastic Fly In it was, with emphasis on great calling, dancing and that ever-present spirit of Hospitality.
Saundra Bryant (IL) and Darryl Lipscomp (TX) anchored the caller corner keeping us fresh with lively tunes and choreography. Everyone enjoyed them. We all know and love Saundra, an iconic stalwart on the gay square dance circuit who never ceases to inspire and entertain, and she lived up to her reputation. Darryl was new to me, but held his own with formations and routines that flowed well – my only criticism being that I had a hard time hearing/understanding him – the Texan drawl, perhaps, or just the miking…
The surprise was Scott Amspoker (NM) from the Wilde Bunch. His soft jazz sounds enticed the crowd immediately and he wowed us with a perky pace and some nice Ah-Hah! resolutions.
Workshops were at a not-too-early somewhat civilized 10AM on Saturday especially given the commute time. Sandy did a fine job with Split Counter Rotates from various positions with an ever-changing Flag-pole center. It was nice that the concepts were subtly worked into her subsequent tips.
The Fly In encompassed MS through HiC, with several hours of just C1 Dancing. The level of the floor was excellent at all programs, in C1 in part because many C2 dancers’ few floor opportunities facilitated their move down a notch to dance C1. See the videos on my Facebook Page for some of the fun A2 and MS tips. I was proud to confidently execute a successful “In Phantom Tally Ho!” with my great C1 square and favorite friends.
The Hospitality Card was played early and often with the Pegusus elves in seemingly perpetual motion replenishing Friday night’s serious Finger Foods, Saturday mornings’ Continental Breakfast, and Saturday Evening’s sumptuous BBQ Banquet Buffet Dinner in the Sons of Hermann Ballroom, with options for vegans and vegetarians from another source.
Sons of Hermann Hall is a 1911 structure which exudes character with many details intact. Founded as a German Fraternity and Social Club House, the Hall sports a public bar, large parlour which hosed registration and the copious Basket Raffle tables, a grand staircase, and upstairs dance hall, and a converted bowling alley. All rooms featured well-worn hardwood flooring and spacious windows which provided refreshing daytime natural light. Located in the Deep Ellum sector of Dallas, it seems to be the earliest 2-storey structure in the neighborhood, in the late 19th century style with high ceilings, wainscoting, and a bracketed cornice. It’s at 3414 Elm Street, which lends it’s name to the District – a phonetic, dialect rendering of “Elm” to “Ellum”. Characterized by one-storey industrial buildings, the night life flows from out of the many clubs and onto the sidewalks, with a young hearty party crowd.
The host hotel was the modest but adequate La Quinta Inn, located in N. Dallas. It was readily accessible by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (“DART”), about 1 ½ hours from the airport and 45 minutes to Sons of Hermann for $2.50 a jaunt. Luckily we had co-ordinated with Rent-A-Car friends, and had the luxury of wheels from the airport and to the dance venue, which took between ½ hour and 45 minutes depending on traffic, which seems to be omnipresent on Highway 75. The $112 rate included a substantial breakfast with eggs, sausage, waffles, fruit and all the trimmings, and a free, limited-hours, shuttle van transported within a three-mile radius.
Saturday night 50/50 drawing yielded a $275 pot, and Fly In Exchanges abounded as a staple of the many copious auction baskets. One happy winner proudly claimed and flaunteded his new hedge trimmer – still in the box – while others walked away with over-sized paintings of pheasants, and other sundry items.
Attendees came from all over the US and at least one from Canada – AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, NC, NM, NY, NJ, PA, TX, and Ontario to name a few. Though I maintained a dance card of A2 and C1, the MS/Plus Hall consistently flaunted 4-6 high energy squares. There were readily three A2 and two C1 squares at any offering. So, Kudos to Alan Josephson, Pegasus Squares, and all their wonderful team for putting on a fantastic first Fly In.
The camaraderie, friendships, over-the-top callers, and enthusiast, adept, knowledgeable and smiling dancers made for a happy weekend from beginning to end. It seems that the Texas Gay Square Dance Fly Ins will rotate between the three clubs, and the next host is Lone Star Lambdas in Austin at the same time in 2018. Check the IAGSDC website for more information on the next Fly In, and see the video below
Here’s a video of the last dance of the weekend with Sandie Bryant and Darryl Lipscomb calling.