BUCKHANNON – Need a unique date idea for Valentine’s Day?
The Buckhannon Opera House, located at 12 E. Main St., is hosting the Buckhannon Mountain Music and Mountain dance series. This series kicked off Jan. 24 and was organized by Buckhannon City Councilman CJ Rylands, also the executive director of Create Buckhannon.
“I felt mountain dancing aligned both culturally and geographically with Buckhannon,” Rylands said. “I wanted to use this as a way to help people tell a story, be authentic and represent our values.”
The Mountain Music and Mountain Dance Series takes place on the second Thursday of each month. Each session will include not only square dancing but two-step, flatfoot, waltz and line.
So, why the term mountain dancing?
T-Claw, the dance caller who’s responsible for coordinating they event in conjunction with Rylands, says although the focus might be on square dancing, attendees can expect a little bit of everything.
“We hope to sample lots of different types of music and dance throughout the series,” T-Claw told My Buckhannon. “Whenever our callers or bands can play or teach other types of music/dance to beginner crowds, they will be encouraged to do so.
“But you can expect to have some amount of old-time fiddle tunes, bluegrass, and or country music at each event.”
T-Claw also explained how he and Rylands settled on the name of the series.
“CJ and I chose the name Mountain Music, Mountain Dance, to try to express that the series is more than monthly square dance,” he said. “The goal is to have a good old-fashioned community get-together first, with good live music, food and social fun, then a secondary focus being on sharing dance with those interested in participating.
“We like to see groups of folks coming just to hang out and enjoy the energy, the company, and the warm inviting venue, and not planning on dancing at all or much at all. A big piece of the beauty of it is seeing people from four different generations mix, mingle, and open up to not being good dancers, together.”
While the concept is still new in Buckhannon, Rylands is continuing to work on new initiatives and develop ideas to further expand the event.
Doors open for this event at 6 p.m. followed by a free workshop at 6:45 p.m. The workshop, which will take place prior to the start of the event, is for anyone interested in learning these dances, so they can more actively and comfortably participate in the event.
Rylands himself was a newcomer.
“I didn’t know anything when I first started but everyone was so tolerant and accepting,” Rylands said.
That’s because mountain dancing is about building community, T-Claw said.
“I have been organizing community music, dance and food events my whole life,” he said. “It is the most proactive thing I can think of to make the world a better place.
“Rather than being anti-something or focused on the negative things all around us, I want to build a diverse community and positive support network in a technologically isolating time. Anything that is fun for all types of people is fun for me.”
Alongside dance workshops is live music, including Andy FitzGibbon on fiddle, Nate Druckenmiller on guitar and/or bass, and Kevin Chesser on banjo.
This event also doesn’t require a partner and has an admission fee of $5. Food and drinks are available for purchase. So, if you’re interested in trying new types of dance or just want to have a fun night out, be sure to stop by the Opera House on Valentines Day for their next event!