Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Creekside and Got Country!

{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}

So...I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on the blog yet, but I kinda joined a dance team earlier this year.  It’s called “Got Country!” and it’s an all-female country western dance group based in Santa Barbara.  

Got Country! in full costume & makeup for our recent competition.

But let me back up a bit.

I’ve been into line dancing on and off since I turned 21 and started going to Montana’s back in college.  Line dancing was about the only way I was physically active in my early 20s, but back then, I only knew about four different dances.  I’d try to figure out some of the other ones, but I just didn’t have the coordination or retention skills to really nail them down.  Still, I loved going and giving it my all.  And eventually (read: in just the last year or so), I started being able to retain more of the dances and really feeling more confident in my line dancing ability.  

It took a couple years after moving to Santa Barbara before I checked out Creekside, our local country bar, which has line dancing every Wednesday night.  When I first checked it out, all I could do was mentally compare it to Montana’s, and so I didn’t really get into it for awhile.  (This is a rare moment when I will tell you that I like something somewhere else better than its equivalent in Santa Barbara: Montana’s will always be my favorite line dancing spot.)

But we’re talking about Santa Barbara here, and I’m happy to say that after giving Creekside another chance in the last year or so, I have come to love and appreciate it for many reasons, of which I have listed a few below (have you figured out yet that I really like lists?):

  • The “regulars” are super friendly and fun.  There’s that core group of people you can bet will always be at Creekside, and they are so welcoming, inclusive, and more than willing to help folks learn new dances.  (Now, I must say that when I first tried Creekside several years ago, this wasn’t so much the case in my experience.  I got yelled at to get off the floor when I was trying to figure out a dance on more than one occasion.  That’s pretty much why it took me awhile to give the place another chance; but thankfully, the people there now are generally a lot more friendly!)  

  • Derek, the DJ, picks great songs to go with various line dances and two steps.  I’ve experienced some country DJs who just didn’t seem to have a knack for choosing songs that work well with whatever line dance they’ve called out.  Derek tends to pick good ones, and he mixes up the songs so that you’re not always dancing the same line dance to the same song.  He also likes to speed up some songs gradually so that the dance gets a little harder as the song goes on, which can be fun when you’re doing one of the easier dances that might tend to get boring after awhile at the same pace.

  • The bartenders make a mean margarita.  I don’t really have to say much about this one.  Just go and ask for a margarita (with salt on the rim, of course) and enjoy it.

  • We have the best line dance instructors.  Listen, when it comes to line dance lessons, the instructor makes a HUGE difference in whether you will a) enjoy the dance, b) actually GET the dance, and c) remember the dance three weeks later.  Dorothea and Lisa are the two instructors I’ve experienced the most in the last year at Creekside, and they both bring their own special quality to lessons.  Dorothea is ridiculously sweet, and she is great at very clearly explaining the steps and going over them to make sure everyone gets it.  Lisa is spunky and always tells people that they shouldn’t think of it as “messing up” so much as “putting your own variation” on a step you may not have done exactly as she taught it.  

  • Minimal creepers.   Look, you know I’d be lying if I said there were NO creepy people at a bar, right?  There are always creepers.  But Creekside seems to attract much fewer of them than other places I’ve been, and I’ve developed a knack for spotting them and avoiding them.  Plus, with all the very nice and friendly people around, we’re all looking out for each other.  

  • Yet another great way to burn calories in Santa Barbara.  Whenever I wear my Loop activity tracker to Creekside, I get SO MANY steps and burn SO MANY calories!  I love it because the app that goes with the Loop always says stuff like, “Wow, you’re a rockstar today!  You were super active.”  Dang right I was!

Full dance floor at Creekside!
Okay, now back to this whole dance team thing.  Earlier this year, Joe and I went to a different local venue that tried out a weekly line dancing gig for a little while.  It didn’t end up lasting very long, but that first time we went, there was this group of girls that got up and performed a really cool dance routine to some country songs!  I remember thinking it looked like a lot of fun but also figuring they were all professional dancers, so of course it didn’t even occur to me to wonder if that was something I could ever do.

Fast forward a couple months, and this same team showed up at Creekside one night.  Derek brought them on the dance floor to congratulate them for winning some competition, and then he said, “By the way, they’ve got an opening on the team, so go talk to Marilyn if you’re interested in joining!”

I don’t think he even finished his sentence before I bolted across the room to where Marilyn (the dance team’s director/choreographer) was sitting and squealed, “I want to be on the team!”

PEOPLE.  Have you met me?!  Since when am I a person who thinks she can be coordinated enough to REALLY dance?  (I mean, this team doesn’t just dance in a line and turn from one wall to the next to repeat it.  There are flips and kicks and jumps and formations and and and...!)  Well, whatever possessed me to do it, I somehow managed to pass the little audition and get myself a spot on the team.  

It’s taken months, but I’ve learned an 8-minute routine and am continually trying to improve on things like kicking higher, shimmying my shoulders instead of my booty (long story), and doing body rolls with actual fluidity instead of looking mechanical and awkward.  (It’s a process, but I’m getting better!)

And just this past weekend, we competed at the Paradise Country Dance Festival!  And I didn’t fall on my face!  And I wasn’t the only one who messed up here and there!  And I didn’t die of an asthma attack!  

So basically, I can now officially call myself a dancer, which is literally the LAST thing I ever thought I would be able to say about myself.  I mean, there’s been a lot of things I never thought I’d do, like running races or hiking up mountains or having actual ab muscles...but dancing was seriously at the very end of the “No, but seriously, NEVER” section of that list.  

So, never say never?

Anyway, all this to say, I have found another great community to be a part of in Santa Barbara, and if you haven’t been to Creekside yet, please come with me sometime!  And stay tuned on Got Country!’s Facebook page if you want to find out about upcoming performances and events!


  1. My first time at Creekside was in April 2012, with you. I remember feeling so intimidated, even though the atmosphere was much more friendly by then. Still, something about that place clearly grabbed my attention enough to want to buckle down and learn :-)

    And I have to agree with you that Montana's >>> just about any other place we've been. Even though I've only been there twice!

    1. So glad you've grown to love line dancing too! :-)

  2. The one and only time I experienced line dancing, the instructor made fun of me. :( Yes, I agree, a good instructor is very important. I was having fun trying until that point.

    1. Aww Mama, that stinks! Come up here and we'll show you what a good line dance lesson is supposed to be like. Fun, friendly, helpful, and NOT mean at all!


Thanks for your comment! I try to reply to all comments within the post itself so we can keep the conversation going.