Dreamland Ballroom

I Am Still High from DID 2022

By now, everyone is probably sick of reading my blog posts about Friends of Dreamland’s (FOD) Dancing Into Dreamland (DID) fundraising event but I would be remiss to leave you hanging as to how the event went. (I promise this to be the last mention of DID, ‘til next year)

The idea of a dancing fundraiser came from a young party planner named John. In 2009, he had followed a girl to Little Rock, started his party planning business, got divorced (or never married), and then left town. That’s all I remember about him, other than that he had short, blond hair.

I often think of him and how I would like to tell him about the success of his legacy. The more I think about it, the more perfect I realize his brainchild was. Dancing is a huge part of Dreamland’s history. In this hallowed ballroom, past patrons jitterbugged to big band music, servicemen came to dance while on leave, and high school students held chaperoned dances, complete with dance cards.

Furthermore, the first dances done in this ballroom were probably the Charleston in the 1920’s. Though Prohibition was in full swing, there is no way you could do that aerobic dance step for long, without the help of one of the bootlegged drinks of the era: a bourbon and coke or Gin Rickey.

 Worry No More

As I mentioned earlier in a blog post, after the Covid hiatus and broad social changes brought on by the virus, we wondered would people still remember us? Would people come out? And would there be enough participating dancers to fill the roster?

Though we limited the seating arrangement and ticket availability, for social distancing, we still had a big crowd and sold out. Brian from Boston who, years ago, read about Dreamland online and watched the documentary, flew in for his 5th year of attendance. But this time, Brian didn’t win the “Who Came The Farthest” award because there were guests from New Deli and London.

The Dancers Brought It

In 2019, our last year to gather, we marked the end of a dancing decade with a “Tournament of Champions”. This bringing back the winners (champions) of past years to honor our 10th year was contrived by our super volunteer and performer-recruiter, Richard Davis. And what a tournament it was! The dancers really brought their A-game.

With the bar set high, DID2022 began a new decade of dancers. As I often hear on my radio show, Little Rock has a lot to offer. Our city has a symphony, ballet company, professional theatre, art museum and, yes, a big dance community.

Love Was In The Air

This new crop of dancers amazed me and, from the looks of everyone in the audience, amazed them, too. The energy was high. The encouragement and acceptance: palpable. And the entertainment, well, what can I say? Perfect.

While the judges were sequestered, tallying up their votes, everyone flooded the floor for a danceathon full of lots of partner-swapping and same-sex dancing. I told someone my feet hurt and a gummy was offered up. Having been a doubting, virgin gummy eater before, I am now a convert into the healing powers of THC. It just occurred to me, maybe that is why I am still exhilarated. Nope, it is not.

It is because there is no other event like Dancing Into Dreamland, where you put on your best clothes, watch raw, artful entertainment, up close in a beautiful space full of risk, intensity, and endearment. Experiences such as that are far and few between. And these feelings, that get into your soul, last for days.

Oh yay, see the winners.