DINNER AND A DANCE: Program harkens back to old times

Published 3:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2018

Brundidge is known for innovative ideas.

Back in the 1920s, the rural Pike County town was churning out more than 2 million jars of peanut butter each year and hosting “wrastling” matches on makeshift rings on Main Street. The town had a bulldog for its assistant police chief and homemade decorations and string lights that hung across Main Street at Christmas time.

Today, the tradition continues. There’s a state-of-the-arts recording studio on the south side, a folklife theater at the crossroads and a fine dining restaurant two doors up.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

And, on Thursday night there’s Dinner and a Dance at Collier’s on Main.

Quite innovative for a town of 2000 in the 21st century.

Randy Ross who leads both the dinner and the dancing said the concept isn’t new. It’s a throwback to the early days when people got together in homes for dinner and dancing.

“I can remember hearing older people talk about frolics,” Ross said. “The women would cook their favorite dishes to take to the frolics that rotated at different houses. The entire community would turn out. The men, the women and the children. First, they would have a huge shared supper. Then the men would move all the furniture out of the ‘front room’ or several rooms to make room for dancing. The adults would dance and the children would play outside.”

Ross, laughing, said Dinner and a Dance at Collier’s on Main is a modern “frolic.”

“But, the idea is the same,” he said. “First, we enjoy great food and the fellowships that are formed and strengthened while sitting around the table. Then, we dance.”

The dancing is strictly line dancing. Those who don’t know how to line dance need only to watch and listen to pick it up, Ross said. “It’s easy to learn the basic steps and any of the dancers are happy to help. We all enjoy line dancing. The only thing we enjoy more is the dining.”

Dixie Shehane, a member of the Brundidge Business Association, said Dinner and a Dance is something that is rather unique for a small town.

“We are fortunate to have Collier’s where we can go out for dinner and then dance it off at the same place,” she said, laughing. “We love the atmosphere of the Warehouse event center and the old wood floors are perfect for line dancing or dancing of any kind.”

For Mary Adams, line dancing is new.

“Going to Collier’s on Thursday night was something new to do,” she said. “I knew I would enjoy the dinner but I didn’t know how to line dance.”

At first, Adams said she just watched the dancers. It didn’t take long for her to realize line dancing is a fun way to exercise. And, as Jones Huff said, it’s “tailored for old folks.”

“I started watching and I decided to try it,” Adams said. “The dancers were real helpful and I’m getting better. There are people that are very good line dancers and, there are some of us that are just learning but we all have fun. We laugh and have a good time.”

Ross has been line dancing since, if he had to put a date on it, “around 1993.” Although he did admit to doing the Electric Slide more than a few years prior.

“Line dancing really caught on because you don’t have to have a partner,” he said. “Many people enjoy dancing but don’t go to dances because they have no one to dance with. With line dancing, you just go and get up and dance.”

And, line dancing can be simple or it can be “not so simple.”

“At Dinner and a Dance, we have novice dancers and advanced dancers. You learn by watching. You learn by instruction and you learn by dancing. No one notices if you get out of step. It’s all in fun and, as long as you are having fun, that’s what matters.”

Every Thursday night, the dinners and dancers gather at Collier’s for good food and the fellowship. Then, they put on their dancing shoes or boots and dance the night away.

“Line dancing is fun exercise,” Shehane said. “We all need exercise and line dancing is something that we can do that doesn’t seem like exercise. It’s just fun. And, too, it brings life to the town. It let’s people know that Brundidge is open for business.”