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Editorial board opinion: Texas dance halls are the stuff of our culture

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 5, 2010 at 2:05 a.m.


Texas Dance Hall Preservation Society's website:

texasdancehalls.org

IF YOU GO

The Schroeder Hall Auction and Public Dance will be at 6 p.m. July 9 at the hall, 12156 Farm-to-Market Road 622 in Schroeder, in rural Goliad County.

Rome has the Colosseum; Paris has the Louvre Museum.

Texas has its dance halls.

Unfortunately, the future of the Crossroads area's most famous dance hall is troublingly unclear at present.

Schroeder Hall, the historic gem in Goliad County, is in transition.

The current owners seek to auction the hall - polished bar, neon lights, hardwood floor, land and all - later this week, and we're closely watching the happenings in Schroeder.

Why should you care?

Texas dance halls can be viewed as the epicenter of true Texas culture. Before the Internet, before television, heck, even before motion pictures, Texas dance halls dominated the entertainment scene in every corner of the Lone Star State.

Many Texans, native or not, have spent time swilling from a longneck and two-stepping on the sawdust-covered hardwood floor of a Texas dance hall. For decades, the dance hall was the place to be in the community.

The Texas Dance Hall Preservation Society ("Saving Texas dance halls one two-step at a time") has got it right:

"Texas is known throughout the world for its music, culture, and character. We owe much of this legacy to one singular aspect of our heritage - the heritage of the Texas dance hall. No other place on the planet has this heritage, produced as it was by the mix of diverse immigrant cultures on the southwestern frontier."

Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, the John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes, the Broken Spoke in Austin and countless other dance hall venues continue this important Texas heritage each night.

So, if you've ever pulled on your boots and two-stepped the night away like Bud and Sissy in "Urban Cowboy," you should care what happens to Schroeder Hall.

If you've ever waltzed, danced the polka or whooped with the crowd to the rowdy, bawdy Chicken Dance, it's critical that you follow the news coming from Schroeder.

Even if you can't slide the two-step, or whirl the schottische, you should be rooting for a good outcome at the auction on Friday.

We believe it's vitally important that Schroeder Hall, recently voted the Crossroads' Best Place to Dance in the area, continues as a viable entertainment venue.

We applaud the efforts of the current owners, Sharon and Jack Kleinecke, and their concern for the hall's future. "Our No. 1 challenge is to make sure this place gets in the hands of someone that helps maintain the integrity of it and has the hall's best interest at heart," Kleinecke said.

That's our hope as well.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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