More than ten years ago, Joyce and Chuck Allen came up with a novel idea of hosting a Bebop Dance once a month with ’50s and ’60s music played. October 5, 2019, marked their 100th dance.
This idea was born with the simple thought that bands are great, but the audience really comes alive when ’50s and ’60s music is played. From this very straightforward notion, a marvelous tradition was birthed.
According to the the Hot Springs Village Voice newspaper, “The next morning, almost simultaneously, we told each other, ‘The Village needs a ’50s-‘60s dance band,’” Allen said. Their idea led to the creation of the Beboppers, a dance group that has met regularly over the past decade.
“The Allens sketched out an idea in early 2009, and took it to the Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association’s Linda Mayhood. ‘She was delighted with the idea,’ Allen recalled. They set up plans for a March 28, 2009 dance.”
“The Allens initially hoped 40-50 would attend, and they planned the dance to take place at Cortez pavilion. Creating a playlist, music was recorded to cassette tapes.”
“Mentioning their plans to friends, they soon realized a larger venue was needed.”
“They booked the Coronado Community Center ballroom, and 259 attended the first dance.”
Fast forward to February of 2020 and the Beboppers are now at risk of closing their dance hall doors.
I received the following email dated, February 7, 2020:
“Hi there, Beboppers…”
“While a wildly popular event for many years, attendance has started declining and the Allens are faced with the reality that they cannot continue to host this event unless attendance improves. Whether the Beboppers’ monthly dance fades away into oblivion is completely dependent on whether they can attract more attendees to the event. What follows is a plea from the Allens.”
A plea from the Allens:
“We’ve been advised (ordered?) by several ‘regulars’ to be frank/blunt/honest about the situation.”
“The Valentines Day Dance a week from tomorrow (Saturday, February 15) is critical for the Bebopper Dances. The last three dances have lost money (for the first time in more than ten years) and Joyce and I cannot host them if that continues.”
“We need at least 100 folks to participate and only 72 has been the average the last three [dances]. If you wish to see these ‘50s – ‘70s great hits dances exist in HSV, try to attend…and we thank you for your past participation. Oh, yeah…’talk up’ this “most fun for fewest bucks event” among your friends, please!”
Where: Coronado Community Center
When: Saturday, February 15, 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Details: Cash bar…bring food & non-alcoholic drinks if you like.
Can we help the Allens save the Bebop Dance? We can’t let this great institution just fade away into the annals of Hot Springs Village history.
What do you say? It is up to you.
(Photo courtesy of Chuck Allen)
By Cheryl Dowden, February 8, 2020