Cowboy boots and line dancing were the name of the game at the Excellence in Journalism’s Opening Reception at the WildHorse Saloon. As hundreds of journalists boarded charter buses to the downtown Nashville location, clad or not-clad in cowboy boots, line dancing was an inevitable spectacle, whether it was by participation or observation.
“Line dancing is one of the activities where you either don’t care and you want have a lot of good times,” said Tony Hernandez, an EIJ attendee and reporter for the Knoxville News Sentinel, “Or you’re one of those professional line dancers and you want to have a good time.
“Either way, you have a good time.”
After a live band finished playing, an emcee took the stage to teach a crash course in line dancing. By the end of the demonstration, a considerable number of people line danced to songs like “Red Solo Cup” and “Blurred Lines.”
“People generally think its country dancing so they’ll think they’ll go line dancing,” said Gabriella Ronan, a professional dancer in Nashville who is frequently commissioned by the WildHorse Saloon. “But they don’t realize that you can go line dancing for anything.” Any song goes.
Originally from New Jersey, Ronan relocated to Music City to become a part of the Nashville ballet. When her contract with the company ended, she searched for work and found a serving job. She got a taste of the city’s line dancing tradition and was hooked. Ronan has been teaching line dancing at the Saloon for the past four years. She said locals and tourists enjoy it because of its group aspect.
“(People) say, ‘oh I want to try line dancing,’ and it’s so easy and so fun to pick up and it’s such a community thing,” Ronan said. “That’s what a lot of country people thought, that it’s a community and that everyone can go line dancing together.”
Judging by the reaction of EIJ participants at the reception, line dancing will be an EIJ experience many won’t forget.
September 5, 2014 • 2013: Anaheim