Dances during the High School years (1964 – 1968)

16 Sep

Today’s rambling will be about dances during the high school years (1964 – 1968) and a tiny rant about COPD.  When I was a teenager (between 14 and 17) I loved to dance. I was not repeat not the shy one at the dances, I wasn’t the one holding up a wall in the corner. I was the one asking each and every girl to dance until someone said yes, and I would dance with her until she left me standing. LOL LOL.   In Louisville where I grew up, there were plenty of places to dance.  It was the mid to late 60’s, music was exploding, youth were rebelling, and sex was in the air (at least they said so). You had 4 or 5 high school dances in a year, you had dances at other high schools, you had “the Prom”, and in Louisville there were plenty of teen dance club/halls. I remember 2 of these dance club/halls, one was in Buechal, and the other one I remember going to was in J-town.  Both of these halls/clubs were open on Friday and Saturday nights only (at least as I remember). In addition, on Saturday and Sunday nights there was always a teen dance at Presentation or Sacred Heart Academy for your dancing pleasure. The dance halls/clubs always featured live music.  Even high school dances featured live music, for that matter I never went to a dance that didn’t feature live music.  It was the 60s there were a million bands and 2 million wanna be bands.  Generally the bands (at the clubs/halls) played both Friday and Saturday night, so if you didn’t like the Friday night band you could go to Town on Saturday to catch a different band.  The bands played a great variety of good music all the top 40, stuff we were hearing all the time on AM radio.  If I wanted to listen to rock the only station I remember playing rock was WAKY Radio 790 on the AM dial.

In reflection it was almost like “Saturday Night Fever” all the primping before going to the dance, always trying to figure a new move, or practicing the moves that hadn’t gone as planned the weekend before. Borrowing some of Dad’s Old Spice, and making sure I looked good before leaving the house.  And probably the single most important thing was to wear leather sole shoes.  If your soles weren’t leather you couldn’t put any good moves on the dance floor.  Crepe soled shoes could get you killed, there were no slide to them at all.

I watched shows like Shindig and American Band Stand for some basic dance moves.  I would steal a little from this guy on the show, and a little from that guy, maybe picked up some arm movements from another featured dancer on the show.  Of course I also combined moves from some of the current dance crazes such as the Fly, the Mashed Potato, the Funky Chicken, the Penguin, the Swim and the Monkey. From there I invented my own moves (more and more like Saturday Night Fever), but I stole my signature move from James Brown, I had the James Brown slide down pat, even had the trailing arm motion.  I looked GOOD!  Smiling at least in my mind I did.

The Club in Buechal wasn’t that far away from my house, and I generally walked.  If I was going to J-town I hitchhiked.  I was always one of the 1st to show up, and one of the last to leave.  Admission to these dances wasn’t much more than a dollar, but during this time period a dollar seemed like a bunch.  Cokes and other refreshments were usually no more than 25 cents.  The doors to the club generally opened 30 minutes before the band started, and I can remember being one of maybe 3 or 4 there when the music started.  Smiling, and all of us were guys we didn’t dance with each other, we were way to cool to do that.  The girls always seemed to be fashionable late, and they always came in groups.  Usually 3 or 4 at a time, why I never learned to come to the dances a half hour after they started I will never know.  Heck I am still one of the 1st to arrive at whatever event I am invited, though now I am also one of the 1st to leave LOL LOL.

I don’t remember but I suspect there was some type of curfew which required the clubs to be closed by midnight.  But by then I was ready to quit.  Considering that most songs of the time were 2 to 3 minutes long, and the bands went from song to song for 45 minute sets, a guy could end up dancing to 15 songs an hour.  I would say that I averaged about 6 or 7 songs an hour.  If I hooked up with a girl that wanted to dance, I could be out on the dance floor 10 or more songs in an hour, but that rarely happened. I did a lot of asking, but not a lot of dancing that 1st hour.  The girls always drove the show.  Once you got them dancing it was fun, but they never seemed as willing initially to dance, they always seemed to need to be asked 2 or 3 times before their courage and desire to dance won out.  And no girl ever wanted to be the 1st to say yes when asked to dance.  Of those 15 songs if you were lucky 2 or 3 might be slow songs. Sometimes the girl would actually dance a slow song with you, wow that was fun.  I think I got to dance a lot for 2 reasons, I asked a lot of girls to dance, and I was a pretty fair dancer.  But mostly I got to dance so much because I asked any girl and every girl at the dance to dance, and sometimes they just got tired of saying NO.

For as cool as I looked when I walked in the dance club door, but the end of the evening I looked like something the cat dragged in.  I was sweaty, my hair disheveled, my shirt tail out, my shoes scuffed, and I was beat.  But I was also looking forward to the next evening, the next dance.

I was going to spend some time bitching about how COPD took dancing away from me, but I can’t, I had long ago stopped dancing, long before I got COPD, long before I even grew older.  I actively danced (from time to time) into my late 30’s.  It was always fun, but my skills eroded, so I wasn’t as cool.   But COPD didn’t have a damn thing to do with me stopping so I can’t blame it.

Have a great day, and as always your comments are welcome.


Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Humor, Ramblings


Tags: , , , ,

12 responses to “Dances during the High School years (1964 – 1968)

  1. Pat Fraser

    September 16, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Loved your blog. My heydays were the 50’s. I remember all those dances , we only had live bands at school dances and once a week at a local city center. Such fun. We also had what we called sock hops where we danced in our stocking feet to records featuring all the ” doo wop ” artists and of course Elvis.
    I married my dancing partner and until COPD required oxygen we still danced at weddings ect. I still occasionally, hearing a song that moves me shake a little bootie Lol.
    Music and songs are the background of our auto biographies and instantly bring memories , some good, some sad and some like yours big smiles. Thanks for pushing my memory button.


    • FlaHam

      September 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

      Pat, it is always a pleasure to push your button, I am glad you seem to get so much from my blog. It really makes it worth while. As always thank you for your wonderful comments. Please take care, Bill. BTW I can still slow dance, I just slide the portable over my shoulder and pull the wife in close.

  2. Pat Fraser

    September 16, 2012 at 10:42 am

    You tiger you! Lol

  3. kaysfairytale

    September 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Oh my goodness, Bill I loved this post! Your high school dances sound like they were such a good time! I wish we had dances like those, and I wish the boys all loved dancing as much as your generation did. I totally admire you for being the guy who always asks the girls to dance. I hate it when boys don’t dance with anyone because they’re too scared to ask.
    …Maybe I should just time travel back to the 60s. It sounds like you guys had so much more fun!

    • FlaHam

      September 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      Kay, I enjoyed that part of my life, it was a lot of fun, and dancing was how I met girls back then, LOL LOL. One needed to be a little cool at something, and because I had so little competition, a lot of girls danced with me LOL LOL. When I was a teenager it was left up to the boy, to ask for the date, to ask to dance, to do most relationship things. I haven’t dated in a million years, so I wouldn’t know the protocal, but it’s my understanding that now it is perfectly acceptable for a girl to ask a boy out for a date. LOL It would have been a lot easier for me in the 60s if that were the case. Each generation has it’s own special something. I am sure in the years to come, you will know what yours is. Thank you for your wonderful comments, and I am glad you enjoy my posts. — Bill

      • kaysfairytale

        September 17, 2012 at 11:12 pm

        Haha hmm I guess I better go start asking out some boys then.

        • FlaHam

          September 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm

          Smiling, well I would respond in a positive manner, and I am sure many much younger men would respond as well. But in reality don’t a lot of girls ask guys out these days ???

          • kaysfairytale

            September 17, 2012 at 11:16 pm

            I don’t know. Not a lot. For the most part the girls just drop hints to the guy they like until he asks her.

            • FlaHam

              September 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm

              Well, I stand corrected, I was sure I heard someplace that girls were getting to be almost as aggressive as guys when it came to asking for dates. I will say that hinting has always worked LOL it worked on me 45 yrs ago LOL LOL — Take care

  4. DeeDee Granata

    September 17, 2012 at 7:54 am

    What a fun entry! I love dancing also. Used to teach aerobic dance classes. That was just way fun. 🙂

  5. Wanda

    September 18, 2012 at 4:04 am

    I didn’t know you liked to dance, but I have no trouble believing that you asked all the girls, all the time! Can you spell f-l-i-r-t? You’re still a master at that!

    • FlaHam

      September 18, 2012 at 6:45 am

      Wanda in all the conversations we have shared, it’s a topic that never presented itself. LMBO but your right, it did give me the opportunity to hone my flirting skills. Which I still use today. LOL LOL – Take care, Bill


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