Photography: Dave Norris

Two-step your way through Texas landmarks on the Texas Dance Hall Tour March 20 – 26.

The great state of Texas is filled with historic dance halls. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, more than 1,000 dance halls throughout the state flourished as bastions of Texas culture and pride — and some serious music and dancing. Today, only about 400 Lone Star dance halls remain, but despite the decline, there are still more historic dance halls in Texas than in any other state in the country.

To celebrate this unique aspect of Texas history, five historic dance halls — including Luckenbach Dance Hall in Luckenbach and Sengelmann Hall in Schulenburg — will be opening their doors to give visitors a firsthand experience with the romantic ambiance of old-fashioned charm of the Texas dance hall.

Photography by Dave Norris

The Texas Dance Hall Tour will hold its inaugural week-long musical event March 20 – 26, entertaining, educating, and inspiring support for Texas’ historic dance halls.

“There wouldn’t be Texas music without our Texas dance halls. ... They’re like the Carnegie Hall of Western Swing and Texas Music!” says Ray Benson, who, with Asleep at the Wheel, is presenting the tour.

“When I moved to Texas in the early 1970s, the dance hall circuit was cookin’,” Benson said in a press release. “It was a proving ground where musicians learned how to entertain and keep people dancing for four hours. ... These are the places where greats like Bob Wills, Willie Nelson, and George Strait cut their chops and perfected their crafts.”

The tour invites visitors behind the doors of the distinguished history of Texas dance halls throughout the Hill Country and East Texas, showcasing and providing the most authentic form of the dance-hall experience. The musical lineup on the tour swings as much as the dance floors, with performances by Benson, Asleep at the Wheel, Lee Ann Womack, Dale Watson, Heybale, High Plains Jamboree, Hot Club of Cowtown, and the Quebe Sisters.

Photography: Dave Norris

During the weekend, visitors will put their Texas Two-Step to the test with dance lessons, eat Texas-style dinners, and stay busy with various regional daytime activities that include trips to a Texas whiskey distillery, a winery, and a buggy barn that features more than 140 buggies dating back to the 1860s.

“Texas dance halls are filled with history and romance and represent a way of life,” president of Texas Dance Hall Preservation Deb Fleming said in a press release. The nonprofit, which is dedicated to promoting the public awareness, preservation, and continuing use of historic dance halls in Texas, was chosen as the beneficiary of the Texas Dance Hall Tour. “These halls were once a central fixture of Texas’ small towns and have been the breeding grounds of Texas music for more than a century,” Fleming said. “If you’ve never danced in one, you’re missing out on a piece of the rich cultural and musical history of this great state.”

To learn more about this unique experience and for ticket information and reservations, visit www.texasdancehalltour.com.

Photography: Dave Norris

Hyatt Place San Antonio-North/Stone Oak and the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa will provide accommodations for those purchasing packages. Reservations for the Texas Dance Hall Tour are limited and are now available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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