Wednesday, February 3, 2010

French tourists line dancing in Austin

 French line-dancers in Craponne, 2007. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

Last October, a group of French tourists surprised local patrons at the legendary eatery Artz Rib House in Austin, Texas, by getting up and line-dancing. Two people immortalized the experience on YouTube.

Line dancing is very popular in France and is one of the backbones of the Imaginary Wild West there. At the Country Rendez-vous festival in Craponne a couple of years ago, there were groups from more than 120 line-dancing clubs. And there is a big business in line-dancing costumes, boots and other parephenalia.... Musicians often complain that the people don't care about the performance -- as long as they can dance.

Oddly enough, it was at Craponne that I met Art -- the owner of Artz Ribs. He was part of a group led by Jon Emery that played the festival. I had already dined at Artz Ribs -- when I went to Austin a few years ago, it was the first place I was taken by my friend Ray Benson, of the group Asleep at the Wheel (which also played at Craponne, but the year after Jon Emery...)

Jon Emery Band at Craponne Country Rendez-vous, 2007. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

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