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Robert Abrams
Dance Mountain
Country Western
C&W Twostep
C&W Chacha
C&W Waltz
West Coast Swing
East Coast Swing
United States
Dance Mountain (1 mile above sea level or higher)
Greater Denver
Denver, CO

Grizzly Rose Saloon and Dance Emporium

by Robert Abrams
December 26, 2002
Denver, CO

Grizzly Rose Saloon and Dance Emporium

Review and photos by Robert Abrams
December 26, 2002

5450 North Valley Hwy
Denver, CO



I was recently in Denver, where I had the opportunity to check out The Grizzly Rose, a Country Western club with a long tradition. I went there because a local website suggested it was a place for West Coast Swing. When I first got there, I thought I saw people dancing West Coast Swing, but I may have been mistaken. Both the recorded music and the live band played mostly Country Western Two-step and Country Western Triple Step (or maybe it was CW Cha-cha, either way it is mystery to me). Plus the occasional Country Western Waltz. Fairly regularly, groups of people would form a formation in the middle of the floor and start a line dance.

People were dancing Swing some of the time, but it was mostly an informal variety of East Coast Swing. I realize this sounds counter-intuitive, but from what I know about the Country Western scene, this is normal. In fact, I did dance Swing with one woman. It was only sort of working, and afterwards I realized it was because I was trying to dance West Coast and she was trying to dance East Coast.

I did dance Country Western Two-step twice. I know enough CW Two-step to pretend to know what I am doing, and the rest of the time I get by by pretending I am dancing Foxtrot with the quicks and the slows reversed. This was good enough that one of my dance partners, a woman who was as gracious as she was beautiful who was wearing boots and a cowboy hat and who clearly knew what she was doing, described my Two-step as "not bad". I felt pretty pumped by that.

The Grizzly Rose is a lot like the old Saddlerack in San Jose (closed a few years ago, if the rumors are true), except they serve food. I had the Baja burger, which is kind of like a burger disguised as an enchilada with kick. If you are into Country Western dance and are in Denver, make sure to mosey on over to the Grizzly Rose. Even if you don't dance the $3 to $5 cover is a great deal for the live music. The Walker Williams Band was playing when I was there. Mr. Williams and his band were kicking. (And in a small world connection, they played a danceable version of "Don't Laugh at Me", which Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary has made into his signature in the past few years.) The floor was often full of dancers. They currently offer free dance lessons once per week. Personally, the Grizzly Rose inspires me to want to take a few lessons to decipher the mystery of turning the Cha-cha into a progressive dance.

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