A Bit of Our History
The Bluegrass Chapter of USA Dance (formerly Bluegrass USABDA) hosted its first monthly dance in October 1994 at Southern Hills Methodist Church. It was a success, although at the end of the first year total receipts exceeded expenses by only $1.00! In 1994, the Chapter had about 30 members. The Chapter currently has 103 members.
For the next few years dances were held at Adath Temple located on North Ashland Avenue. We began dancing at Morton Middle School in July 1996, at Oleika Shrine Temple in 1999, and currently at Central Baptist Church since 2011. The format of our dances has remained the same ...one hour of dance instruction followed by general dancing. Average attendance during the first few years was about 65. Average attendance currently is about 80.
Throughout the years, our Bluegrass Chapter has given back to the community. Performance teams have performed in nursing homes and health care centers. The chapter has donated funds for great causes such as “Dance for the Heart” an event to raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association, we've also had dances to benefit Habitat for Humanity.
The first “Newcomer Dance” to encourage more community participation in ballroom dance occurred in August 1999, and in the following year, we began offering a 5-week series of introductory dance lessons twice a year. We offered a class in ballroom dance and a class in Latin dance. Currently the smooth and latin dances are part of the same 6-8 week session, with lessons being two hours long each week. These introductory lessons are very popular, and there is usually a waiting list for the lessons.
The founder and first president of our Bluegrass Chapter was Linda Reece (1995-1996). The next presidents were Susan Blanchett (1997-1998), Kathy Marra (1999-2000), Janet Thompson (2001-2002), Ed Fenton (2003-2004), Henry Stephens (2005-2006), Joe Buckman (2007-2008), Ray Clark (2009-2010), Linda Baber (2011-2012), Joe Buckman (2013-2014), Bridgette Allen (2015-2016), and Brenda Hill (2016-2018). Our current president is Jim Johns.
The success of our local chapter reflects the continued growth and interest in dancing nationwide. The number of chapters has grown from 12 in 1986 to a current number of 162. There are currently 22,500 registered USA Dance members.