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Boots Bar & Lounge keeps honky-tonk alive

Bust out your boogie at Boots Bar & Lounge for Thursday night line dancing classes

Slide on your boots, cuff your pants and clip on your belt buckle: Boots Bar & Lounge is bringing a little country to Bellingham. 

Boots Bar & Lounge, a country-themed bar in Bellingham, has been hosting line dancing since its opening in the winter of 2022. Boots, located at 1263 Barkley Blvd, hosts a beginner’s line dancing class on Thursdays and more advanced classes on Fridays and Saturdays. 

The beginner’s line dancing course costs $10 and is held every Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. After 8 p.m., the dance floor is opened up for free dance, where people are encouraged to experiment with their newly-learned line dances or just bust down a freestyle boogie. 

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The “Welcome to Boots” sign, located at the entrance of the Boots Bar & Lounge in Bellingham, Wash on Feb. 15. 2024. Boots offers all-ages line dancing classes as well as alcohol for its over-21-year-old patrons. // Photo by William Morton

Minutes before the beginner’s line dancing class began on Feb. 15, Becka Pierce, one of the two line dancing instructors at Boots, walked around the dance floor, catching up with the regulars. Outfits ranged from gym goers, wearing yoga pants and running shoes, to urban cowboys, donning bejeweled jeans, belt buckles and boots. 

Throughout the one-hour dance lesson, Pierce walked patrons through two line dances. Participants of all skill levels were grapevining and heel tapping, clapping and spinning to 2012 country rock and pop.  

“People are doing this because it’s fun,” Pierce said. “It’s pretty low risk, high reward. Come out, have fun, learn something and enjoy time with your friends.”

Pierce, a seven-year line dancer turned line dancing instructor, said she has seen the community grow throughout her time there. 

“I’m seeing parents come out with their kids [and] teachers come out with their co-workers,” Pierce said. “I had a group of accountants come out as their celebration party for the beginning of tax season.”

Miles Hoffman, a member of the Washington Conservation Corps and two-time line dancer, came to Thursday line dancing for a team bonding night with his coworker. 

“This is only my second class, but I already feel better than the first,” Hoffman said. 

Line dancing has both physical and social benefits, said Kim Hargrove, a Skagit Valley line dancing teacher who has been teaching line dancing since the early ‘80s.

Line dancing helps cognitive ability, with the dancer constantly learning and memorizing new movements, Hargrove said, adding that it’s also good physical exercise for strength and balance. 

The memorization aspect of line dancing was something that he found different from other forms of freestyle dancing, Hoffman said.

Dave Serfling, owner of Rockin’ Horse Dance Barn in Renton, has been line dancing for close to 40 years. 

“Line dancing has been around since the beginning of man,” Serfling said. He explained that it consists of a set pattern, nearly always having everyone facing the same direction and doing the same footwork, aside from embellishments such as spins or claps. 

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A view of what line dancing instructor Becka Pierce called the “tequila wall” at Boots Bar & Lounge in Bellingham, Wash. on Feb. 15, 2024. This is one of the four walls that surround the line dancing space at Boots Bar & Lounge. // Photo by William Morton

Line dancing is also continually growing and changing, with over 140,000 different line dances or variations in existence, said Serfling.

“Because line dancers are so enamored with their hobby and addicted to learning new material, they are traditionally very encouraging to newcomers,” Hargrove said. “It is comparable to a cook discovering a new recipe or a hiker with a new trail.”

Boots Bar & Lounge also offers open mic comedy nights on Mondays, karaoke on Tuesdays, Singo – a form of bingo where songs are played and matched to titles on your card – every other Wednesday, and a $10 mechanical bull ride on the last Saturday of the month. 

Boots is open Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight and 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 

William Morton

William Morton (he/him) is a third year news and editorial major reporting about city life for The Front this quarter. Outside of school, he enjoys playing the banjo and attempting to read Finnegans Wake. You can contact him at williammorton.thefront@gmail.

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