IAGLCWDC Archive Copy
This article was published previously in NewYorkQnews.com.
March 2003 edition.
Republished here by permission.

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Country in the Big Gay Apple
IT WAS A VERY SPECIAL weekend indeed, it was cold but - it was hot. To the surprise of many, there was a gathering of Gay people in the downtown financial district of Manhattan, in one of the coldest weekends we New Yorker's have had in years, yes, it was a long holiday weekend - President's Day Weekend (February 14-16), and one of one the biggest snow storms of the season, yet it was very hot.

The ballroom of the Marriott Financial Center was filled with hot women and men dancing to the sounds of country western music, a gathering of hundreds of urban cowboys and cowgirls over the three day weekend. Mostly, people were from the metropolitan tri-state area, although we learned of many visitors from across the US and Canada and some from Europe attended this event as well.

The event was the IAGLCWDC Convention's New York City Hoedown, sponsored by the Big Apple Ranch, and all proceeds benefited the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project.

People were dancing happily to the sounds of the latest country music as well as old romantic favorites - boys and boys, girls and girls, and boys and girls; the group was and always has been an amazingly friendly crowd.
At these gatherings, it isn't a surprise to be asked for a dance by someone you have never met before. In general, the invitation would follow by an acceptance; the couple would head for the dance floor, dance, and have the best of fun. One exception to this very common rule was if you didn't know how to dance... some would attempt to teach you the basics, the rest of the fun is up to you.

The crowd seemed very happy and responsive to the events of the evening. Everyone enjoyed the venue of the two step, waltz, cha-cha west & east coast swings, night-club two-step, .. and always expected barn dance, at which almost got everybody in the room onto the dance floor, the el paso, and of course all those different line dances that these cowboys and cowgirls all know very well how to perform. A surprise was when they announced Latin salsa, and everyone danced with a country flavor. Dance exhibitions and competitions were part of the schedule of events as well.

We had the opportunity to see Jorge and Russell dance to beautifully choreographed and stylized ballroom dance. We learned they had just come back from England were they compited in International Dance competitions representing the U.S.

For the newcomers, there was time scheduled to learn the basics, an hour before the dance started, anyone had the opportunity to do so, and enjoy the evening. For the experts it was simply great fun with friends and family from around town, and around the world.

We saw our good friend, Empress Sybil Bruncheon - the Emcee of the evening, she was witty, glamorous as always, and captured the crowd as she does best.

This dance was organized and sponsored by "The Big Apple Ranch"
(http://www.bigappleranch.com) a county western club here in New York City. This club meets every Saturday from 8 p.m.-1 a.m., lessons for beginers, 8 p.m to 8:30 p.m., line dance lessons from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., dancing from 9 pm until 1 am. If you are new to this, you can always come and hour earlier and take the opportunity to learn the basic two step and line dances, from there on is up to you.

On a final note, the Hoedown was very interesting, for everyone was comfortable to be with all those they've never met, and were made to feel right at home... it was a great event, and great fun.

photos by CJ Mingolelli and Marco Herrera

IAGLCWDC Archive Copy
This article was published previously in NewYorkQnews.com.
March 2003 edition.
Republished here by permission.