"Dance Hall Days" is not simply a brief or exhaustive history class in Texas dance halls, but rather a look into the organizations and the people who strive to keep these institutions alive, most which have been open for over a century. Visitors are drawn by the music and the dancing, but viewers will connect with these caretakers and will walk away with a greater appreciation for Texas music and small-town history, and maybe learn a little something about themselves.
Dance halls were once as common as cattle in Texas. Now, the ones that remain exist in a time where their past is legend and their future is uncertain. A cast of iconic characters strive to keep these country institutions alive while one man does his best to make sure that not one more is lost to history.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Erik McCowan began the Texas Dance Hall Documentary Project in February 2014 after dance hall historian Steve Dean asked in an online post how he could get a film on dance halls made before they all fell down. Seeing as he had the right equipment and some time to kill, McCowan took Dean up on his offer and they went on a mini dance hall tour soon after. One of the first halls visited, New Bern Helvetia Hall, made the director realize that there was something to this story. Over three years later and with more than 50 halls documented, the dream that Dean had was realized and "Dance Hall Days" lives.
Erik lives near Rosanky, Texas in the abandoned community of Snake Prairie with his wife, Laurie. He frequented dance halls well before this documentary came about, and felt right at home learning about the people that keep these places going. In addition to filmmaking, he dabbles in music festival production, dance hall bus tours, writes for small town newspapers, and catches catfish on the river.