PHOTOS BY Evan Roesler
It happens once a month, smack dab in the middle of one of the Left Coast’s most ‘progressive’ cities: Portland, Oregon. Dozens of young Catholics from five -area parishes have way too much fun doing what their local peers can only dream of — dancing the night away with a bunch of normal, fun kids in the parish hall at Holy Rosary, a Dominican parish.
The dancers hail from the parishes of Our Lady of Fatima; Holy Rosary; St. Stephen’s; St. Brigitta’s and St. Thomas Becket in Eugene. The youngest dancers are high school freshmen. The oldest are in graduate school, or working. Most have been homeschooled. There is an official ballroom dance instruction at every dance.
Moreover, the Catholic Dance Party is growing. What started out as just 20 dancers in 2017 is now averaging about 75 kids – and when the college kids return in the summer, it gets even bigger. REGINA sat down with two sets of brother and sisters who attend and here’s what they had to say!
“Although I have always enjoyed dancing, I had never thought that we would ever be able to do something like this. However, since it has started, I have always looked forward to it because it’s a great place to teach and to learn.”
“Before the dances started, not many of the youth would actually dance and it was just something we never really did. Occasionally at parties there would be dancing, but not many people would dance because no one really knew how. Now everyone is dancing! It is amazing to see. At any party we always have the dance music and everyone gets up and dances!”
”I’ve had a lot of good experiences, and it’s hard to narrow it down to one. But I have to say that the most astonishing experience I’ve had was when one talented dancer flipped a girl over his head—that was amazing to watch. Taking part in intellectual conversations in between dances is also fun as well. That’s only one of the great bonuses of being in a Catholic group. Overall, it’s a great environment. “
“ I would have to say one of my best memories so far is tripping, falling, and skidding across the floor while trying to waltz to one of the fastest songs I have heard laid ears on. It sounds surprising, but I think oftentimes the greatest memories are formed from the most ridiculous mishaps, which always result in good-natured banter afterwards.” Stephen Pearson
“I had done some ballroom dancing here and there before the Holy Rosary ballroom dances started, but I never thought it would be something in which I would actually develop any appreciable skill. The Holy Rosary dances provided me with a great opportunity to regularly practice and increase the number of moves I have since learned in a clean, Catholic environment. Also, the people there more than willing to help you out!”
“My favorite thing about the dances is how close it has brought us all together. Through these dances, I have had the opportunity to get to meet a lot of knew people from different parishes that I never would have met, and it is just a great way for everyone to get together and have a lot of fun!”
“As far as my best memory, it would be impossible to pick. The group is so energetic that something new happens every month. The moment you learn and perfect a new spin or twist to the people you meet every time will constantly fight to top your previous ‘best moment.’”