Suburban cowboys, cowgirls shake it up NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

March 05, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Jim Hensley sashays across the stage in his boa snakeskin cowboy boots, shaking his hips.

"This is a hip movement," Mr. Hensley explains to the crowd in the Carroll Baldwin Community Hall in Savage. "You ladies shouldn't have any trouble with it."

With a few more tries, the crowd is shaking it to the Kentucky Headhunters' "Walk Softly."

It's just another Monday night and the Carroll Baldwin hall is filled with dancing fools.

They come to learn the Achy Breaky, the Hitchhiker, the Down and Dirty and other country line dances.

Mr. Hensley began teaching the dance classes in October at the request of some women in Savage who wanted to learn country line dancing.

"I saw it on TV a lot and thought, 'Gee, I'd love to know how to do it,' " said Savage resident Alice Baldwin, 59.

Mrs. Baldwin told her friend, Bobbie Fairall, about her idea, and Mrs. Fairall got in touch with her friend, Mr. Hensley.

An Elkridge resident who spent most of his life in Texas, Mr. Hensley, 56, is an expert at line dances.

"I've been doing this since I was knee-high to a grasshopper," said Mr. Hensley, who also teaches the dances and acts as a disc jockey at private parties.

There are about 2,000 country line dances, Mr. Hensley said, most of them written to go along with the latest hit country tune that has a danceable beat.

Most of the students in Mr. Hensley's Monday night classes are women and big country music fans, Mrs. Fairall said. They love the line dances but didn't want to go to the bars to learn them, she said.

But knowing how to do line dances can be an advantage for a woman in a bar or club because the dances don't require a partner, Mr. Hensley said.

"A lot of the ladies are not interested in the wolves that are out there," he said. "It's easier for a lady to get out there in a group without being self-conscious."

The 24 women and three men who showed up at Monday night's class, decked out in cowboy boots, bandannas and bolo ties, couldn't be called self-conscious.

Mary Anderson of Savage, who was attending her second class, said she came because she and her husband went to a club and couldn't do the dances.

"It's so much fun, and it's exercise without knowing it," said Ms. Anderson, who plans to teach her husband the steps.

First-timers Denise and Bruce Terkeltaub of Columbia said they love country music, but weren't ready to learn the dances in a bar.

"We're going to go to a bar for our graduation," said Ms. Terkeltaub.

The line dancing classes are held each Monday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Carroll Baldwin Community Hall in Savage. The cost per class is $3.

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