By Jefferson Bryant and Josie Bryant
From carriage rides to catered snacks, Stillwater Community Center’s Dancing with Daddy brings fathers and daughters together to build lasting memories and reinforce the special bond between a dad and his little girl.
Dancing with Daddy was first held in 2006 at the Senior Center at Couch Park. The event returns for its twelfth year on February 11, 2017. Tickets for the dance must be purchased in advance by February 9 as event coordinators anticipate a sell-out.
According to Stephanie Kinder, Stillwater Community Center Manager, “Dancing with Daddy started in 2006 and was held at the Senior Center for three years, presented by the Stillwater Parks and Recreation.” The dance outgrew the space available at the Senior Center and was moved to the Community Center in 2009 where two dances were held to accommodate the growing numbers of fathers and daughters participating in the event. Kinder said, “With the continued rise in attendance, we added a third dance last year and now host approximately 450 couples. We are looking at the possibility of offering 4 dances next year, two on Friday and two on Saturday.”
This year’s dances include the Pink Rose Dance at 2:30pm, the Purple Rose Dance at 5pm and the Red Rose Dance at 7:30pm. All ages are welcome. Contact the Stillwater community Center at 315 W. 8th Ave or call 405-533-8433 to purchase your tickets which sell for $25 per couple with $10 for each additional daughter. Tickets are also available online at http://stillwater.org/page/community/special-events. Tickets are dance specific, if you would like to purchase tickets to multiple dances, you will need to purchase tickets for each individual dance.
Dancing with Daddy has been a favorite tradition for Jefferson and his daughter, Josephine, who have attended since 2008, when Josie was four years old.
I’ve done Dancing with Daddy ever since since I was almost five years old. It’s a bonding experience. One night a year, the fathers take their daughters to the community center where they indulge in a night filled with dancing, food, and laughter. It’s the one day a year that a dad and his special little girl can have just to themselves. I can still, albeit vaguely, remember my first dance. We rode to the dance in my dad’s ‘71 Buick Gran Sport, where I heard the Cha Cha Slide for the first time. I’ll never forget how the song said there would be a volume three and how there still isn’t one.
I’ve made many memories at these dances growing up, from dancing on my father’s feet, to twirling around the floor. They have recently added a carriage ride that takes you around the block and it has become one of my favorite things at the event. Dancing with Daddy has always been something I look forward to each year, and it’s something that I will miss beyond words after I’m too old to go anymore. Probably the one thing I will miss the most is having that special day to spend alone with my dad and just have fun.
When I first heard about the Dancing with Daddy dance in 2008, I knew it was something that my little girl would love. What I didn’t know was that it would quickly become an annual tradition, one which means quite a bit to us. This year marks our tenth dance, and looking back through the photos I get to see my little girl blossom into a beautiful young lady. I have also been able to watch the event itself grow, starting out as a small dance attended mostly by young elementary-aged girls and their fathers, to a much larger 3-dance event that spans an entire afternoon and evening with more and more additions every year.
I look forward to attending the dance every year. While most of the dancing is silly fun, like the “Cha Cha Slide” (two hops this time!), or the conga line that Josie and I always start, there are a few slow dances that always bring tears to my eyes (Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl” and Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Cinderella). With each passing year, she gets closer to outgrowing our little tradition, but no matter how old we get, I will always remember our daddy-daughter dances, cherishing those moments, and I know she will too. Until that day comes, however, you can find Josie and me in the Lowry Activity Center at the Stillwater Community Center leading the conga line and making more memories.