I moseyed on down to Denton’s Patterson-Appleton Arts Center at about 8 o’clock Friday night, passing up a taco truck on the way. When I arrived, Brave Combo was absolutely, positively killin’ it in the main hall. Dozens of fearless dancers were layin’ it down near the stage, no holes barred. No matter your skill or inhibition, Brave Combo makes dancers of us all. Though they’re bonafide Grammy-winners, Brave Combo absolutely refuse to take themselves seriously. That’s the incredible thing about Denton. You get to this artsy college town, rife with hipsters and expensive coffee shops, and you expect to find yourself in Pretension City. Then, suddenly, you’re participating in a massive polka-driven chicken dance with about 30 other adults, holding hands and jumping about in concentric circles, having totally hysterical, belligerent, unadulterated fun.
TWU’s dancers took the floor to perform a bizarre and oddly fluid routine on “trusting the process,” which was apparently guided entirely by cards scattered across the ground. Each card represented a thought of some sort. The four performers constantly announced things like “I don’t remember this dance phrase,” or “I don’t know what my spirit animal is.” This stuck with me. Art is weird, and sometimes making it requires a lot of concentration. Sometimes, however, it’s better if you just let go and have a little faith. Someone will love it either way.
I caught Greater Denton Arts Council director, Tracy Bayes-Booth, sometime before Jessie Frye took the stage. “We’re so happy with the turnout,” she told me, noting that the GDAC celebrates Arts All Night as a part of First Friday Denton, in which artists and artisans in the community share and celebrate Denton arts and culture.
Ultimately, after singing my heart out for a few tunes and dancing myself silly, I decided it was time to hit the hay, regretfully missing the long-awaited Rocky Horror Picture Show/Shock Treatment marathon (both of which take place in Denton, by the way… but not Denton, Texas).
Arts All Night encompassed everything I love about Denton, especially the people. There are no strangers in Denton, just weirdos — and those weirdos are having a great time, thank you very much.