Don't know how to fais-do-do ? Then you're just the candidate Herb Hickle is looking for.
Hickle is co-founder of the new Bon Temps Social Club of Orange County, which has begun to sponsor local Cajun and zydeco dances, also known as fais-do-do s, a Cajun-French term for dance parties.
The club's live music events will be held this year on the fifth Fridays of July, September and December at Anaheim's Ebell Club and on the third Friday of each month in Culver City.
The club will also stage a fund-raiser dance Friday in Long Beach featuring Louisiana accordionist-fiddler Steve Riley and his band, the Mamou Playboys. Riley's group also is one of a half-dozen acts playing the annual Southern California Cajun & Zydeco Festival this weekend in Long Beach.
"We just really felt there was a need for more Cajun dances in Orange County," said Hickle, who has regularly attended similar dances at the Women's Club of Orange and others in Los Angeles, Pasadena and San Diego.
The dances should give touring bands--which the club plans to book--more incentive to visit the greater L.A. area, Hickle said.
He particularly wants to bring in more zydeco, the Creole-influenced form of Cajun music that offers listeners and dancers a peppier rhythm. "It's faster and more vigorous, and you dance closer to your partner," said the San Clemente resident, who visits New Orleans three times a year.
Hickle, a county transportation employee, formed the club earlier this year, around Mardi Gras time, with friends Debbie and Phil Curnutt. Their Anaheim Ebell dance will include Cajun and zydeco two-step and waltz lessons.
A longtime Cajun-zydeco music fan whose great-grandmother was French Canadian, Hickle took his first Cajun dance lesson two years ago and "was hooked," he said. "I don't think think I've missed a Cajun dance since."
"I went to the jazz festival in New Orleans," he continued. "It took me 38 hours to drive there, but once I got there and heard the music and started dancing, it felt like I had slept all the way, it was such a charge."
Eventually, the Bon Temps club hopes to sponsor Saturday and Sunday night dances, although finding an appropriate hall has been difficult, Hickle said. The group wants to rent a room with a wooden floor large enough to accommodate about 150 people, and to pay no more than $250 per night.
The demand for the dances--the club has an 800-name mailing list--is part of a trend that has swing joints and country nightclubs hopping like the French Quarter before Lent.
"The way I see it," he said, "there's a real surge and interest in couple dancing. But so many country-Western places are jammed, we hope people will explore something new."
\o7 * Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys and the Brand New Old-Time Cajun Band play Friday at the Elks Lodge, Grand Ballroom, 4101 E. Willow St., Long Beach. 7:30 p.m. $8 to $10; children under 17 with adults are free\f7 . \o7 Cajun Hot Line: (714) 490-3838. Sponsored by the Bon Temps Social Club of Orange County. \f7