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Aiming for those swing purists, a veteran promoter inaugurates Sunday night sessions at the Club House in Placentia.

September 04, 1997|ZAN DUBIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PLACENTIA — Watch the dancing dominoes:

Late last month, Anaheim's Cowboy Boogie stomped out a 17-year tradition by replacing its only pure country night with a disco-house-funk format.

Hoping to pick up the Boogie's displaced two-steppers, In Cahoots in Fullerton added country dancing to its Sunday West Coast swing regime.

Aiming to lasso In Cahoots' swing purists, Tom Mattox inaugurated a Sunday night swing dance at his Club House in Placentia.

Mattox, one of the area's leading country and swing dance promoters, may or may not succeed. Will the swing hounds who have faithfully patronized In Cahoots for the past couple of years embrace variety?

Hmmmm.

Mattox has at least one powerful lure: DJ Jumpin' Jack Smith, beloved for his ever-updated array of swingable tunes, from shuffle blues to retro disco.

The Club House, which also hosts twice-monthly Friday swing and country dances and occasional Sunday brunch bashes, is only a few minutes northeast of In Cahoots. Mattox has that going for him, along with a ban on smoking and line dancing. And he charges $4, $1 less than In Cahoots, although it's BYOB (with a soda machine in the lobby).

So far, he's mostly attracted members of his Sundance Dance Club, who get discounts on admission and on swing, ballroom and hustle classes offered weekly at the place.

These devotees take in stride the venue's drawbacks: a 1,700-square-foot floor that's about half the size of In Cahoots' floor, endearingly hokey but bare-bones countrified decor and poor air conditioning.

"Oh, it's hot," said a drippy participant at a recent Breakfast Boogie Dance Party.

Well, it was about 80 degrees outside that morning, and the hot grill producing pancakes and ham could not have helped. Mattox says he hopes to improve the cooling system. He also wants to find a bigger place, although he doesn't expect to move before January and plans to remain in Placentia or Fullerton.

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Some of the area's hotter dancers may overlook such flaws to compete in a six-week, $500-purse Jack & Jill swing contest beginning Sunday.

Named after veteran swinger Jack Carey of Corona del Mar, the competition tests the lead-and-follow skills required for partner dances such as swing. Nobody can thoroughly prepare because partners get matched up moments before the music starts, forcing them to create the choreography as they go.

Maybe Mattox will draw a few dancers from RJ's Pit BBQ in Fountain Valley too. It's trimmed its nightly country dance routine to Tuesday and Friday only, from 7 p.m. on. The venue's new management also has instigated a $3 cover charge, which is subtracted from the check if you eat at the restaurant.

Cowboy Boogie isn't altogether bereft of country on Sundays. Country bands will play for boot-scooters from noon to 7 p.m. Recorded disco, house, funk and flashback will prevail from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. for Club Climax, an in-house promotion.

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BE THERE

* The Club House, 743 Dunn Way, Placentia. (562) 92-DANCE. Sundays, 8 p.m., $4 cover; Fridays, 7 p.m., $5 cover.

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