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Skaters Shelley O’Neil and Craig Harrington made their way around the floor Wednesday in Burnsville at Skateville, where ballroom dancing will be offered once a month.

Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

IF YOU GO

When: Tuesday, doors open at 5:30 p.m., dance lessons in swing, rhumba and foxtrot, $10, 6-7 p.m. Dancing to Tim Patrick and his Blue Eyes Band, 7-10 p.m.

Where: Skateville, 201 River Ridge Circle S., Burnsville

Burnsville's Skateville puts wheels aside for dancing shoes

  • Article by: BEN JOHNSON
  • Special to the Star Tribune
  • February 16, 2013 - 4:38 PM

At 9:30 p.m. every Monday night at Skateville in Burnsville, everyone trades in their skates for dance shoes, and for the next hour an informal dance party breaks out on the 14,000-square-foot floor.

"They beg me to dance, so at 9:30 the skates come off and we start dancing," said Florance Adams, senior manager at Skateville.

Now, Adams has decided to team up with local musician Tim Patrick and his Blue Eyes Band to host a monthly ballroom dancing party, the first one planned for Tuesday. The doors will open around 5:30 p.m., dance lessons in swing, rhumba and foxtrot will be offered for $10 from 6-7, and from 7-10 Tim Patrick and his 11-piece band will be playing everything from Sinatra to Santana.

Adams and Patrick hatched the idea about a month ago and plan to host a ballroom dancing night the third Tuesday of every month through May. Adams sees the event as an exciting alternative way to utilize her beautiful maple floor, although skating remains her No. 1 priority.

"This is something that's been in my head for years," said Adams, who is hoping for 150 dancers on Tuesday. "It's a good way to branch out and offer something new to the people."

Skateville has been a fixture in Burnsville since it opened in 1974. Adams has worked there for 22 years and can only recall one other time they've held a dance during her tenure.

Tim Patrick has reached out to a number of local high school bands and invited them to play during the monthly ballroom dancing nights. The Hill-Murray band has signed up to play in April.

Patrick teaches economics and woodshop at White Bear Lake High School and did not begin singing until he was 51 years old.

According to Patrick, he stood up and decided to sing on a whim one night nine years ago at Nye's Bar in downtown Minneapolis. The crowd went wild for his crooning, Sinatra-esque baritone, and he went on to form Tim Patrick and the Blue Eyes Band a few years later.

Now the band performs several gigs a month and has recorded three albums of original music, despite Patrick not being able to read or write music and having no formal vocal training.

"It's a dream come true, it really is," said Patrick, who will be performing with vocalist Debbie O'Keefe on Tuesday.

Adams sees the event as a one-of-a-kind date night you won't find anywhere else in the Twin Cities, as well as a great way for older singles to meet. She is confident there will be plenty of women on the dance floor looking for a partner, and even though she'll be running the show Tuesday, it won't stop her from busting a move.

"When I'm not running the window or taking care of the snack bar, I'll be out there," said Adams. "I have some beautiful dance shoes, and they're not going to go to waste."

Ben Johnson is a Twin Cities freelance writer.

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