Original article written March 1994 by Robert M. Baker, M.D.
Revised and edited by Evelyn Jones, Historian 2011.
The Broadmoor Waltz Club is the oldest continuously active
traditional Waltz Club in
Evolution: What is now The Broadmoor Waltz Club arose as a
combination of circumstances, imagination and a concern for cultural
preservation. Substantiating details are obtainable from an
article in the Silhouette of
A November 1951
Orchestras: Eventually Mr. Browning and his wife retired to
California, leaving a world renowned concert pianist son (also John
Browning) and a fabulous tradition of dancing Viennese waltzes at
the Broadmoor Hotel. Following John Browning (father) and John
Browning (son) in 1950, Frank John, popular cellist from Denver,
brought his orchestra to continue the live music tradition.
Bob McGrew was among a succession of orchestra leaders following
Frank John, as was Allen Uhles. An informative Gazette
Telegraph article written by staff writer Elena Jarvis is worth
quoting for the data it provides about Allen Uhles who with his
orchestra produced the music for about 200 nights of Viennese
waltzing during the thirty-three years he was associated with the
club. Citing Ms Jarvis: "Although primarily a violinist,
Allen Uhles played saxophone, baritone horn, flute and clarinet. He
performed in the Shriners Band, Broadmoor Jazz Club, was music
director for the
The Dances and Instruction: In the late 1930’s Dr. Lloyd Shaw, noted educator, author, and teacher of round and square dancing, was called in to instruct the dancers in Viennese waltzing and to establish the custom of pattern dancing at the time of the Viennese Waltz Night. In this formal style all the couples perform the same steps simultaneously while progressing “in the line of dance,” traveling counterclockwise in a large circle around the dance floor.
Mary Kelleher succeeded Lloyd Shaw in the important post of dance
instructor. She developed the standard of two practices before
the first dance of the season, and a practice on the Sunday before
each of the other five dances. Dean and Helen Serna were the
dance instructors emeritus for the group while Vic and Elaine Fast
and Bob Limbaugh and Bernadette Bruno shared dance instruction in
the early 1990’s. Vic was given the title of Dance Master by
the club in the early 2000’s in acknowledgement of his years of
dedicated service to the club. Practice sessions took place at
Each season The Broadmoor Waltz Club members perform twelve dances. While there is a core of songs/dances that have been with the club for most of our 74 years, from time to time a given dance is replaced by another. In 2009, member Bill Donaldson composed a new, signature piece, The Broadmoor Waltz (The Last Corté), a musical piece so moving that this writer has been brought to tears more than once by this beautiful composition. With flowing choreography by Milo and Grace Ferry, the Broadmoor Waltz has become a favorite addition that is exclusive to the club. Such is the dedication and talent of our membership.
Members: The Club accepts up to sixty member couples each season. In addition to our membership base in Colorado Springs, dancers have come from the Colorado villages, towns and cities of Manitou Springs, Security, Cascade, Denver, Evergreen, Parker, Pueblo, and as far away as Sante Fe, New Mexico (Charles and Dorothy Fellnagle.) That is genuine commitment. The Fellnagles were regular attendees for years, returning as guests during the 1993 season.
In February 1983, after the Broadmoor Waltz Club Valentine Dance,
From an article by Caroline Brown published in her column "round
town" in the
Dean and Helen Serena contributed enormously to the continuity and success of The Broadmoor Waltz Club. Joining the organization in 1964 and parlaying a dancing hobby into a profession as dance instructors, the Serenas had thirty years seniority, which established them as the bellwethers of the Club membership in 1994 which approached the longevity of Allen Uhles in service to the Club. Next longest (we’ve learned not to say 'oldest') members were Larry and Eileen Perotti with twenty-seven years seniority. They were outstanding contributors to the Club as dance instructors and members of the board of directors. Other long-standing members were Don and Alice Beverly who joined in 1973, and Eldon and Dixie Hager who followed in 1974. Dick and Jane Headstrom, members since 1973 and our current bellwethers, were among the first six Denver couples who joined in the early 70’s. Doc and Velma Way, also from Denver, were among those who joined in the late 70’s. Bill and Burdene Olson (long associated with productions of ice shows at the Broadmoor World Arena) became members in 1976; Bob and Laurie Baker began in 1977. Bob and Carol Olson were Colorado Springs members in the 70’s who moved to Denver then renewed their membership in 2010, making the monthly trek with the Headstroms and Ken and Fran Berry. Testimony to the dedication of the group is the fact that twenty-eight of the thirty-eight couples on the 1994 roster had been members for five years or more. As of the 2010-2011 season 24 of our 46 member couples have been members for more than 5 years. The 74 years of existence and the stability of the membership of The Broadmoor Waltz Club speak volumes for the high regard these people have for the music, exercise, culture, and social virtues of this form of recreation.
While The Broadmoor Waltz Club was formed as a Viennese waltz club with a string orchestra playing Strauss, the waltzes of the club are now technically “American Glide” style rather than Viennese. “Waltz Night” at the Broadmoor Hotel is a thrilling combination of music, the old-world ambiance of the Broadmoor Hotel Grand Ballroom, and the soft synchronized twirl, twinkle, vine and swirl of sixty couples intent upon enjoying their special art form.
In addition to all persons named above, numerous current and former members have donated their time, and dedication to the club over the years as well as information in the form of anecdotes, pictures and historical data, invaluable to the completion of this summary. The inclusion of all the names and sources is impossible and the writer apologizes for any omissions.