If you walk through the streets of Portland on a sunny day, you might notice a slew of people who are not into shakin’ their tail feathers. They are too hip, too introverted, too Etsy. They should be dancing. Just not at the dance clubs everyone knows and hates, full of Ed Hardy-wearing dudes and girls soaked in Juicy Couture body mist. There are non-skeezy dance joints in Portland; here’s a rundown of the finest.
722 E Burnside St.,
Bossanova Ballroom’s sleek wood floor and mile-high ceilings give the venue the rustic aura of an old-timey dance hall. The Ballroom’s eclectic mix of events covers the whole spectrum of dance genres, including swing dancing, burlesque shows and b-boy dance battles.
316 SW 11th Ave.,
The Fez Ballroom is a kinky beast in comparison with the would-be Euro-trash clubs farther down West Burnside Street. This towering two-level dance hall hosts a popular ’80s night every Friday, where the resident DJs Encrypted and NoN spin hits and remixes from the ’70s and ’80s. The Fez’s clientele is an energetic gang of non-skanky hotties, nerds and ravers, who all come together and fill the laid-back ballroom with happy groovers. Steer clear of “Goth Night” on Thursdays, unless you’re into industrial music and girls wearing fangs.
2845 SE Stark St.,
When you go to the Goodfoot, two things are certain: You won’t be the ugliest person in the room, and you won’t be the worst dancer. This makes for a stress-free dance floor where you can bust out disco moves, throw your hands in the air, and wave ’em like you just don’t care, because no one in the room will care either. With low cover charges, stiff drinks and a revolving cast of DJs and MCs, the Goodfoot is a trusty standby when it comes to lettin’ loose.
1001 SE Morrison St.,
Holocene is young. It’s avant-garde. It’s rail-thin girls dancing around in oversized sweaters. It’s their chic boyfriends with messily coiffed hair trying to keep up. In addition to top-shelf dance bands like Deerhoof and Strength tearing up its stage, Holocene hosts the Rockbox Dance Party every third Friday of the month. The electro/hip-hop madness of Rockbox is created by DJ Kez, Matt Nelson and Dungy, who spin all vinyl, all the time.
1332 W Burnside St.,
Whenever you feel an urge to shake your bonbon, Lola’s is there for you. The most dependably dope dance event in Portland is the ’80s Video Dance Attack on Fridays. The nights are chockablock with ’80s songs that blare while their corresponding videos are projected on screens. The videos serve as instructional materials, and induce patrons to dance around like angsty members of the Brat Pack.