Mus­tang’s Al­ley Shares Two Decades Of Danc­ing

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Megan Davis

Ron and Peggy Ruck­man have shared two decades of two-step­ping with the county. The cou­ple owns and op­er­ates Mus­tang’s Al­ley — a fam­ily-friendly dance hall east of Jane.

When Ron re­tired from Wal­mart in the early ’90s, he and Peggy dreamed of a place to dance and play mu­sic with their fam­ily. The cou­ple de­signed the dance hall and, over the years, saw it to fruition.

The doors of Mus­tang’s Al­ley opened in Fe­bru­ary 1998 and, since then, hun­dreds of shoes have shuf­fled through the thresh­old, by walls lined with mu­sic mem­o­ra­bilia and across the black-and-white check­ered dance floor.

The Ruck­mans run Mus­tang’s Al­ley as a la­bor of love and a shared pas­sion.

“We don’t try to make any money, we just try to keep the lights on and pay the in­sur­ance.”

Ad­mis­sion is $5 and guar­an­tees guests ac­cess to dance lessons, a 3,500-square-foot dance floor and a se­lec­tion of live mu­sic in a smoke- and al­co­hol-free en­vi­ron­ment. The dance floor is open and hop­ping from 7 un­til 11 p.m. ev­ery Satur­day, ex­cept for the first of each month.

Dance lessons are of­fered from 7 un­til 8 p.m. — when the live band starts. Line-danc­ing is taught from 7 to 7:30 p.m., and cou­ples danc­ing is taught from 7:30 to 8 p.m. Lessons range from coun­try two-step to waltz and swing dance.

Don Owen has been teach­ing and two-step­ping at Mus­tang’s Al­ley for more than a decade. He said danc­ing can look in­tim­i­dat­ing, “but it’s ba­si­cally just a fancy way of walk­ing.”

“To be a good dancer, you have to dance with dif­fer­ent part­ners,” Owen said. “That’s one of the best things about this place. It’s a place with no smoke and no al­co­hol where peo­ple can take their kids and teach them to dance.”

Dancers of all ages share the floor, rang­ing from pre­teen to post-re­tire­ment.

Four­teen-year-old Is­abele Rose has been tak­ing lessons for three months. She and her sis­ter, 10-year-old Bre­anna, take spe­cial en­joy­ment from line-danc­ing.

“There are so many vari­a­tions, there are al­ways new ones to learn,” Is­abele said.

A blend of coun­try and rock ‘n roll clas­sics are per­formed live by The Mus­tang Band. Ron plays gui­tar and pi­ano in the band, while Peggy and their daugh­ters, Karen and Sandy, pro­vide vo­cals. Ac­cord­ing to Mus­tangsAl­ley-Dance­Hall. com, a few tal­ented cousins have also been known to jam with the house band. Tracks range from 1960s hits like “Runaround Sue” by Dion to newer coun­try songs like “I Just Want To Dance With You” by Ge­orge Strait.

Mus­tang’s Al­ley is lo­cated at 15 Mus­tang Al­ley Lane, east of Jane. Fol­low I-49 to High­way 90 East, fol­low High­way 90 for six miles and there will be a flash­ing sign to the right, ush­er­ing guests down a drive­way to Mus­tang’s Al­ley.

In ad­di­tion to a dance floor, the dance hall of­fers ar­cade games, pool ta­bles and a con­ces­sion stand with a va­ri­ety of re­fresh­ments. Mus­tang’s Al­ley is also a great place to cel­e­brate spe­cial oc­ca­sions and can be re­served via phone at 417-435-2582 or via email at mus­tangs@leru.net.

PHO­TOS BY MEGAN DAVIS/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

Cou­ples dances are mes­mer­iz­ing to watch as dancers seam­lessly twirl and step around the dance floor in-sync. Cou­ples lessons are taught from 7:30 to 8 p.m.

A quar­ter and an au­di­ence makes for a bond­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the Mus­tang’s Al­ley ar­cade.

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