Kenneth Erle Engel
(Kentucky Ken) His Resumé
I hope you
will find the information you require on these pages to appreciate
the good fortune that has been given to us in the Western Line
Dance Community in the "finding" of a true Country Western
Icon .... a National Treasure, the Father of Country Western Line
Dance Choreography as we know it.
(Kentucky) Ken Engel
is the originator of line and partner dances
from the eary 70's and 80's which are still done in nightclubs
and dance classes across the nation and the world at this time.
You can download original signed step sheets by clicking on the
I suppose my love for country music came naturally, being born
and raised in a small west Texas town called Sweetwater. The only
music I listened to was country.
Unfortnately counry dancing actually any type of dancing did not
come naturally. I remember the first dance I went to, I was seventeen
and everyone was doing the two step and I was a total klutz. In
1962 there were no such animals as country dance instructors to
teach me, but luckily there was one brave girl that said come
on I'll teach you. I learned and from that moment on nothing could
me in Phoenix Arizona I was working as a D.J. doing private parties
and part time in between band sets at Mr. Luckys which was a fairly
new concept, spinning records on a pair of technic 1200 turn tables.
This particular night a friend of the manager was suppose to come
in and teach some dancing to the customers, but he didn't show.
The manager knew I could dance fairly well and asked me if I would
do it. I said okay, but it's going to cost you a couple of shots
and dinner he said okay. I downed one shot and he made the announcement
I looked at a floor full of people and asked them if they were
nervous, they all yelled out yes I replied so am I. I down the
second shot and proceeded to teach the Cotton Eye Joe (also known
as the bull shit dance), which if I recall correctly was the earliest
equivalent of a country line dance.
time on I taught dancing at Mr. Luckys until about 1977 when I
moved on to Gilleys in South Pasadena Texas. Prior to that at
about 1970 I used to notice all those girls dieing to dance and
all those guys to chicken to ask or just not knowing how. Then
I thought there just has to be something for them to do. Why not
dances they could do without a partner. That in turn started my
career as a choreographer of line dances. At that time line dances
where not popular yet and in a lot of states unheard of.
Some of my
favoite tunes back then which had special meanings to me where
Bobby Bares, Bombed, Boozed, and Busted which of course
was the first song I taught the Texas Freeze to. And another was
Waylon Jennings I've Always Been Crazy because it kept
me from going insane. I was always told I was a crazy kind of
guy. So I guess "I've Always Been Crazy" was my song
back then. But as far as all of my favorite tunes,the artists
and songs are too numerous to mention. Going back aways any thing
by the late great Conway Twitty was always one of my favorites.
I can honestly
say the titles and lyrics where not as important to me as the
rhythm was. As for dancing, give me a quick up beat Two Step or
Western Swing any time. I can give you a few examples of my favorite
Two Step and Western Swing songs - Dance With Who Brung You
and House Of Blue Lights by Asleep At The Wheel, Guitars
and Cadillacs by Dwight Yokam,
Red Necken Love Makin Nights by Conway Twitty, and Long
Neck Bottles by Garth Brooks. As far as slow songs are concerned
The Keeper Of The Stars by Tracy Byrd, which my lady
Chickie and I relate to our first meeting.
I hope I
have answered all of your questions and if there is anything else
you would like to know please don't hestitate to ask. Of course
you may publish our e-mail address we would love to hear from
any one wanting to talk with us.
Ken's email is: email@example.com
Doris Volz, January 2007