Kinsley - Devil at the Dance
On a cool spring night 30 years ago, Danny Nava played rock and roll for Satan.
Nava says he was a 16-year-old DJ at Boccaccio 2000, a McAllen disco, the night that birthed the legend of the woman who danced to her grave with the devil.
It was April 13, 1979, Good Friday, when the pious commemorate the crucifixion of their savior. The young woman wasn’t supposed to be at the club that night, as the legend goes. She had defied her parents and her religion to dance the night away.
“You’re going to ruin the whole thing if I tell you the truth,” Nava said.
According to the legend, a handsome stranger dressed in black pulled up to the club in a black Lincoln Continental. The man was not a club regular — Nava said he had never seen him before, nor had anyone else.
The man in black swept the young lady on to the dance floor with unmatched grace.
A smell of sulfur trailed the unknown man. Nava said he caught a whiff from where he sat in the DJ booth and it burned his nose.
Suddenly, a scream overcame the loud music and conversation. Bouncers rushed from all angles toward the dance floor, Nava said.
They found the lady alone. The skin and on her neck and arms, the places where the fiendish stranger had held her, was burned. The man disappeared into the crowd, but the bouncer at the front door never saw him leave, Nava said.
“They couldn’t find him … one of the guards actually saw the door open and thought it was just a wind, but we had a heavy metal door,” Nava said. “When I was a bouncer there, I would throw people out and I would hit them against the door … it was pretty heavy sometimes so I would double knock them.”
Word of the incident spread quickly across the Rio Grande Valley and by next week the club’s crowd was bigger than usual as revelers hoped that they too would see the devil.
Nava is 46 years old now. He’s still a DJ for private parties, under the pseudonym DJ Bone Daddy. Hearing him tell the story, it’s a little disappointing. Despite promises of finally revealing what really did happen that infamous night, he only added to the confusion.
Where Nava’s story differed from the popular legend, is that in his version, the woman lives.
“I’ll take it to the grave,” he said.
The folk tale of a women’s dance with the devil is an old legend. An early version surfaced in 1875 in Danzig, Poland. A more contemporary retelling places the devil at a San Antonio dance hall in 1975.
Folklore binds cultures, enforcing traditional values and norms. The tale of the dance is a warning against promiscuity and perhaps a paean for a patriarchal society — had the women not disobeyed her father, and been pious, she would still be alive. Just why then the story resurfaced in 1979 is a mysterious as the event itself.
There are 159 Haunts nearby
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