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Linda Francis

Linda Francis near her home in Pinole, CA.

Linda Francis near her home in Pinole, CA. Photo by John Noltner.

Linda Francis has done ballroom, square dancing, and country-western dancing, but it wasn’t until 1998 that she first heard zydeco. She and a friend were at a festival in Mountain View, California, when they saw the Louisiana band Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie. “We were just bouncing around, loving the music,” she recalls. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, what is this?’”

Soon afterward, with a friend’s encouragement, Francis began taking zydeco dance lessons and attending the popular dances at Eagles Hall in Alameda, Ashkenaz in Berkeley, and the 23 Club in Brisbane. “It’s hard to be depressed when you’re listening to zydeco music,” she says. “No matter how hard the week is, when we go dancing Friday night, it’s like the cares are just lifted away.” Before long, she was attending several zydeco and Cajun-music dances a week. Now she teaches the dance professionally. In this outtake, she explains how she made the leap from casual dancer to instructor.