The Devil’s Dance

The Calderon Ballroom used to be the hub of community life in Phoenix, and it hosted everything from quinceañeras to wedding and birthday celebrations. Urban legends, such as the “Bailé con el diablo” cuento, became a part of El Campito folklore. It is believed that a young woman attended a party at Calderon’s and was dancing with the most handsome guy in the room.

“She was dancing away,” my dad told me, “drinking whatever he brought her. The dark haired man with the most expensive suit and the biggest wallet wanted to dance with her all night. But she notices as he pulls her close, the faint smell of rotten eggs on the dance floor. Worse, when he spins her around, she sees a horrible sight in the mirror. His forked tail is hanging out of his coat!” The story ends with the lady’s feet getting hot like coals, and her running out of there, never to be seen again.

Then, after telling me this story, he took us to eat at Calderon’s. I didn’t even want to go alone to the bathroom every time we visited for fear of seeing the devil in the bathroom, where, in fact, it did smell of sulphur.


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