Along For The Ride
Black & White Cha Cha
On Your Toes
Step By Step
Too Much Fun
Straighten Up and Fly Right
Instructor/Choreographer/DJ/Event Director "Sunshine State Classic" Brisbane, Australia
The National Capital Bootscoot 3 , a CWDI sanctioned event was held in Canberra this past weekend July 16,17,18, and like the previous events hosted by Jenny Cryer and Phil Bates, it lived up to it's reputation of a relaxed and fun filled weekend.
The event was held for the second time at The Hellenic Club which is a great venue, with restaurant and bar facilities on hand and wonderful espresso coffee to keep us going all weekend. Canberra even put on reasonably mild weather for most of the weekend, pleasantly surprising those of us unused to the cold weather normal for this time of year.
The competitors were of a high standard, and came from South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales (Australian states) as well as a good local contingent from A.C.T, and there were enough entries to keep the judges busy Saturday and most of Sunday with line dance and team events. 2 step and partner pair events were held on Saturday night as part of the social which had the theme 'Christmas in July', including traditional Christmas dinner and plum pudding.
dancers were encouraged to decorate their tables and some of the
props looked like they could have come from the local department
store windows, however the 'out of towners' who didn't have room
in our luggage to transport Christmas decorations had to
improvise. I shared a table with three ladies from Melbourne and
about 6 Sydney dancers, and our group effort was rewarded with
1st prize for the 'non local table decoration.' We had a great
time stealing red and green napkins from everywhere to create
origami fantasies, we even had a center piece of flowers made
from toilet paper and drinking straws!!!
There were not a lot of workshops scheduled, and those that were done, were taught in the main room so everyone could join in. Simon Ward taught a new dance during a break in competition on Saturday ...for the life of me I can't remember the name, but the song is yet another Shania Twain, God Bless The Child - perhaps that is the name of the dance too? Simon and I also demo'd his and Charlotte's, Dum Dum A Diddly Dum to the crowd and I talked him into teaching it on Sunday.
Eric Sellars from Sydney introduced a brand new dance Wild Cat Boogie, to a song by an Australian artist at Friday night's dance, and I taught one of my new ones called Wrapped Up on Sunday - there was also a 2 step class on Saturday afternoon.
Workshops were held in a separate room from the choreography competition. New Choreography was again well received. (I think I enjoy judging this sort of thing, although learning 8 new dances in one day is a real strain for my aging brain and I was sure glad to see the last entry.)
Sullivan from Sydney (he was at last years' GGC ) won the
intermediate choreography section for the second year running
with a new dance called Dream On from a field comprising of
established and first time choreographers.
Although everyone was thoroughly exhausted by long days and late nights typical of these events, it was a very enjoyable weekend for competitors, spectators and judges alike, and Jenny and Phil should be very happy that they have continued to maintain such a high standard while keeping the event relaxed and those attending entertained.
My introduction to country dancing began in 1988 within a couple of days of arriving in the US for what was to be a working holiday, I was taken into a bar where I watched in fascination as singles and couples danced to country music. It looked like they were all having such a great time and it was such a relief from "disco" that I immediately inquired as to where classes were held, and the next night I was there at 7 p.m. for my first lesson. This started a period of dancing six, sometimes even seven nights a week - classes and social dancing anywhere I could find with country music.
After almost a year away, I returned home expecting never to be able to line dance again, only to find that in my absence it had started in Australia. At the first opportunity I investigated the local scene and as it happened when word "got around" that I had been in the 'States, I was asked to demonstrate - and then to teach some of the dances I had learned - that's how it started!!
I taught and DJ'd for a couple of years at weekends before being approached by a suburban hotel to hold a class there and within a couple of weeks by another and then another, and before I knew or was ready for it I was having a tough time maintaining my "real job" and teaching most nights. After much soul searching I decided to try teaching full time, the first in Australia to make the leap - and much to my surprise I'm still doing it today.
My choreography comes from nothing more than the desire to dance to music I like. This is how and why I choreograph - I hear a song I like and dance to it, and if I do something that I like for my own satisfaction and the fact that many of these dances are taken upon by others is always a great thrill and often a surprise. I don't know how some choreographers can do the steps then find the music -this is quite an alien concept to me - I know I could never do it that way.
A background as a professional dancer obviously makes it easy for me to understand the mechanics of dance and movement and having taught various styles including ballroom dance I enjoy the variety that has come into line dance from the different types of dance over the last couple of years.
Trying to keep up with the current trends in country dance I travel to the US at least once a year and over the past few years I have had the pleasure of meeting many of the US choreographers whose work is taught here. I have been a guest instructor at several large CWLDA & CWDI competitions in various parts of the 'States,, as well as teaching at several clubs across the country, and it is my involvement with these events that have made me an advocate for the introduction of a more structured competition format in this country.
During the last two years especially, my travels have also included every major city and many of the larger cities in Australia to hold workshops where I get to meet the "local" teachers and many choreographers whose work I am happy to report is now making an impact in the US as well as here in Australia.
As the line dance phenomenon continues to spread over the country I get more and more calls saying "I've just learned one of your dances, would you send me any other dances you've done" or words to that effect...as an attempt to get correct dance step descriptions "signed" by the choreographer more widely available...
Terry Hogan has published a step description book containing 34 dances...The Choreography of Terry Hogan..his step description sheets have his address/fax printed on them...his book sells for 12 US dollars.
click to read The Story Behind His Non Country Music to Dances