Desert Sands Dance Festival - Las Vegas, Nevada
New Line Dance Choreography Results
1. Bailamos - Joe Williams
2. Cooin' & Wooin' - Michael Barr
3. You & Me - Carmel Hutchinson
4. Wild Wild West 1999 - Jeff Goodwin/Lary Ontell
5. Johnny On The Spot - Karla & Paul Dornstedt
6. Fried Chick'n - Ken Gray

The Desert Sands Dance Festival
Event Director, Bill Ray

Activities kicked off with the Friday morning New Line Choreography Competition. Suitably appropriate the very first workshop was titled Begin The Beguine (Charlotte Skeeters). This 1 wall, 64 count intermediate line dance is done while listening to the soothing harmony of The Limeliters sing ...Begin The Beguine. Oh yes, The Limeliters also sing Fill My Live when we do the dance of the same name. (Charlotte's dance Fill My Life won 1st place in new line dance choreography at the 1999 I.C.E. in Claremont, CA.) My friend LaCreta has pointed out ...some dances are fun to do; Fill My Life is a pleasure to do. Charlotte has given us two new dances that are pleasures! Both of these music choices can be listened to by using the pull down menu above.

Michele Burton was unable to teach and therefore enter her new intermediate two-step dance That's All She Wrote that goes to If The Devil Danced In Empty Pockets by Joe Diffe ...I now love it when the DJ's split the floor on turbo two-steps for the couples ...we line dancers race to the floor to do Michele's FUN dance. Michele was able to fly into Vegas in time for the Sunday entertainment/awards show ...she preformed danced for us in her flowing white skirt!

Also on Friday ...Carmel Hutchinson taught her award winning dance You & Me This dance also won 2nd place at the 1999 Sierra Lace Motherlode Line Dance Festival in the Peoples Choice New Line Dance Choreography Competition. While Carmel was teaching this dance in Competition ...dancers spontaneously added a double clap at the end of the Hold, Hold when dancin' to the music We're Here To Stay...Carmel now invites all dancers to do the same when you do this 2 wall, 32 count intermediate dance done to "We're Her To Stay" by Jo-El Sonnier. You can listen to this music with the catchy phrases by using the pull down menu above. Warning ...it is hard for me to get this tune out of my head when I here it ...sorry if this happens to you also, but FUN is FUN!

...and then on Saturday Michael Barr taught his award winnin' dance Cooin' & A Wooin' to a Lari White tune ...Itty Bitty Little Singletary Solitary piece of My Heart. This 2 wall, 32 count intermediate fun dance can be done to any west coast swing music. Michael always uses his head set microphone to teach us dances, but since he was also the DJ here at the Desert Sands Event ...he was using the hand held microphone ...it kept gettin' in his way when he was explaining the 'attitude' walks ...and where he put it became comical ...Dude, you were so amusing ...good thing your new dance is only a 2 wall, 32 count easy intermediate ...cause our attention was certainly pleasantly distracted!

Ernie Hutchinson taught his very fun, very not easy, Wasn't That A Party on Saturday also. It is a 2 wall, 64 count intermediate line dance. Wasn't That A Party by the Irish Rovers preferred, 176 bpm. This dance won 1st place at the 1999 Sierra Lace Motherlode Line Dance Festival in the Peoples Choice New Line Dance Choreography Competition. This is a FAST dance ...took me forever to get it down, and I love the fact that Ernie was in the front row at the Saturday night social dance leading us. Simon was sittin' and waitin' his turn to lead us in his God Bless The Child when he couldn't sit still and watch ...he was listenin' to the lyrics and could see the fun we were having ...he joined in and after the first few rounds of baby duckin' Ernie ...he had it ...now he knows why I consider this dance a theme song! Both of these music choices can be listened to by using the pull down menu above.

For those of you who haven't attended this particular dance event ...the new line choreography competition is judged way differently then one dance against another dance with all the same judges taking the instruction and using the "same" judging criteria ...At Desert Sands there are 3 different workshops contests ...two dances are chosed as finalists from each contest ...and then these 6 finalists are judged by a panel of different judges who just observe the dance as it is presented to them by the choreographer and his/her hand picked "demo" team. The six places are then considered the new choreography winners. Some dancers feel and perhaps rightly so ...that the "famous names" have an advantage in an "open" contest when one dance is against another ...personally ...I've decided that as a dancer I evolved to accept one truth (judges rule) ...but then evolved intellectually to discover another ...IT DOESN'T MATTER ...THE REQUEST LIST RULES!!

All of California was absolutely thrilled that San Francisco Bay Area's own Michael Barr was part of the social DJ collaboration. MB knows the Die Hards who attend the festivals ...he splits the floor for all of us ...and it was a huge floor! 1600+ dancers from all over the States as well as Canada, the UK and Australia were here sharing the same dance floor. I did notice that he went over to a group of dancers sittin' on the sidelines for too long and asked them for a request ...most of us are NOT too reserved to flood his request only dance list. (Michael was kind enough to provide me with the following bio of the other good lookin' Dude workin' the DJ booth)

Ambrose Donahue has been a DJ for the better part of 30 years. He has been one of the voices of country music in Europe through CMR (Country Music Radio) based in London. His knowledge of music is second to none. As a non-dancer his grasp of what beat goes well with what dance is remarkable.
In a collaboration with his partner, Jill Thompson, Ambrose has gained the knowledge of what the dancers like and the music which will put the biggest smiles on their faces. They (Boots & Roots) hold classes and socials in the London area. Ambrose is a "keep it country" DJ, but has all the knowledge of the non-country music as well. His philosophy is to give the dancers/the paying public, what they want. He may have his leanings to Country songs but he is able to put together a mix that pleases all. He can fill a floor and keep the energy building like no other DJ I have known - with the exception of Neil Hale!!!!!! If I came off as having done a good job at Desert Sands it was because of the collaboration I was a part of with Mr. Ambrose Donahue.

Other famous dot coms were here at the festival Mr. John Robinson ...too cool to dance your Jive Walkin' with you, Dude!
Peter Blaskowski, also known as Mr. Kickit
Rob Ingenthron our own Mr. Rob I from the San Francisco Bay Area taught the
Mambo #5 (Machado/Lee),
from Canada ...Mr.
Bill Bader and Mr. Rick Tippe ...
from the East ...Ms. Joanne Brady ...
from the West ...Ms. Lana Harvey ...
from the Midwest ...Mr. Hillbilly Rick ...
our International Treasure Mr. Knox Rhine too cool to re-remember your Rydell Shuffle with you AND Dude ...thanks so much for letting me dance next to you during the re-play of Simon's Larger Than Life!

From the World ...Mr. Max Perry mentioned to us that it is his pleasure to teach interesting dances with unusual step patterns to the dancers who take his workshops. The buzz around the grapevine at the event was over the intermediate/advanced UK dance Max was teaching in his workshops this year. I saw it on the social dance floors both Friday and Saturday nights. It was so new to the schedule that no step sheet was included in the "official step sheet booklet" ...I put it in my memory that I had to be up and down in class Sunday morning at 9:50am to learn Syncopated Rhythm (Rob & Michele Fower) ...and believe me ...the dance floor was packed ...the sit down index was zero ...the workout was so great ....the endorphins rushed!

Also from the World (Texan by birth) ...Ms. Jo Thompson, who like Max, travels extensively on tour to Country Western Dance Events. Rita Jo, (her Texan name) YOU are one brillant lady ...you knew we needed to stretch during the Sunday Show and you chose to teach to us your Rita's Waltz ...the perfect easy, very fun waltz ...it was too cool to watch the remainder of the crowd start trickling onto the floor to join in when we all started the hand holding during the music ...in the Bay Area YOUR dance is our Country Attitude Christmas signature dance ...Evelyn teaches us the dance and Bruce plays the music Christmas Card by Scooter Lee (at least I think that is the title of the song ...for those of you who are reading this and you have to know for sure, please E them)

Jo also had time to rehearse and perform in the Sunday Show with her friends and advanced champion dancers of the World ...Morgan Ratcliffe, Cari Cushman, Simon Ward, Rob I, Scott Blair, John Robinson ...Mr. Kippy let them all wear his belts to add an extra sparkle to their medley of "famous" dances routine. (John, Dude, your red glitter belt was to die for!)

Ms. Thompson has asked Mr. Simon Ward to join her when she tours the UK next fall. I have adopted him into our LineDanceFun family and very soon you will be able to view his dot com page on this website.

Just some observations:

Julie Molkner (Peace Train) has a new dance Spanish Eyes that all the OCDC dancers knew ...they even started the dance correctly ...Ms. Molkner recovered quickly ...grins!

It was cool to have on our dance floor both Charlotte Skeeters and the co-creator of Be My Guest ...Ms. Jill Thompson from the UK leadin' us in this dance. Also many dancers from the UK were here and Chris Hodgson's dance Crazy Little Thing was on the request list and they filled the floor!

The current & classic beginner dances still packing the floor ...Red Hot Salsa (Christina Browne), Got To Be Funky (Dawn Beecham, and Cowgirls' Twist (Bill Bader) ...MB played a different song for Ooo! Ahh! (Sal Gonzalez) and I noticed Charlotte stepped onto the floor near the middle of the dance and started to 'pick it up off the floor' ...I joined in next to her with "It's Ooo! Ahh! ...she grinned in that oops way ... and said "I thought it seemed familar" ...she is a very smart blonde on most days!

The classic & current & new intermediate dances filling the floor ...Hot Tamales (Neil Hale), Fly Like A Bird (Hedy McAdams), Hey Bruce (Michael Barr), Madly Off In All Directions (Michele Perron), Cajun Girls and Gumbo (Mike Sliter), After Midnight (Judy McDonald), Whole Lotta Peppas (Neil Hale) and Listen (Michael Barr).

The intermediate/advanced Die Hard dances .... Perhaps (Chris Kumre) (perhaps it doesn't belong in this catagory but it is a hard dance for me ....grins), Mambo #5 (Machado/Lee), Sunset Stampede (Ian StLeon) and now Larger Than Life (Simon Ward) ...Simon dedicated this dance to all the American's he met during his stay Aug-Nov 1999. He says that we were way Too Much Fun ...there is a dance by that name (Mr. Terry Hogan's dance) ...sometimes I forget that fact ...I always use that phrase!

Max Perry ...his demeanor and dance style is, in my opinion, the closest to Mr. Fred Astaire, but many of us have sort of followed in his boot steps and have added some spark to our dance style and some glitter to our wardrobes. I feel that The western Style of Dance and Music and Clothing is 'in a transition period' ...I think it is a positive thing! I happen to know for a fact that I have shoppin' friends ...Beth, Charlotte, Darlene, Judi, Nancy, Sharon, and Lorraine ...who spent money in Vegas and they might agree!

I wasn't expecting such an Endorphin Rush at this Festival; My Thanks to Mr. Bill Ray for havin' hired great instructors and a Bay Area DJ ...Dude, I felt you did a great job with the staff and the wooden floors ...just a teeny, tiny observation (from an observant blonde) ...maybe you can re visit the idea of makin' us classy ladies wear bracelets in such a hideous shade of lime green ...could we have black or silver instead?

1999 Doris Volz, California