1998 New Zealand/Australia Tour

After a smooth, 13 hour flight from LAX to AUK …and then to our destination…Wellington, New Zealand…we arrived on a calm, cold, sunny Winter Sunday. Kerry and Gay met us at the airport and proceeded to drive us through the city of Wellington and all around the harbor and even into the countryside. I was surprised to find the surroundings similar to "home"….except for the "Bank of New Zealand" signs and the fact that the front seat passenger always sits on the left side of the car. …we could have been in any coastal California town. I was mostly surprised by the American stores …McDonald's, KFC, Sizzler and even Target Stores were seen everywhere…the cars on the freeways…same as you would see here in California.

Monday was a marathon day….Kerry Harlen presented Evelyn Khinoo, Bruce Bowman and Doris Volz in workshop at the Knox Presbyterian Church Hall in Lower Hutt. Evelyn taught her newest dances… That's My Hat and Picture Perfect as well as Julie's Cha Cha (Julie Hughs), and Down Home (Betty Campora and Glenn Cravalho). She even managed to give a mini "hat trick" workshop. We couldn't have gotten through this very long day (noon til nearly midnight) without the smiles, conversation and appreciation from the dancers we met here at this event. My thanks go to YOU Liz and Sandra, Allison, and Pat and to Gay Strahl and Kerry Harlen for inviting us to come to New Zealand.

In open dancin' at this event we did local choreography as well as these top New Zealand hits….Southern Streamline (Mack Apaapa) and Titantic (Simon Ward). We did Mamboria, Running Bear and Ribbon of Highway (Neil Hale), Dizzy (Jo Thompson) Cripple Creek (Kip Sweeney), Senorita Sway (Michele Perron) Jambalaya (Ian St.Leon) and Peace Train (Julie Molkner). We did how sweet it is and Silk and Satin (Evelyn Khinoo) and Fly Like A Bird, Love Letters and Shipwrecked (Hedy McAdams). We did Chevy and Ooh! Aah! (Sal Gonzalez) and High Test Love (Max Perry)….and after the last dance was played…we were asked…."Do you know Cuban Heels (Terry Hogan) and Pencil Thin Mustache (Charlotte Skeeters)? How could we not get our tired boots back on the floor and dance these Bay Area Favorite with our new line dancin' friends!

At this workshop we met Janeen Kenny an instructor and member of the Renegade Band… She is the choreographer of the dance Memory Lane that consistently appears on New Zealand's top 5 line dance list.

Tuesday was afternoon class day at the Barn in Wellington with Instructor Bob Kwok Sun….the lesson and review dances were listed on a chalk board beside the DJ booth…I was so excited to see Titantic (Simon Ward) listed….since I had just seen this dance being done the night before. Senorita Sway (Michele Perron) and Cripple Creek (Kip Sweeney) were also reviewed. Bob taught UpSide Down (Diane Amberger). Bob asked Evelyn Khinoo to demo her new dances during a break in the class schedule. She did her newest dances Picture Perfect and That's My Hat.

All I can say to the dancers who take lessons at the Barn…I hope you all know that you are experiencing line dance heaven!! …You all have an enthusiastic, top notch instructor who happens to know all your names…you are learning the absolute latest dances that we are learning here in the Bay Area, you have a fantastic wooden floor and a dance hall with "atmosphere"- totally decorated in the country western motif….and you take your "tea" breaks on a patio that overlooks the beautiful green Silverstream Valley!

Wednesday night lessons with Trish in Shannon, New Zealand.. population around 200…. What a pleasure to be driven way out into the country side….the green hills were abundant with grazing sheep….even the rocks we thought were golden in color, on closer inspection, turned out to be woolly sheep curled up for a rest. A great wooden dance floor at this century old country church converted to a dance hall turned out to be a special night. How cool to see Silk and Satin (Evelyn Khinoo) fill a dance floor in this New Zealand country town. Trish taught Felicidad (Monica Miles) and asked Evelyn Khinoo to demo her newest dances…That's My Hat and Picture Perfect. During the "tea" break….the Wild, Wild West music started playing…I couldn't stand not dancin' so I asked Evelyn to help start the dance… there was one dancer in the class who did know this Chris Hookie classic….and then there were others who joined in to pick it up off the floor…I just can't stand to not dance to great music!

Thursday in Nelson with Diane Amberger (UpSide Down), Sue Wilson (Movin' On Up) and Danuta Newport…and a special thanks to Junie Bagust who looked after me and my wrinkled blouse with such kindness! What organizers these Nelson girls are! Newspaper and televison coverage for The Silk and Satin Workshop was much appreciated. Evelyn Khinoo taught her lastest dances That's My Hat and Picture Perfect and how sweet it is. One line dancer was to ill to attend this fantastic workshop…so we stopped in on her….get well soon Marian!

In open dancin' at this event we did local choreography: Upside Down (Diane Amberger) and Southern Star (Sue Wilson) as well as these top New Zealand hits….Southern Streamline (Mack Apaapa) and Titantic (Simon Ward). We did Mamboria, Running Bear and Ribbon of Highway (Neil Hale), Jambalaya (Ian St.Leon) and Peace Train (Julie Molkner). We did Silk and Satin (Evelyn Khinoo) and Fly Like A Bird, Love Letters and Shipwrecked (Hedy McAdams). We did Along For the Ride and Cuban Heels (Terry Hogan), Chevy and Ooh! Aah! (Sal Gonzalez) and High Test Love (Max Perry).

Australia

The city of Brisbane is not unlike the city of San Francisco….the skyscrappers, the shopping, the climate (we learned quickly that 16 is cold and 22 is perfect)…but the Brisbane streets are cleaner and there are no pan handlers on every corner.

The Sunshine Classic was held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia…event Director - Terry Hogan. This is a CWDI sanctioned event. Friday evening was a meet and greet social dance; Terry introduced Jo Thompson and from the Uk…Alan Livett. The visiting California guests - Michael Barr, Michele Burton, Bruce Bowman, Evelyn Khinoo, and Doris Volz. were also introduced to the dancers. Hedy McAdams joined the event for Saturday and Sunday.

During the weekend, I had the pleasure getting to know: Jeanette Cram, editor of the Queensland line dance magazine….Get In Line. Michael Vera Lobos (It's Your Love) and Noel Bradley…dancers who danced with us last summer at the Y in Michael and Hedy's Thursday class. Eric Sellers (Mr. Desperation Samba), Justine Shuttleworth (Ms. Shuttle & Shimmy Shack), Roxanne Smith and Bradley Skinner (competition dancers), Fiona Ashcroft and her husband Lou (champion competitor who spent New Year's Eve dancin' with us), Simon Ward (Mr. Titantic), Marie Larson (choreographer and Fiona's instructor), Pauline Mooney (New Zealand's 1998 entertainer of the year and Crystal Eagle Winner) and her son Nigel Mooney (instructor and choreographer) and Warren & Jean O'Leary (Event Directors of the Newcastle Festival).

Jo Thompson taught her Java Jive, Simply Irresistible, Rita's Waltz, and Dangerous (John Robinson). Michael Barr taught his Out Of The Blue, All-Right-A, and Cactus Jive (Vicky Wenc). Michele Burton taught her Hallelujah Junction and Funky Farmer (Lorraine Kurtela and Darci Burton). Evelyn Khinoo taught her Roller Blade, Picture Perfect and That's My Hat. Hedy McAdams taught her Angie and her newly choreographed Brown Eyed Girl.

Most of the competition dances chosen for this event are familiar titles to us in the Bay Area…Love Letters (Hedy McAdams), Silk and Satin (Evelyn Khinoo), Amalgamotion (Sue Shotwell & Dan Speed), Jambalaya (Ian St. Leon), Cry Baby (Cindy Truelove), Cha Cha Lengua (Neil Hale), Looking Glass (Charlotte Skeeters), Cha Cha Con Tejas (Chris Hookie), The Shuttle (Justine Shuttleworth), The Riv (Knox Rhine), You Know (Gordon Elliott), Minute Waltz (Bill Bader) Dreamin' (Down Under) and A Waltz In Time (Michael Barr), Get Hot (Scott Blevins), Heart to Heart (Deb Crew), and On Your Toes, Alligator Shoes, Sweet Temptation, Black & White Cha Cha (Terry Hogan).

During the weekend I had the pleasure of getting to see the competitors in action and getting to know them as dancin' friends. The young adults , Nigel Mooney, Justine Shuttleworth, Brad Skinner, Roxanne Smith, and Simon Ward (ages 21 to 23) were not only talented but friendly toward each other. The hat tricks were abundant and the foot work was total precision. Although they don't live close to each other, they are close in friendship…and the fun they have at comps… put smiles on all our lips. Words can not describe how four young guys dressed in South American pink and one Roxanne Smith dressed in South of the Border Print can sing the song and present the dance - Cuban Heels to a full auditorium of appreciative fans. Terry Hogan was very proud of these dancers and they have only helped to speed this dance into our hearts. (Evelyn Khinoo got the "Cuba" letters routine straight from Roxanne…she will be sharing it with us soon!)

Monday night lessons with Terry Hogan and his 100+ intermediate/advanced class. Michele Burton presented a workshop on "working the skirt"…a classy way to enhance a competiton routine…Roxanne Smith was here tonight…and believe me…she put Michele's lesson to test the following weekend at the Newcastle Festival…she worked her skirt into her dance routine and the audience was most impressed and so were the judges!! Michele Burton taught her dance - Eight To The Bar.

Michael Barr taught his dance - Whiskey Brush and Evelyn Khinoo taught Huey Lewie (Charlotte Skeeters)…The dancers (all age groups) learned these two dances very quickly and were doin' the dances to the real music very easily. I was very impressed and expressed this to Terry…"So, how cool is it to have such fast learning students?"…can't repeat the real answer..but the gist is …"it is so difficult to find enough dances to teach them"….now we know why Terry creates such hard dances…to keep his students happy!

During open dancin' at this event we did…No Thanks, I'll Walk (Evelyn Khinoo), Lazy 8 Waltz (Knox Rhine), Alligator Shoes, Black & White Cha Cha, On Your Toes and Sweet Temptations (Terry Hogan).

On Tuesday morning Terry drove us (Michele, Michael and me) to the Gold Coast...Evelyn and Bruce followed in their car...we walked the beach, took funny photos, and all had lunch in a quaint little bistro... this is where we were introduced to Vegamite...the smell is horrid, the taste is worse!

Tuesday night lessons with Marie Larson and Nigel Mooney (Mr. Hold On Tight). Evelyn Khinoo was the guest instructor tonight and she taught her That's My Hat, Picture Perfect, how sweet it is and Julie's Cha Cha (Julie Hughs) and Down Home (Betty Campora and Glenn Cravalho). Here tonight was Fiona Ashcroft…this is her regular lesson night and it was nice to dance with her on her home floor. Also here tonight from Christchurch, New Zealand was Pauline Mooney (New Zealand's 1998 entertainer of the year and Crystal Eagle Winner and Nigel's Mum). Pauline was sooo nice…she walked me through Southern Streamline (Mack Apaapa) and showed me the clue she gives her beginner students so they can begin the 1/2 turn modified applejacks….believe me, I was grateful!!!

On Wednesday, Lou Ashcroft took the day and showed us the beaches of the Gold Coast and the rain forest…we got the royal tour…some of us petted and stroked the kangaroo and let the colorful, flying lorikeet sit on our bare heads…some of us did not!

The Newcastle Line Dance Festival event Directors - Warren and Jean O'Leary. This is a CWDI sanctioned event. Friday evening was a meet and greet social dance; Warren introduced Jo Thompson and from the Uk…Alan Livett. The visiting California guests - Michael Barr, Michele Burton, Bruce Bowman, Evelyn Khinoo, and Doris Volz. were also introduced to the dancers.

During the weekend, I had the pleasure of getting to know and watch compete: Arthur Smith (Mr. Fat Sally Lee) and his duo partner Landon Clarke and his team the Urban Outlaws, Ian St. Leon (Mr. Jambalaya), Kristy and Natasha Williams (competition dancers that visited with us last summer and who went on to knock them dead in Salt Lake City- a.k.a. - "Charlotte's Girls"). Fiona Ashcroft, Justine Shuttleworth (Ms. Still The One & No Worries), Brad Skinner, Roxanne Smith also competed at this event...too cool to come so far and be able to cheer for the dancers we knew during their "floor time".

Jo Thompson taught her Java Jive, Simply Irresistible, Rita's Waltz, Cinco d'Mayo and Dangerous (John Robinson). Michael Barr taught his Out Of The Blue, All-Right-A, Lonesome Blues and Cactus Jive (Vicky Wenc). Michele Burton taught her Eight To The Bar and Funky Farmer (Lorraine Kurtela and Darci Burton). Evelyn Khinoo taught her how sweet it is, Picture Perfect, That's My Hat and Ragtime Annie (Regina & Robert Padden) and Down Home (Betty Campora and Glenn Cravalho).

Bottom Line

...thanks to Terry and Warren for inviting me to their Festivals....and for introducing me to the dancers at their events...many LineDanceFun readers (instructors and dancers) came up to me afterwards to tell me they download sheets from my site...and Simon Ward and Arthur Smith...never would have known that I was the "Internet lady" whose site they visit- if I hadn't been introduced!

...Jo Thompson is a Texas gal...likes to shop, loves to dance, enjoys white wine, and makes it fun for linedancers to get out onto the floor to learn a new dance. Her style of teaching is "downhome", her instruction is precise, and the dances she choreographs are meant to be "dancer friendly". I enjoyed talking "Texas" with her...and "just for grins" - she has promised to "take a look" at my website!