... from the San Francisco Bay Area

E news from Michael Barr

Bill Bader put on (with the tremendous support of his close friends) a wonderful event. This one day event in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, Canada is a packed full day but with a sense of total involvement due to his organization. Tsawwassen is located about 45 minutes or so from downtown Vancouver. This area is called the Lower Mainland and is one of the main ferry ports were many people come to enter Canada. The weather was cool and crisp with leaves of all colors barely hanging onto their branches. (I believe the Californians who went on up missed a storm back at home. Ye Haw.)

California was well represented with Mike and Beth Sliter, Michele Burton, Charlotte Skeeters and Sue Branson. We were all welcomed warmly and were truely made part of the event.

It all started Friday night, Michele Perron (Madly Off In All Directions) and her husband Brian Bull put on a welcoming dance in town for all who could make it up to the event early. The group up in this part of the world reminds me of our group in the Bay Area. They are very supportive of each other and you can feel it.

Saturday morning came, and as it grew closer to the first workshop, 9:30 (a really reasonable time:) we opened our doors to our rooms and entered the hallway of the hotel. If you missed the dance the night before here is where you started the event. More doors opened and people you knew, or didn't, started out to the parking lot for the 2 minute drive to the Kinsmen Recreation Center. This center is ideal for the event. Great wood floor, stage (a bit small, but there non the less), lots of tables and chairs, full lunch and snack bar and a small store with local art work. A really warm place and good atmosphere. The air was wintry with a warm sun out. Great dancing weather.

Bill had the day planed like this: 8 choreography workshops starting at 9:30.This would be broken up with the team competition at 2 pm. Each workshop was 35 minutes and strictly timed. Usually after each workshop the DJ's would l play a song or two.

Also, Bill would coach everyone on the process of voting. This competition is voted on by the dancers with a small panel of dancers to over see the few rules that existed. With a sheet consisting of the time slot, choreographer and a place to put your score (1-10) you could put down your scores as you went and also look over them at the end to adjust for any useful reasons.

At 2 pm the Team Showcase started. This really changed the energy and was timed very well. The dancer who had been taking all the workshops now got to sit for a while and be entertained. There were Mini Teams (2-3 dancers), Small Teams (4-8 dancers), and Large Teams (9+). We then had a couple of workshops and then an extended dinner.

The evening had Deb Crew teaching one of her new dances which she choreographed to music done by a local Artist in her area of the world, Eastern Canada (near Toronto). The dance is called Secret Recipe and the music is by Cheryl Hardy - song title - Mama's Green Apple Pie. The dancers had lots of fun doing this dance and with Deb using a Canadian artist for the music it really added a nice meaning to it all. Deb is a wonderful person and supporter of line dance. A couple of her dances are Heart to Heart and Shadows. She specializes in using ballads and does a great job.

The evening was toped off with a guest singer Bill asked to join us. Bill recently put out a dance called Still the One and was commissioned by the singer Jeanette O'keeffe (Canadian artist) to do the choreography. She sang 4 songs all of which were wonderful. She had a very genuine surprised look on her face when most in the room got on the floor to dance Still the One as she sang. I think this was a first for her and she was delighted. The Canadian's have some exceptional talent (Rick Tippe as well) and they seem very appreciative of our love of dance. With lots of open dancing to follow the evening was terrific.

Here is the list of the dances taught:
1. Rokin' It Up by Betty Clark, Victoria, B.C.
2. Give It Up by Michael Barr, Palo Alto, Ca.
3. The Red Key by Claire Gent, Victoria, B.C.
4. Hot Stuff by Dee Cresdee & Sheila Smith, Vancouver, B.C.
5. Mama's Lil' Baby by Charlotte Skeeters, Pleasanton, Ca.
6. Shakin' The Shack by Jenifer Reaume, Vancouver, B.C.
7. Shouldn't Be Doin' This by Mike Sliter, Sunnyvale, Ca.
8. Cross-Border Connection by Lisa Strong, Vancouver, B.C.

...and the new choreography dance winners were:
Give It Up - Michael Barr
Shouldn't Be Doin' This - Mike Sliter
Hot Stuff - Dee Cresdee, Ember Schira, Sheila Smith
Mama's Lil' Baby - Charlotte Skeeters

With each choreographer doin' his or her dance in one room with only that going on was a great relief from deciding which workshop to go to. All the choreographers get a great crowd which adds to the excitement of teaching.

Our Charlotte Skeeters brought her new dance to the comp., called Mama's Lil' Baby. Charlotte has given this dance an Easy Intermediate (really!!!) status. I believe this new status (really!!!) came about from Terry Hogan's introduction to his dances as "relatively easy little dance". The music is Shortenin' Bread by the Tractors. They have not had a CD out in 4 years (Baby Likes To Rock It). Charlotte says her song will be used by many choreographers because it is such a great song. I will bet her dance with the new song will be tops.

Mike Sliter brought his new dance which he taught right before he left for the event. His practice paid off because you could tell on the faces of the dancers that they enjoyed his easy relaxed manner of teaching. Mike's style won them over and so did his dance. His music "Shouldn't Be Doin' This" (George Strait) is an up sounding song but slow in tempo.

Charlotte came back later on to teach another competition dance for one of the choreographers, Lisa Strong. Lisa made a great choice. Charlotte taught the dance which had some very interesting steps which were explained really well. I was standing next to Michele Burton and because the stage was small and low we could not see Charlotte's feet, but Michele said she didn't need the visual as she could understand so easily how to do the step by Charlotte's direction. Ye Haw for awesome teachers.

When it was my turn I wanted to take the opportunity to have some fun and thank the dancers for there voting Hey Bruce first place in last years comp. So, with a little devilish smile I got Al (the DJ) to put on the Hey Bruce music, The Heat Is On for my demo music for my new dance. Only eight counts played but it got a big ye haw (a few had no idea what I was doing and looked a bit bewildered). I was then able to thank them all for there incredible support. Most all in attendance were there last year. They got Hey Bruce off to a great start.

The teams were great. As I do not have a list of names I will just give you a short description of what some were doing. For the most part this is a fun costume party. As there were some straight forward performances these were most appreciated mixed in with the wonderful silliness that was also going on the floor.

One of the Small teams consisted of two ladies dressed hip-hop style and they called themselves "Go Sister". I remembered their name as they were doing some great stuff. They did Kung Fu Fighting (Alan Clarke) and Alane (Helen O'Malley) in their routine and made all of us take a look at those fun dances.

Other highlights were "Bad Girls". This team of about 7 or 8 were dressed in everything but the kitchen sink. The head dancer stayed out front and the others were behind her. As they faced the audience the back row would be doing outlandish things behind the leaders back. As they turned, all went back to normal. About 3/4 the way through, the leader started doing the same thing as they turned around and she was behind the back row. Very well done.

I guess I got blown away the most by 4 guys from the island of Vancouver. These 4 brave men put on a show that would scare the most brave. These portly gentlemen (term used loosely) proceeded to take of their shirts (I could see the pants were pull away but the shirts totally surprised me). It was actually shocking. Not in the sense of lude or rude, just that these guys had the nerve. As they pulled their pants away they were wearing smiley shorts with big faces on the front or back. Hey, you had to be there!!!!!!

In great contrast there was a group of young kids (I would think from 9 to 16) do a wonderful routine with teddy bears and such. It was done to Shania's song "Honey I'm Home". Those kids were very funny and cute. There were a number of other teams all of which worked very hard and gave the audience a lot of entertainment.

I gave the duo competition a try for the first time with Michele Burton and we really had a ball. This was totally new territory for me. It is so eye opening to do another area of dance/competition and learn something new. I have been a free spirit out on the dance floor ever since I started dancing, but to get together with some one, or many, and work out the execution in unison and to match style is a big challenge. My hat goes off to all who can perform this way and do it well. I hope to do more duo performances.

There was one more division which was interpretive in nature. There were three who participated and gave three very different performances. All were country in style and music. One of the dancers was Grant Gadbois. He has been in our parts a few times and is a world champion line dance competitor. He is, with complete respect to the others, the most entertaining dancer around. He really performs magic on the floor. As for the spirit of the other dancers they actually showed what people like Bill and Grant and their colleagues have done to inspire others to dance. Congratulations to all.

The dancers up in the Vancouver area have been exposed to our dances a lot. The connection with Bill Bader and his wonderful colleagues have embraced our dances as we have theirs. What this does for our dancers going up there is it puts them on the floor most if not for the entire evening. Linda Taylor and Al Serfas are two of the teachers in the area and were MC and DJ respectively. With there knowledge of dances they split the floor with great creativity and had the majority of dancers on the floor at all times. This collaboration works and promotes line dancing which keeps everyone happy. Well done!!!!!!!!


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