If you attended the Country Hustlers Workshop & Dance in Danville this past weekend...you know It takes at least 100 plus one dozen or so dancers to fill that hall to "sell out" capacity. The dance floor was comfortably crowded but we couldn't have squeezed in another person! The weather was unseasonably cool for the East Bay, the dance hall was never too warm.

The Danville Goes Country event organizers are intermediate dancers themselves...Bob & Darlene Clark attend all the major workshops and "Big Event" Festivals ...they are two very organized, hard working, very "in charge" people. This was the first workshop I ever attended that flowed so precisely ...everything had to have been planned down to the minute, the dance floor never emptied until the dinner break.

All the area restaurants were published in the workshop booklet and were within easy walking distance. The break lasted 90 minutes, enough time for dinner and an ice cream stroll.

The instructor slots were perfectly matched to their teaches ...blended to feel like a roller coaster ride with a big splash at the end.

Ernie Hutchinson opened with his intermediate (132 bpm) America ...the dancer next to me said it was her 4th time to be "exposed" to this dance ...that gave me great confidence. She STILL wanted to know the dance and she already knew it, sort of! The immediate direction change was a challenge for me ...and although the steps themselves are easy ...the constant direction changes throughout the 64 count pattern flowed smoothly enough that I still learned the dance and enjoyed listening to Neil Diamond sing "America". Ernie is a fast, crisp instructor and his dances are not easy for me to learn, especially when the music is at 132 bpm ...if he had been scheduled last or nearly last ...no way would I have been able to absorb this dance.

The Eagles sang "Hotel California" and Carmel Hutchinson demo'd her new dance with the same name. Hotel California is an intermediate 64 count dance ...it uses cha cha basics and has 8 counts of grapevine "challenge" but the boot stutters dissappear when the music plays. I prefer doin' cha cha's to faster music ("Hotel California" is 80 bpm); this dance really came alive for me when her alternate "Walkin' After Midnight" (100 bpm) was played.

Next up ...Charlotte Skeeters ...this turbo, teachin' lady was between Michael Barr and Michele Burton when she demo'd her Be My Guest to the workshop audience. They looked good and very energetic doin' those hop kicks and jump togethers! This 2 wall, 64 count easy intermediate dance was co - authored with Jill Thompson, England. The dance music is "Be My Guest" by the Showband Show.

The premier of Saturday Matinee was next. Evelyn Khinoo uses 32 counts and 144 bpm and a tricky "cowboy heel slide" and puts the steps to Roy Rogers & Ricky Van Shelton singin' together "When Pay Day Rolls Around". Evelyn is a dancer; she creates flowing patterns that appeal to dancers and then picks her music by listening to the instruments, to the different levels of the music. She uses music to interpret her dance creation. It always takes me awhile to get into the "feel" and go into automatic with her choreography ...but it happens everytime. She chooses country; She chooses short "story" tunes.

Michele Burton taught her new two step line dance That's All She Wrote. This is a 2 wall, 64 count fast dance (176 bpm) ..."If The Devil Danced In Empty Pockets" by Joe Diffe. This dance reminds me "style wise" of her I See It Now waltz. Michele premiered her That's All She Wrote 4th of July weekend at Barton Hall in the UK.)

Michael Barr taught to us The New Line Dance Choreography Winner (60+ entries) at the Dance Team Showdown, Ft. Wayne, Indiana March, 1999. The dance is - After Midnight choreographed by Judy McDonald of Ontario, Canada. This is a 2 wall, 32 count easy intermediate dance done to "Walkin' After Midnight" by the GrooveGrass Boyz. This dance looks harder then it is ...I tried to pick it up off the dance floor when I first saw it fill the floor in the Midwest ...the last 8 counts come so fast, but are sooo easy when you hear the count; most of the floor was doing the variations for the first 4 counts which seem hard but are actually easy once you feel the techno beat.

Judy says on the sheet ...get those hips movin'!! ...oh yeah ...how lucky for me that I knew these patterns were in the dance ...otherwise I would have been fanning myself so hard trying to concentrate on Michael's boots ...instead I was delightfully distracted by his hip bumps! (Don't you know...This teach is etched into my memory!!)

MB brought back the original step sheet for us and on it Judy writes about the first 4 counts of her dance ..."try jumping your feet apart while making 1/4 turn left, then jump together facing front, then jump apart while making 1/4 turn right, then jump together facing front" ...Evelyn and Charlotte were the only dancers I saw who figured out this syncopated variation and did it during the dance with MB ...but trust me ...we will catch on!

Neil Hale was our evening DJ and he taught his beginning intermediate 1 wall 48 count (many repeats) waltz, Storybook Endings right before the evening dance. This easy flowing waltz is done to' "Someone Must Feel Like A Fool Tonight" ...the line dancers filled the floor, the couples circled around ... and many of us were singin' right along with Mr. Kenny Rogers!

Highlights of the dance ...

Getting to dance Husbands & Wives next to Carmel and noticin' that she was messing up ...and as I was thinkin' what's up with this? ...she explained that she never did their dance solo before ...lucky for all of us dancin' next to her that Ernie noticed and hopped down from the DJ stand and took her into the sweetheart position ...grins! If you would like the couples version of this dance ...email Carmel.

Seeing the whole dance floor doin' Evelyn Khinoo's new dance If My Friends Could See Me Now and noticing that not one dancer missed the easy little tag! We dancers have come along way since our whinny days of no tags, no variations. We are better educated than we once were about dancing to phrased songs and our thanks goes to our instructors.

Dancing What's Your Name on the crowded dance floor right in front of Michael Barr. I am the dancer who whined the loudest about not gettin' to learn his dance first time it was taught in the States at the Bonanza Bash in May ...No one in the Bay Area learned it from MB (exception...his own classes), all of our instructors taught it before he landed back home ...we all HAD to know it the minute it won 1st place in "The People's Choice Awards" in New Line Dance Choreography at the 1999 Cowichan Goes Country, B.C.

I have attended many line dance workshops in the past 3 years, ...Danville Goes Country was a 10.




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