“Pike’s Peak Line Dance or Bust” in Colorado Springs has to be one of friendliest events around. Event Directors A.J. and Scott Herbert have to be doing something right because they have one of the largest group of volunteers I’ve encountered and they are totally dedicated to making the weekend a success. But once you meet A.J. and Scott you understand. What a lovely, genuine and caring couple. A.J. is the outgoing one and is full of enthusiasm for their event never stopping moving in her efforts to make sure every participant is having a great time. Plus, she can be absolutely hilarious! Scott is the quiet one who with a smile moves quickly to fix any problems that arise or anything that needs to be done but always has a moment to have a chat. Mind you I say Scott is the quiet one but I bet you didn’t know that he is a sky diver who over the years has broken nearly every bone in his body parachuting!!
This was the 15th year for the event which evolved out of the couple teaching at the Copperhead Road Saloon. Jo Thompson Szymanski (who lives not far away in Denver) and John Robinson were there at the beginning. Jill Babinec has been the regular DJ for quite a while now and this year Joanne Brady and Scott Blevins returned to teach as did I for my 3rd year.
We start the fun at the Saloon which is an amazing place. The Bar allows A.J. to give line dance lessons from 6-9 every Thursday and free of charge. Do come on the Thursday so you can join in as well. The event starts Friday afternoon with classes going all the way through until Sunday at 4 p.m. There are two rooms, one for intermediate dances and the other for beginner/beg+. The instructors taught in both rooms and there was something for everyone, both music and dance style.
Of course, Jo’s room was always full. It is amazing when you see Jo now to imagine what a hard road she had to travel not too long ago. She looks fantastic and her dancing is as fluid and graceful as always. The expression “beautiful both inside and out” definitely applies to Jo; she is such a gracious and kind individual who always had time to talk to the dancers.
John was as wild and entertaining as ever! As well as, of course, being an excellent instructor and choosing fun dances for the students to learn. I don’t think John ever stops and he definitely keeps the energy level high at the evening dances. I reckon it was the extra scoop of ice cream at the Saturday Ice Cream Social (included as part of your package) that did it and he must have had extra sugar in his coffee on the Friday evening!!!
Joanne is a favourite with the dancers here. She is a very kind individual who genuinely cares about the students but at the same time her droll sense of humour keeps them laughing. Joanne teaches all levels of dance but her heart is in ensuring that the beginner dancers never get lost or intimidated on the dance floor and she has a wonderful knack of making them feel like pros!
As expected Scott Blevins had a solid intermediate following here. However Scott was very encouraging and demonstrated a lot of patience with his teaching and was also open to “short cuts” that allowed the lesser experienced dancer to adapt and learn his dances. As a result many of the dancers were willing to try out a “Scott” dance!! They did very well and I am sure gained confidence in their abilities as well.
Jill Babinec has to be one of the best Line Dance DJs in North America. She is alert to the dancers, notes who is dancing and who is not, adapts her dance list accordingly, is flexible, friendly, leads or calls out a dance to get it going and keeps us laughing with her antics. In addition, Jill is a talented choreographer, dancer and instructor. That gal has it all!!!
So that was the line-up for the weekend including me!!! Thanks so much to all the dancers who joined me in my classes, you were such a friendly and fun bunch.
As well as the classes there were lots of extras including lunch on Saturday, numerous door prizes (including complimentary passes for next year’s ‘Pike’s Peak’ and also ‘The Marathon’), and a 50/50 with a dancer going home with over $175. The evening dances included quick walk-throughs of some of the dances taught, the Friday evening was retro and the list of dances requested was sent out ahead of time. Saturday included a delightful performance by Jo Thompson Szymanski and daughter Anna, and a routine by the instructors, then everyone hit the dance floor.
The hotel is excellent with very comfortable modern rooms and every day you are treated to a chocolate chip cookie!! There is a restaurant in the hotel but there is lots of choice for places to eat within walking distance. The area itself is just beautiful, Garden of the Gods has spectacular scenery and it would be well worth adding a few days to your trip to take in the sights. Lots for non-line dancing partners or spouses to do as well. In fact, Pike’s Peak Line Dance of Bust! is a terrific event for everyone.
DANCES TAUGHT (written by Instructor unless otherwise noted)
Psycho (Int) with Mundy
Footprints on the Water (Imp) with Brady
Do Me No Wrong (Int) with Pancoast
Blow Me A Kiss (Beg) with Shatto
Falling Rain (Beg) by Lam
Dead End Road (Int)
Lay It Right (Int)
Dat Walk (Imp) by Litzenburg, Cook
Bo$$ (Int+) with Maag
Wakey Wakey (Imp) with Thompson Szymanski
Fun For All (AB) by Ehmann
Pants On Fire (AB) by Johns-Grose
Down To The Wire (Imp) by Wetzel
I Thank You (Imp) by Perron, Thompson Szymanski
In the Basement (Beg) by Rick Todd
Gin & Tonic (Beg) by McGowan Hickie & Sala
My Lady Soul (Imp) by Winson
Just A Closer Walk (Beg) by Gene
Dear Future Husband (Int) by Wetzel
Creuse Day (Beg) by Schmidt
Never Ever (Beg) by Bass
That’s The Day (Int) by Musk
Alcazar Lite (Beg)
The Blues Is Alright (Beg) by Salerno
Hangover Tonight (Beg) by Bailey
Make Me Wanna (Beg) by Zanorsky
Shake It Off (Beg) by Kwo
Easy Does It (Beg) by Arroyo
Shut Up And Dance (Beg) by Flowers
Cecilia (Beg+) by Brown
Give Me That Title (Beg) by Brown
Moonshine In The Truck (Int) by Morris
Get It On (Int) by Vane & Trepat
We Only Live Once (Int) by McGowan Hickie
Open Hearts (Int) with Buckley, Sala, Vane
Her Memory (Imp)
U Can Do It! (AB)
Text Me Texas (Beg) by Fowler
Don’t Worry Be Happy (Beg) by Heileker
Fireball EZ (Beg) by Thibeault
Love Contract (Imp) with Buckley, Double Trouble
Ticket to the Blues (Beg) by Poulsen
Friends of Ours (Beg) with Buckley
Get Up EZ (Beg) by Sandberg
JO THOMPSON SZYMANSKI (Jo also taught a techniques class)
Meat and Potato Man (AB) by Tripp
Lipstick, Powder and Paint (AB) by Rutter
Summer Wind (Imp)
Until the Dawn (Beg) by Lafferty
Moving Hips (Beg) by Frank Trace
Girl Crush (Int) by McEnaney, Johnston
Let It Be Me (Int) by Glass, Bailey
Tell The World ( Imp) by McGowan Hickie
Homegrown (Imp) by McEnaney