“You would enjoy this workshop”, I asserted, so a group of dancers trusted me and on September 19th we headed down the highway from Toronto to Cheektowaga in New York State, just over the border. It was an easy ride, and even the Customs Official wished us ‘Happy Dancing!”
So where were we going? We were heading to the annual Fall-In-Step Line Dance Workshop organized by Lorraine Hapeman and Pat Jankowiak. Joanne Brady is usually the headliner of this event and this year John Robinson was teaching with her. However she was invited to teach at a very special event in BC so I was asked if I would mind coming along to help John keep the dancers happy! I was delighted. I had taught with Joanne here in 2005 and had a terrific time.
Everything is so convenient. We stayed at the Milennium Hotel literally right beside the enormous Galleria Mall. You can shop ‘til you drop here. My dancers were absolutely thrilled to find a ‘Steve & Barry’ where everything, including down jackets, was $8.98!! The car trunk was packed full! The hotel is comfortable, has a good restaurant and beautiful swimming pool. It is also just a couple of minutes down the road from the Hall.
The numbers have been steadily increasing and this year 100 dancers registered for the event which is Lorraine and Pat’s maximum number. They were in a different hall this time around which was more spacious and comfortable. We entered for the Friday night dance to be greeted by warm smiles and colourful tables with flowers on each one. Snacks were laid out for us with dips, meatballs, those little round sandwiches, in fact all kinds of tasty goodies. Free pop, plus beer and wine, what more could you want? Lorraine and Pat are generous hosts indeed. There was a 50/50, a raffle with excellent prizes, and door prizes that everyone wanted! Lynn Warden from Ontario was our DJ and did her usual excellent job of keeping everyone happy.
Saturday morning we entered to find a continental breakfast laid out for us with coffee/tea, yogurts, bagels, cream cheese, muffins and orange slices – we were spoilt rotten! John started the teaching at 9:30. There were quite a few beginner dancers here which was great to see and he made sure they had fun and were comfortable on the dance floor before tackling a few more challenging dances. Local instructors, Connie Glasier from Fredonia and Bob Chalfant from Rochester were also very patient and capable with their instruction and the dancers enjoyed them. There was a second room and in the morning Lorraine taught some partner dancing and after lunch Connie took the beginners under her wing to make sure they were kept happy. I also took to the floor with a mix of beginner and above dances.
Lorraine and Pat think of everything and most people pre-ordered their lunch which was served in the hall. I had the chicken Caesar which was very tasty and I heard people lick their lips over the roast beef sandwich!
The evening dance brought more of the same with the snacks replenished and the dance floor active and lively. A slight break with an easy circle dance I taught and a kind of pat-a-cake (is that how you spell it?!) contra dance taught by John, or at least we were trying to follow what he was telling us as he raced around the room! There was also a very seriously contested dance-off between two professional teams – do check the photos!
Sunday morning brought more new dances plus review. The hard core dancers still didn’t want to leave as Lorraine and Pat packed up around them! Altogether a most successful event. John is one of the most entertaining instructors I know and his energy never seems to flag. It is no fluke that he has won the Vegas Dancers Choice Awards for Personality and Male Instructor so many times. In addition, he is thoughtful and has a kind word for everybody and the dancers appreciate that.
I really enjoyed Connie Glasier’s instruction. She is clear, precise, easy to follow and has a dry sense of humour. It was most apparent that her students are very fond of her. Bob Chalfant is an energetic, fun loving instructor who obviously loves to dance and that sense of enthusiasm communicates itself to the dancers. Definitely there are excellent instructors in NY State and its fun to be taught by them.
This was an event at which all levels of dancers would feel comfortable. There was a wide range of dances taught at all levels and to a variety of music. The dancers themselves were a very friendly inclusive group and there were smiles everywhere. All the dancers were up on the floor for the beginner dances so the newer dancers were able to get that wonderful feeling of being part of the whole which is what line dancing is all about. Lorraine and Pat could not have done more to make their guests feel welcomed. I would certainly recommend that you book early for next year, the weekend of September 18-20, as Joanne will be back and John will be teaching with her. I have a feeling that the event, with this duo, will fill up quickly and you won’t want to miss this one!
’89 BY William Brown
Alabao by Anrew Palmer & Simon Cox
All Alone by Andrew Palmer, Simon & Sheila Cox
Paralyzer by Bob Chalfant
Sharply Dressed by Bob Chalfant
Little Red Book by Dee Musk
Love Song by Rafel Corbi
Oklahoma Wind by Gaye Teather
Trashed by Rafel Corbi
Turn Me Loose by Simon Ward
You Drive Me Crazy by Junior Willis & Joanne Brady
A Little Close For Comfort by Dee Musk
Forever Dancefloor by Vivienne Scott, Andrew, Simon & Sheila
Good Times Roll Around by Vivienne Scott
Oh Suzanna by Bill Larson & Chris Watson
Pirate On The Run by Vivienne Scott & Kim Ray
Small Stuff by Vivienne Scott & Fred Buckley