It all started at a dance event in Bournemouth, England last June. “I’ll put you in with Kim Ray” said Big Dave and the rest is history. After a weekend in Kim’s company when I didn’t stop laughing the whole time I wanted to share the pleasure of the company of this talented individual with my Canadian line dancing friends.
Come the Fall, I contacted her about coming over to do a workshop in Spring 08 telling her about our welcoming and friendly Canadian dancers. I had my fingers crossed that she would say “Yes” and to my delight she did. But with the space that Fred & Eddie Buckley and I had to work with, we needed a second instructor who could keep our dancers happy and entertained. “What about Robert Lindsay”, she said, “He is so much fun” As it happens I had just had some email correspondence with Robert and he sounded like such a nice fellow, so I was soon contacting him about coming over to Canada. It was definitely meant to be as the only date we had available was Robert’s school half term, so another ‘Yes’ and we were all set. The plans were made, the flyers sent out and the registration forms came flying back. The dancers eagerly awaited the great day.
Meanwhile, over the pond, Kim’s husband, Tony, decided to keep Kim company, then his two brothers, Dean and Kim, who work for Air Canada, and their wives, Trish and Sonya, reckoned they would come as well, so it became a family trip. None of them had seen Kim dance before so this was an opportunity to find out what she got up to in her line dance classes and events! At the same time, Robert’s cousin who lives in Edmonton begged him to extend his trip to visit her so those plans were made. It became a whole exciting adventure.
Lots of emails went back and forth and I tentatively voiced the suggestion that maybe we could write a dance together and attached a song that I had just discovered and loved. Within a very short space of time, Robert wrote back attaching 16 counts already written. The others were also very keen on the music and pretty soon we had an international dance. Robert writing
from Scotland, Kim from England, Fred from Canada and I wrote my section while I was in Australia. The step sheet was completed in the middle of March. Our plan was to launch the dance in Canada at the workshop on April 5 which we did. However, the step sheet was released a few weeks earlier and by the time the big day arrived the dance had been published in
Linedancer and a terrific video was put up on YouTube by Sue and Kathy from California and the Line Dance Instructors of the International Line Dance Association of Taipei. Within a week over 3000 people had been in to view the video.
The excitement grew as the big day came closer. Up to the week before they arrived, there was still a fair amount snow on the ground and every morning I would check the level. But the weather warmed up and by the time Kim and her family arrived most of the white stuff had disappeared. They came a couple of days before the event so they could do some sight seeing and visit
Niagara Falls as they had to be back at work the following Tuesday. Robert arrived on the Friday and briefly popped down to see the Workshop Halls which at that point looked very bare. We were beginning the process of transforming very plain old halls into what we hoped would be inviting and colourful dance spaces. It was worth the hard work to hear the laughter and chatter the next day as dancers arrived from all over Ontario, some driving five hours to come to the event; we’ve got dedicated dancers here for sure.
We wanted to ensure that everyone had the same workshop experience so the plan was that Kim and Robert would teach the same dance in both rooms. Each room had its own character. The Tulip Room was smaller and had the stage which made it easier to see the instructor. The Daffodil Room was larger with a higher ceiling so it was a little airier. Both rooms were packed
with eager dancers. We could seat 150 dancers and there was a waiting list. There was a corridor around 15 feet long between the two rooms so Kim and Robert didn’t have to travel too far to the next class. Even the DJs moved, Fred covered two classes in one room, while Eddie and I kept the music going in the second room and then we swapped. Kim taught her beautiful new dance ‘Inside out’ and also ‘Out of Sight’, and ‘Diamonds’, all very well received. To the dancers’ delight Robert launched ‘Never The Same’ at the workshop and also taught ‘Love’s Whisper’ and ‘Starting Over Again’, also thoroughly enjoyed by the dancers. Of course, this was also the launching pad in North America for ‘Our First Love’ and Robert & Fred taught it together while Kim and I had fun teaching together as well.
Supper time came all too quickly. Dancers raced out to local restaurants so they would be back in time for the evening dance. By the time they returned, Fred had connected all the speakers so that the same dance music was heard in both rooms. We had a presentation for Kim and Robert with lots of Canadian souvenirs so they wouldn’t forget us! At this point, Kim and
Robert definitely had a Canadian fan club. Besides the acknowledgement that they were both extremely talented choreographers and excellent instructors, the dancers were impressed by their warmth and friendliness. Plus of course
their sense of humour. ‘Yes Robert’ became the catch phrase of the day along with Kim’s ‘With Me Now’!
Finally, exhausted but happy it was time for the dancers to head home. But for Kim and Robert there was more to come. The next evening we headed out to dance with popular Lewis Lee who is a very well known experienced line dance instructor and professional DJ in the Chinese Community just north of Toronto. Lewis had booked the Century Palace Restaurant for the occasion; the tables had been pulled back around a huge wooden dance floor and 130 dancers awaited us. ‘Firecracker’ and ‘It’s Up To You’ were played as soon as we arrived along with ‘True’. Kim taught ‘The Lemon Tree’ and we were asked to teach ‘Pirate On The Run’ which we gladly did. Then the highlight was our instruction of ‘Our First Love’ when each of us taught our own 16 counts. Robert wondered if this was the first time that four choreographers had written a dance in four different counties and then actually taught it together. It was a pleasure to teach to such receptive and supportive dancers.
The next day Kim was heading back over the pond with her family so Robert and I headed down to Niagara Falls. Robert was very impressed with the Falls and, in particular the fact that some dare devils had walked a high wire tight rope across and others had launched themselves over in barrels! He reckoned he would keep his feet firmly anchored on the dance floor!! There was still a little bit more dancing to do and on our way back to Toronto we popped into local instructor, Tammy Wyatt’s class where eager
dancers waited to meet the famous ‘Firecracker’ creator. Then back to Toronto and Robert was off to Edmonton the next day. The house sure seemed quiet with Robert gone!
It was an honour and privilege to have Kim and Robert here in Canada. We received these comments in emails “They are such talented people but more than that, they were so friendly, they moved from room to room to chat”; “They were always on the floor dancing and they didn’t mind what dance it was”; “If they didn’t know the dance, they followed along and seemed quite
happy when we pointed them in the right direction”, “These two are what line dancing should be all about”. Fred, Eddie and I echoed this last comment. Kim and Robert have, for sure, left us all here across the pond with wonderful line dancin’ memories.