“We’ve sure been lucky with the weather each year”, one of our volunteers remarked. And even though the event was held later this year, November 1 to be precise, the weather was still mild and the sun shining. It certainly makes a difference particularly when you have dancers driving quite a distance from Toronto to be part of the action.
This year there was a major change in that there was a seating plan prepared at the door; I had organized all the table seating beforehand. As a result dancers didn’t feel they had to rush to get there earlier to get a seat and the check-in was much more relaxed and stress free. It is always a pleasure to see smiling faces coming through the front door and down the stairs and this, the 6th year for LTGTR, was no exception.
When Fred, Eddie and I decided to organize this workshop in the first place, we wanted it to be one at which all levels of dancers would feel comfortable. We saw it being non-intimidating and one that would allow newer dancers to participate and gain confidence on the same dance floor as more experienced dancers. Looking around us at the mix of faces this year we felt that we had achieved our goal. There was a full mix of all age groups and dancers of all levels of experience and confidence. And they were all ready to have FUN!!
The workshop started promptly at 12 noon with Jaci Gecelter taking to the floor. Last year Jaci won one of the ‘Regional Instructor’ Awards at the Vegas Dance Explosion and her teaching is confident and clear. It is also obvious how much she loves to dance. She started with a nice easy dance ‘Jenny Lee’ by Frank Trace and then taught a funky new improver dance of her own ‘Give Me The Music’ to a song of the same name by Canadian Idol Winner, Eva Avila. Both went down well with the dancers. Next up was Zandra McCallum from Dundas. Zandra is a well known popular Ontario Instructor who always chooses good dances to teach. She started with the UK’s Robbie McGowan Hickie’s ‘Simbolo’, the first teach of this dance in Canada. Definitely a success with the crowd. Followed by ‘Tango Cha’ by Jo Thompson-Szymanski and Deborah Szekely. This dance had trickier footwork but Zandra did an excellent job and even the newer dancers persisted and rose to the challenge.
It was Fred and my turn to present our Event Dance. It has become a tradition for us to write a dance for the event, starting with ‘Good Times’ in 04, ‘Soft & Slow’ in 05, ‘On My Mind’ in 06, and ‘Cool’ in 07. This year we had something different ‘Deep In The Jungle’ by DJ Bobo to a song of the same name. Luckily Margo had some bananas handy for any monkeys we might happen upon! The dancers looked great with their funky shoulder lifts and caught on very quickly. I then went on to teach a new dance, ‘For Love’, which I had written to ‘What I Did For Love’ by talented Canadian country singer Johnny Reid – one of my favourite songs at the moment. Then a nice easy quick teach of ‘Dance With Me’ by Daisy Simmons from Belgium. Fred took to the floor with ‘Little Red Book’ by Dee Musk, well liked by the dancers, and a new dance he had written with Laura K. with some interesting steps, called ‘Caught My Eye’. There is always laughter and merriment with Fred in charge, you can’t help but have fun when he teaches.
I should note here that in between instruction there was plenty of opportunity for open dancing. In addition, we had a new twist. Instead of a raffle we had an auction; the idea taken from the splendid penny auction at ‘Dancing For Miracles’ in Wasaga. During the year dancers kindly donated all kinds of things which we passed along to dancer Dale McNeil. Dale packaged these items into wonderfully creative gift baskets, 19 in total. We set them out in the second room and dancers popped their tickets into the containers in front of the gift they hoped to win. The draw took place after dinner. It was most successful with $630 raised for the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children. There were also door prizes to win and a 50/50, organized by Eddie in her usual calm and capable manner, which raised $434 with $217 taken home by Annette Skaff from Whitby and the other $217 going towards The Havenwood Public School Nutrition Program, The Compass Food Bank and The Lakeshore Community Outreach Centre.
But there was still a traditional favourite, The Blast From the Past, with a surprise guest instructor. This year popular Cathy Montgomery of ‘Double Trouble’ ably took us through ‘Rolling Home’ which was thoroughly enjoyed by those who remembered it and also by those to whom it was new. I should add here that Fred and I recently wrote a dance with Double Trouble to ‘You Can’t Cry Your Way Out Of This’ by talented Canadian Country Artist, Sean Hogan. We’ve called the dance ‘Cry Baby’ and we demoed it during the workshop.
After an energetic afternoon, dancers were ready to relax a little and enjoy the meal prepared for them by the Church members. We followed it with a presentation to the Instructors and then it was time to get that energy moving again. Fred did an excellent job as DJ ensuring that everyone got their moment on the dance floor. Eddie, as usual, took over the controls when Fred just had to get on the dancefloor!! All too soon it was time to pack up and go home. Many thanks to everyone who came, to those people who stayed behind to help us move the furniture and pack up, and, in particular, to our friends who have consistently helped with the setting up and taking down. We couldn’t do it without you.
We’re looking to seeing many of you at the April 4 event with Andrew & Sheila and Lizzie Clarke. If you can’t make it to that event, we hope you’ll join us again for LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL … 09.
CAUGHT MY EYE by Fred Buckley & Laura K.
DANCE WITH ME by Daisy Simmons
DEEP IN THE JUNGLE by Vivienne Scott & Fred Buckley
FOR LOVE by Vivienne Scott
GIVE ME THE MUSIC by Jaci Gecelter
JENNY LEE by Frank Trace
LITTLE RED BOOK by Dee Musk
SIMBOLO by Robbie McGowan Hickie
TANGO CHA by Jo Thompson-Szymanski and Deborah Szekely
CRY BABY by Double Trouble, Fred Buckley & Vivienne Scott