Who could believe that a year would pass so quickly! But here we were getting ready for another "Let The Good Times Roll ..." workshop. But what a big change this time around!! Although we had a lot of fun in the Church over the last six years, the poor place was beginning to fall apart, fuses, floods, toilet doors falling off their hinges to mention just a few incidents! In addition there was so much lifting and carrying and ours and our friends' bodies aren't getting any younger! We had a long distance to carry all of our "stuff'" to get to the Church entrance then we had steep steps to carry our boxes down and then back up at the end of the day. Once there we had to carry and set out all the furniture before we could even start putting up decorations and reverse all that when the workshop came to an end. So something had to change before we lost all of our mates!
I had been looking for quite a while but we had a lot of requirements. We wanted to stay in the city so that some of the dancers could come by bus and subway; at the same time we wanted parking. We also obviously needed a large wooden floor for dancing but we didn't want to pay an arm and leg as we wanted to keep the price at a reasonable level for our dancers. Then I got an email from Geri telling me of a hall "somewhere downtown" where she had gone for a 'Jack & Jill' and had a great time dancing; she reckoned it might do for a workshop. To cut a long story short (and you know that's very hard for me!) I went to see the Baron Byng Beaches Legion and signed up on the spot and that was BEFORE they refinished the wooden dance floor which was wonderful to dance on by the way!
So let's fast forward to October 24. The Legion people had kindly let us in the evening before to set up so we could start the day without rushing. The Ladies Auxilliary were already hard at work in the kitchen preparing our sit-down dinner and what a friendly group they were. Doors officially opened at 11:30 but dancers don't like to be late and by 10:30 they were filing in! They came from far and near and Fred, Eddie and I are so appreciative, there would be no workshop without you dancers.
As usual we started promptly at 12 noon and this year Laura K. was our first instructor. Laura is an excellent dancer, she used to be on the 'Quick Silver' dance team that won a number of awards at Worlds. She is fairly new to instruction but she has taken to it like a duck to water! We were fortunate to have her. Laura is also a talented choreographer and she started the afternoon with a fun beginner dance of her own ''Get Enough" to Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" followed by "Some Bridges Need Burning" by Paula Baker to a great track of the same name by Keisa Brown.
Next up was a well known Ontario choreographer and instructor, Donna Laurin. Donna's "Little Rhumba" has become a beginners' line dance classic. Donna had returned from a trip to Florida to be at the workshop -- sacrifice indeed and we appreciated it. She first taught us a new dance from Peter & Alison entitled "Crazy Amazing"; we had some trouble with the "ball steps" but once we got those under our belts we could enjoy the music! I am a great fan of Maggie Gallagher so I was delighted to learn a new one of her's 'Love Love Love' and Donna did an excellent job of teaching it.
Fred and I then launched into our traditional Event Dance, this time "Fool In Me" to a song of the same name by Canadian Country singer, George Canyon. I recently interviewed George for an article; he's a very talented musician but at the same time he sure is a lovely man and does a tremendous amount of charitable work. I took the stage next to teach a new beginner dance "Island In The Sun" to "Happy To Be On An Island In The Sun" by Demis Roussos and also 'Sweet Little Things" to a song of the same name by Bad Boys Blue. I wrote this with Andrew & Sheila and they were teaching it in the UK for the first time on the same day. It was then Fred's turn and he taught a fun dance 'Selective Hearing' by Australian choreographer Jan Wyllie to 'She Don't Wanna Hear' by Canadian Johnny Reid.
After a quick one wall run-through by the instructors of the dances taught, to finish up the afternoon we had our Special Guest Instructor for the 'Blast from the Past'. This time around young Jennie Johns took to the stage. Although a youngster, Jennie has been dancing, competing and instructing for a long time. Jennie did a great job with a perfect choice that everyone enjoyed, "Playing it Cool" by Peter Metelnick, thanks Jennie.
A short break and it was time for our dinner and what a treat it was to sit and be served, even Fred and I managed to eat this time around!! We started with a spinach salad (everyone wanted to know what the dressing was) and fresh bread rolls, then roast beef, vegetables and mashed potates (all fresh veggies!) finishing with fruit and ice cream. Thanks to Laurie, the bartender downstairs, dancers were also able to order a glasse of wineto have with their meal (excellent price -- some were encouraged to have two glasses!)
Time then to certify and thank our instructors and to draw for the Gift Baskets. Dale had outdone herself this year with twenty beautiful baskets. I understand that her poor husband had to camp in the garden for a few months as there wasn't enough room in the house for both him and the baskets!! We raised $641 for The Toronto Hospital for Sick Children in the name of Peggy Bryson. The 50/50 raised $184 which will go to the Artscan Circle, a volunteer group which links creative artists with Native youth at risk. All thanks to the generosity of our dancers.
Then it was time for the dancers to take to the floor. I reckon the role of DJ is one of the most difficult, but Fred got everyone movin' and groovin' and did his utmost to ensure that everyone had the opportunity to strut their stuff. Meanwhile Eddie worked hard as always behind the scenes keeping Fred and me on track, we couldn't do it without her. Many thanks also to our friends and volunteers who help us so patiently. All too soon it was time to say "Good Night" and "Thanks so very much for coming". We so appreciate all of you coming and christening our new venue and making it such a fun day for us.
THANKS SO MUCH TO YOU ALL
**I do apolgize, I forgot to include the Step Sheet for 'Some Bridges Need Burning' in the Step Sheet book. Click here for the script and here for the YouTube video of the dance by the choreographer.
**Hopefully we will see many of you next April 10 for our Spring Workshop with Dee Musk and Craig Bennett. I don't want to disappoint anyone but I just want to note that our numbers will be strictly limited as I don't want to overcrowd the hall and registration will be cut off when the number is reached.
**Parking -- There is limited parking behind the Legion. For next Spring, may I ask those of you parking in the lot to squash as close as you can to the car next to you so we can get more cars in? There is also free parking on Coxwell on Saturdays and you can park in the No Frills Parking Lot just north of the Legion. Don't forget to ask one of us to walk you out to your car at the end of the evening if you're on your own, we will be happy to do so.