I have always had a soft spot for the Loretto Inn, about an hour's drive north of Toronto surrounded by lush green farmland. Years ago when I was a virtually unknown choreographer I was invited to bring one of my dances to the one day events they used to hold. What an honour and what excitement but also what terror!!! I was indeed panicked especially as at that point I wasn't even sure how move my feet while teaching let alone count the dances! On the day I managed to get through teaching the dance without the count, the music was put on, and then to my horror a tiny voice from the back asked if I would count it through. It was the stuff of nightmares! Anyway, thankfully the Loretto dancers are very forgiving and I was thrilled to be asked to teach again this June at a new event, a 'One Day "Fun" Workshop' organized by Deanna Allen and Cathy Montgomery.
Deanna's family owns the Loretto Inn and she has carried on the Inn's line dancing tradition. She teaches Tuesday and Thursday evenings, both beginner and intermediate, while Croc (Robert) and Hope Young teach beginners and couples on Mondays. Saturday evenings everyone shares the floor. A busy young woman, Deanna has two small children ages 5 and 2. As well as teaching line dancing she teaches scrap booking for which she has a real passion. She is an excellent instructor and a delightful person, with a ready smile and the ability to giggle at herself! Deanna acted as DJ and also MC for the event and had taken the time to research some background on all the instructors and come up with stuff that even they didn't realize! As well as some very ego boosting kind words. A potential writer for sure.
Deanna and Cathy started working together with monthly dances. These have been so successful that they decided to take a chance on bringing everyone together for a full day of fun. Cathy is a very experienced and well known instructor and also choreographer with many of her own dances on our dancefloors and, as well, she is the good or bad half (you take your pick!) of Double Trouble! The duo's dance 'Jailhouse Creole' won Beginner Dance of the Year at the Vegas Dance Explosion and is danced all over the world. Cathy personally greeted all the dancers at the event and the two made their guests feel warmly welcomed.
We had a clearly set-out teaching schedule with time set aside for lunch and then a dinner period. Deanna started the day rolling with a lively beginner polka, 'No Alcohol' by Forty Arroyo. We then tackled the more challenging 'I Spy' by Paul McAdam, a popular choreographer here at the Inn. I took over with 'Do That Again?' and 'Play The Song'. Thanks to everyone for their patience with me. Always a pleasure to see smiling faces when you teach.
Lunchtime brought tasty hamburgers, potato and pasta salad and all the toppings you could wish for. Deanna and Cathy came around with a special treat for dessert .... marshmallows covered in chocolate on a stick - sinfully delicious! For sure we had to get movin' in the afternoon! Cathy started with 'Rock and Roll Queen' by Rafel Corbi, nice and easy with toe tapping music. There was excitement in the air for the next dance, word had obviously got around. It was a new dance just written by Double Trouble to a track from Johnny Reid's latest Album. 'Moonlight Madness' to 'A Moon To Remember' took a little practice and concentration but flowed like molasses when dancers could relax and enjoy the song and the rhythm. Johnny's latest album produced another dance by Double Trouble that we had fun learning, 'It's a Glorious Night'.
One of the Ontario line dance originals in many ways (!) and a favourite with all, Croc took over the microphone next and treated us to the pretty waltz 'Downpour' by Paul McAdam, that is, in between laughter! I don't think I've ever seen anyone take quite such long steps as Croc does! We also got the nice and easy 'Boys Will Be Boys' by Gaye Teather from the UK. It was Hope's turn and we had some smiles while we were treated to 'Hold My Beer ... While I Kiss Your Girlfriend' by Kevin Winn. Hope always looks absolutely terrific in her western gear.
Next up was the other half of Double Trouble, Kathy K. A favourite wherever she goes, Kathy is a fun-loving instructor and a talented choreographer. She started off with a lively Double Trouble creation, 'A Work In Progress' to 'Keep Working On Me', another excellent track from Johnny' Reid's latest album followed by 'Asi, Si, Si, Si' by French Canadian Michel Cabana. Good track and I really liked the paddle turns although they were pretty quick! To finish the afternoon we had Dan Morrison from Orillia. Dan is a very well known choreographer and a wonderful dancer. You often see the floor clear as people stand off to the side to enjoy watching him dance. I heard a few very positive mumblings about the new dance he was going to teach, 'The Climb', and it didn't disappoint. Lovely dance to a song of the same name by Miley Cyrus. He then did an excellent job of teaching 'J Ho', the intermediate/advanced dance by Maggie Gallager, to "Jai Ho" by The Pussycat Dolls.
So ended the instruction for the day. Review of the morning's dances was scheduled right after lunch and the afternoon dances were reviewed right after the dinner period, at which time all the dances were played straight through. No excuses for forgetting these dances!! Everyone was ready for a break and the dinner was excellent. Large portions of chicken, nicely done, baked potatoes, salads and, again, all sorts of toppings. Brownie Bars and cream for dessert with tea and coffee. I should add that the bar drinks were very reasonable and the young staff were excellent, enthusiastic, smiling and helpful.
New faces appeared in the evening bringing fresh energy with them. The dancefloor featured a good mix of old and new, country and non, line and partner and Deanna popped in a nice easy beginner, 'Marry For Money' by Dixie Lyn. Altogether an excellent day. It's nice to have an event in a venue with character. There was plenty of room for the dancers, the air conditioning worked well and the floor, although not wood, was good to dance on. It was well organized, run by friendly and welcoming hosts. The response was so enthusiastic that Deanna and Cathy promised they will run it again next year around the same time so don't forget to keep an eye out for the flyer. I have a feeling the event will fill up pretty quickly in 2010. You don't want to be caught in the position where you're told "There's no room at the Inn"!!!!