‘But in actual fact how different can it be from other events?” asked my friend. I pondered this question and suddenly a flash of lightning “It’s like a cruise on land”, I exclaimed, ‘You don’t need to go anywhere else, it has everything you might need”. And indeed the Tim Gills Line Dance Weekend has it all!
For a start it is in a beautiful spot in the heart of the Catskill Mountains. The Resort is tucked away, peaceful and isolated from any urban sound. It overlooks a lake, golf course and the mountains. A short walk takes you to an impressive waterfall and spring is the perfect time in this spot to feel nature coming to life around us.
From the moment you walk in the door you are looked after! Nothing is too much trouble with Tim Gillis and Rosie Multari in charge. I also heard very positive comments about the Resort staff who were quick to attend to any little problem that might occur. You have a choice of style and cost of rooms and all were comfortable.
The event started with a ‘bonus’ night. We were served a delicious buffet meal in the Dining Room followed by six bonus dance lessons with Rosie, Lynne Martino, Johanna Barnes, Rachael McEnaney, Rona Kaye, and me bringing up the rear at gone 11 p.m. Many thanks to those dancers who stayed to learn ‘Quanto Amore’ and even remembered it on the Saturday night ('cockles & mussels' and all!) Those who would rather just dance had that option in the Nightclub with Bronco as DJ. There were four extra lessons on the Friday morning before the weekend guests started pouring in.
The highlight of the Friday afternoon was the ‘Welcome Party’ with an open bar and lots of appetizers including a huge container of jumbo shrimp!! If you weren’t into the eatin’ and drinkin’ open dance was also offered. Classes started at 4 p.m. There are usually six classes ongoing. One room is designated ‘couples’ and another ‘Beginner’. All dances are taught twice so if you have trouble making choices you don’t have to worry as you’ll get a second chance at a dance!!
There are no classes during the breakfast, lunch and dinner breaks which are great times to socialize with your friends and make new ones. That said there is large dance floor in the Dining Room and music is played the whole time. If you don’t mind taking the risk of getting indigestion (and many didn’t!) you can jump up and down between courses and dance to your heart’s content! Breakfast is buffet but your other meals are from a menu with plenty of choice. If you particularly like a main course, you can order a second!! After all you’re going to be dancin’ it all off!! I think the meal breaks with the gathering in the Dining Room is one of the reasons for the exceptionally friendly feel of this event. You get an opportunity to really get to know one another, share a lot of laughs, and feel like you’re part of the whole.
There is a dedicated teaching staff that appeared to have as much fun as the guests. From the local area first.... Despite her onerous workload Rosie never seemed stressed and managed to teach as well as keep us all organized; Lynne Martino is the nicest person with a great sense of humour and she is an excellent instructor; Lynne Flanders focussed mainly on the beginners and has a gentle, kind way about her so no-one could be intimidated; Rona Kaye tackled some more advanced dances with skill and wit; and lively Johanna Barnes brought technique tips to her teaching. From further afield, Rachael McEnaney is a great favourite with the dancers here. We all know about her superb choreography but she is also an excellent instructor (with some teaching quirks which I will refer to later on!) and very approachable. John Robinson is an asset to any event and his classes were full with smiling dancers. Peter Metelnick flew over the pond and taught to packed classes, he has a fan club here for sure! Scott Blevins also had full classes and aside from teaching his latest dances took dancers down memory lane with one of my all-time favourites ‘Have Fun Go Mad’. Many many thanks to everyone who came to my classes, you are a terrific group and always make me feel so welcome. I was so happy to be back after a two year hiatus.
Meanwhile the partner dancing was in full swing with a committed staff of Mike Quigley and Donna Shea, Dave Kim and Susan Zubriski, Mal and Linda Zerden and Mike and Dodie Serben. Some of the partner instructors wore two hats, and Mike, Donna and Dave all took a turn behind the controls of the DJ booth. Including Bronco in the Nightclub, all the DJs did an excellent job, no-one could complain that they didn’t have an opportunity to dance.... there were three dance floors going in the evening and when those rooms closed everyone headed off to the Bar with Dominic in charge for karaoke and more dancing!
Another different aspect to this event is the opportunity to dance to a live band, in this case the Tim Gillis Band. It took me back to those days when we would desperately look at each to see who could come up with a dance we could do to a particular song. That’s what we did Saturday night ... there would be some smart clever clogs who would work it out and start a dance and everyone else would fall into line! I did dances I haven’t done forever and it was great fun.
But let me also add other distinctions – late night swim parties, ice cream sundaes and bagels; you wouldn’t starve at this event! Add in the show and what a hilarious show it was this year!! It was a bit like ‘Fawlty Towers’ one hand doing one thing while the other was doin’ something else! And poor Rachael had no idea what was going on! Little did she know that the focus was on her! I was part of the show so didn’t get to see it all but my husband Michael told me that one of the highlights was Rachael’s interpretation of being spun by a tornado from one side of the dance floor to another. Rachael did know this was on the agenda but what she didn’t know was that she was going to be introduced to the ‘American’ way! First a famous Hillbilly band dressed in their finery for the occasion invited her to ‘Y’all Come to Visit’. Laurel and Hardy were present (in the form of Mike & Dodie), Mal and Linda took it up a notch with a beautiful dance performance and then joined the other couples for a fabulous ‘Wheel’ east coast dance routine choreographed by Mike Quigley. Hopefully this will be taught as I’m sure other couples would like to try this one out. Then Rosie introduced us to Rachael’s intellectual style of instruction; after a few vrooooms, shaking water out of ears, parading around a Gucci bag and other similar scholarly and refined teaching methods were demonstrated, we were definitely the wiser!! Poor Rachael, she was in stitches!!
Next up was the world famous Russian coach of a world famous synchronized swim team in the person of 7 year old Jennifer Serben who is the cutest little girl and also as cool as cucumber as a performer. She was the perfect foil for Rosie’s interview technique of speaking slowly while at the same time shouting as loud as possible so that a non-English speaker would understand. To our slight consternation the Russian speaker responded in Spanish and seemed to know only one word ‘Si”!
On came the team in all their glory, that is swimming trunks, singlet, goggles and hairnets. This had to be one of the funniest skits ever performed at any event!! The laughter did not stop. That said, the performers were extremely serious. After all they were there to perform all the classic moves, the ‘boost’, the ‘cadence action’, the ‘combined spin’, the ‘ballet leg double’ and the grand finale of the ‘lift’. What could be more impressive! Particularly when at one point all the legs seemed to be moving of their own accord above the water’s edge and one pair of shorts left its owner and ended up on the pool deck! This performance is the cutting edge and will no doubt be heading to a swimming pool your way soon, not to be missed!!
It was time for Rachael to take to the floor again as originally planned with young Jennifer ,who is definitely destined for great things in our line dance world. They were joined by the staff for a Mama Mia routine followed by a ‘Hello Rachael’ finale. What an evening, Rosie did a superb job of putting this together and the staff who had very little time to rehearse did a great job of disguising that fact. It was also a touching and emotional tribute to Rachael, an opportunity for everyone to show how much they appreciate her talents and love her as a person.
Recapping, this was an extremely successful event. The only downside is that the resort is becoming very popular and is booked through until Thanksgiving. There were two other events going on at the same time and it was through Tim’s diplomatic ongoing negotiations that there was very little intrusion upon us from the other events. However, Tim and Rosie were unable to get as much dance space as they would have liked as the space is allotted according to the number of rooms booked. So they were encouraging dancers to book as early as possible for the November event and the same will also be true for next April. As it is, after such a successful event I am sure word will spread. I know the first-timers from Ontario are already planning their trip down next April and are spreading the word. Once you are a part of the Tim Gillis family you want to remain at its heart, so come join the gang, you won’t regret it.
PS If you have a non-line dancing partner who likes golf, it's just $10 for a round including cart and Tim is always on the look-out for golfers!! My husband Michael got in two rounds.
DANCES TAUGHT (Choreographed by Instructor unless otherwise noted)
I am not absolutely sure of the choreographers so do let me know if I've made a mistake so I can make the correction.
Jungle Freak (Int - Classic) Pedro Machado & Bill Lorah
All You Need Is Me (Int)
Behind The Glass (Int/Adv) Debbie McLaughlin
Hurt Me So (Int)
Naughty Baby (Int)
Smack Dab (Int) Tajali Hall
Have Fun God Mad (Int)
Crazy Ride (Int) Matt Thomson
Creepin' (Beg) Gail Smith
You're Groovin' (Beg) Norma Jean Fuller
This Old Boy (Beg) Kathy Hunyadi
Banjo ( Beg) M. Clements Thorpe
Without Fire (Int), Karl Harry Winson
Like Water (Int) Michele Perron
Let Me Love You (Int) Masters in Line
Boardwalk Rodeo (Beg) Patti Nivens & Lindy Bowers
Holler On Babe (Beg)
What the World Needs Now (Int)
Alkeehall (Int) Paul McAdam
Walking Away (Easy Int)
Amazing Grace (Easy Int)
Had A Bad Day ( Int/Adv)
This Ole Boy (Int) One of my favourites of the weekend.
Flying Without Wings (Int)
Dance With me Tonight (Int)
Rockaway (Easy Int)
Mister Boogie (Easy Int)
Where I belong (Beg) Maggie Gallagher
We Have to Dance (Beg+) Rosie Multari & Lynne Martino
Love Repeats (Beg) Michele Burton
EZ Body Rock (Beg)
Love's Kiss (Easy Int)
Slipaway Cha (Easy Int)
Unmistakable (Easy Int) Darren Bailey
No Superman (Int) Darren "Daz" Bailey, Daniel Trepat & Leif Henrik Gronvold
Make an Appearance (Int) Michele Perron
Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Beg+) Dee Musk
London Rhythm Swings (Beg) Audri R.
Farm Yard Dance (Beg) Lindy Bowers
Work In Progress (Beg) Arline Winerman & Lindy Bowers