Fall is a bitter sweet season. Along with the brilliantly coloured foliage, bright blue skies and temperate, refreshing weather comes the rather bitter realization (at least for me!) that winter isn't too far behind!! However, most definitely the main saving grace is the "sweet" knowledge that Fall brings with it the Fall Fair Line Dance Extravaganza in Orillia. And so it was with light hearts that we headed up Highway 400 to dance with Dan Morrison and his friends.
The Moose Lodge was filling rapidly with dancers and the air was full of happy chatter and laughter as the latest news was exchanged. Some of the dancers drove for hours to come to the event from as far away as Sudbury and Niagara Falls and there were over 100 dancers excited to meet and greet fellow dancers they don't very often have an opportunity to see. Dan and his volunteers create a very relaxed, informal atmosphere which made the event feel more like a family gathering. But, of course, once everyone was up to date with the latest news it was time to hit the dance floor. As he always does, Dan tried to ensure that everyone got an opportunity to dance and he honoured as many requests as he could until it was time for us to nip across the parking lot to the Econo Lodge and collapse onto our beds.
Cups of coffee in hand, at 9 a.m. dancers were back on the dance floor for an entertaining session with Leah DePlanke who even cheered up those anti-morning dancers! My favourite dance that Leah taught was one that she had only just finished writing called "Let It Roll, Let It Ride' it's an easy beginners' dance that the more advanced dancers enjoyed as well. Next up was Marilynne Delurey from Brampton who got some funky moves going with 'Again!' by John Robinson. Then it was time for the popular Gerard Murphy who had flown in from Nova Scotia for the event. Gerard's dance 'The Way' was a floor filler over the weekend and dancers were eager to learn his newest creations. 'Crabbuckit' went over very well despite its rather unusual name!! 'Let It Roll' took some concentration but there were obviously some tenors in the crowd! As well as a witty and entertaining instructor, Gerard is always a pleasure to watch on the dance floor. However, we were in stitches as music was put on for some of Gerard's older dances and he attempted to remember the steps!! 'Now ... just exactly how does this dance go? .... After all, I'm only the choreographer'!!
Then it was time for Dan to take over the microphone. For me, one of the great pleasures of this event is watching Dan dance. Every year I hope some of his styling will rub off on me but so far no luck! I guess I'll just have to keep trying!! We had the pleasure of learning a graceful, smooth new dance of his called 'My Sister'. I also have to put in a word for a dance I saw on the floor by Dan called 'Powerless' to a song by Nelly Furtado of the same name. It was an easy dance to pick up on the floor that just flowed to the music. Over the weekend, I also thoroughly enjoyed walking down memory lane and having the opportunity to dance many of my favourite 'Dan' dances from over the years. Unfortunately Ben was unable to be at the event because of work responsibilities but his presence was felt when Dan taught Ben's dance 'A Country Boy'.
Val Keller was up next and you couldn't fall asleep with Val at the helm! I am amazed she still had energy left after 'Dancing for Miracles' at the Beach which this year raised $8000. But she did and we learnt 'Turbo Twang' by Jamie Marshall in an atmosphere of merriment! Val also taught 'Urban Grace' by MIL. I'd heard a lot about this dance and had wanted to learn it. There were a few tricky steps but it was worth it; it was really lovely. Deb Wilcox from Newmarket got us soft shoe shuffling with 'Now and Then' choreographed by Jill Baker. I must say though, despite Deb's excellent instruction, they wouldn't hire me for one of those Broadway musicals; my feet just didn't take to that soft shoe bit although I was most impressed by the dancers around me!! We also did some sing-along with Deb's own dance 'What a Night'. Rose Grant did an excellent job as DJ keeping us and the instructors on track and laughing at the same time!
Lots of exercise makes for hungry dancers and although the volunteers had kindly placed baskets of fruit on each table and snacks and drinks were only 50 cents, by supper time we were hungry. Thoughtfully the organizers had arranged for a table to be set aside for us at Kelseys nearby. It was a good opportunity to relax and do some more catching up with the news with fellow dancers. But a line dancer can't sit down for too long and we were soon back at the Lodge and on the dance floor until midnight. There was one break as we celebrated Mrs. Betty Keller's birthday. To learn a little about this wonderful lady do read my review on 'Dancing for Miracles'.
Sunday morning brought a mix of review and a few new dances until it was time for dancers to head home footsore but happy! Many, many thanks to Dan and Ben and their valued helpers Rose Anne Steedman and Caroline Vardy, also Ev Pratt and Lorraine Farwell who helped with the set-up. There's a lot of behind the scenes work needed to put on an event like this and it showed in how smoothly it ran. So next year, don't spend any time worrying about the fact that Winter follows Fall, just remember that Fall brings the Orillia Fall Fair Line Dance Extravaganza with it!!!