I am writing and dedicating this blog to my dad Peter Clough, who started me off on my journey with Line Dancing back in 2005. He was a great teacher and lots of fun until he was forced to retire from dance teaching when he was diagnosed with MS.
How did this happen? I used to have what i considered ‘normal’ parents at least as far back as I can remember, however lately I have been rather disturbed to find them on a lazy Sunday morning dressed in night wear in the kitchen. This you may think describes just a normal lazy Sunday morning when you pop round for a visit with your parents what is so unusual about that? you may ask.
Normal? How wrong could you be! Because lately I find myself discovering them in situations I can honesty say I am not entirely comfortable with. Not eating breakfast, reading the paper or drinking tea, but actually I have honestly, no word of a lie caught them red handed, doing the ‘fandango’ and by fandango I do mean Line Dancing! The boot scooting, thigh slapping, heel digging kind of Line Dancing that you’ve heard does actually go on in underground clubs as part of the funny handshake, half mast trouser leg secret society club. and to top that off they are demonstrating or more accurately gyrating in pyjamas! in the kitchen! No cowboy boots and stetsons here, but slippers and winceyette nighties.
Oh the embarrassment! “Sit down mother!” I did rather despair, trying to formulate serious conversations whilst witnessing the slipper shuffle. And heaven forbid any sharp moves could lead to accidents in the pyjama department and I think that would leave me traumatized and possibly the prying neighbours too. “Father please sit down before ‘pop goes the weasel’ ”
This progressed for several weeks, and at one point I even caught myself singing along to the CD. When did that happen? I found it was actually becoming ‘the norm’.
Then unexpectedly out of the blue like a smack in the chops, what I was silently dreading but almost convincing myself would never happen, it finally came! The dreaded invitation to come Line Dancing. I mean, I wasn’t really thinking it would happen, at least not today. I wasn’t prepared, they just casually slipped it in over coffee. I was a bit taken aback. I nearly choked on my chocolate digestive. I found myself listening to my mother explaining that not only was my mother and father part of this cult full of gun slingers and denim but now my father was becoming a teacher and wanted me to “join the troops to make up the numbers” in his absolute beginners class.
“Say what now?” “are you serious? you won’t catch me Line Dancing” I remember was my horrified reply .
And yet, a few short days later I found myself, after dark donning new trainers (totally inappropriate I now know) my jeans and denim shirt ready to take my place in one of the rows halfheartedly, awaiting to accept my fate. I am past being able to walk out at this point. I am torn between the love and loyalty to my father and the dreaded 120 minutes that lay await for me. I was standing there in anticipation of taking one step forward and becoming a Line Dancer. I was after all early 30’s and cool, and this would definitely not be mentioned tomorrow at work!
Well I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. I bloody loved it!
“Roaring 20’s Boogie was the dance I remember from this first night. I have found a link to a demonstration of You Tube
and the dance script http://www.learn2dance4fun.com/files/Line%20Dance%20-%201/Roaring%2020s%20Boogie.pdf. Now I can appreciate this dance as a great floor split to Miller Magic (music Swing the mood by Jive Bunny)
It was nothing how I imagined Line Dancing would be. Lets face it the pyjama paso was hardly giving me the correct picture of this new found sport. Where were the lines of cowboys? in their boots and tight jeans? 😦
My first and most lasting memory of this first night was how enjoyable it was. Not only was I perspiring ( being great exercise) my calves were aching (due to lack of any form of previous exercise) I had found it to be such good fun. My dad had brought in the cavalry, the back row, the experienced ladies in their sparkle dance shoes who glided across the floor with ease. They were all friendly and encouraging.
I remember leaving the club and I couldn’t help thinking 7 days was a long time until the next class!!!
My dad was due to take his teaching exams in 6 weeks time and his teacher ran two classes a week so I started attending there too. After a couple of sessions I started thinking maybe I could join in some of the medal tests.
Bottle it up and stroll along cha cha I remember trying to learn at the Saturday morning medal practice sessions.
By the time 6 weeks came around I was taking my Bronze and Silver. 6 weeks after that I was doing Gold and Gold Bars. I remember my mother teaching me ‘Commitment’ ‘Maybe I Could’ and ‘Into the Arena’ in the infamous kitchen. My mother makes me laugh with her tiny size 4 feet shuffling about in slippers. She was the dark horse, she knew all the moves!
Every spare minute I was practicing. I taught myself to read scripts and I even started using my kitchen as a make do dance studio. Shuffling from the cooker to the table etc!
I started dancing February 2005 and by October 2005 I was taking my teaching qualification with UKA (United Kingdom Alliance) and the rest as we can say is history!
I can happily report that now in 2014 I run Line Dance Fusion Blackburn https://www.facebook.com/LINEDANCINGBLACKBURN. A friendly dance club predominantly at Beechwood Club in Blackburn and so called named as we fuse American Line Dancing with other dance styles like street, tango, waltz and we dance not only to traditional but new country and chart music. http://www.freewebs.com/lonestardanceranch/
Here are a couple of videos to demonstrate how Line Dancing has progressed in the short years I have been teaching.
We still dance some of the Golden Oldies like Into the Arena and we are having a Golden Oldies Night on 4th July. We also dance Traditional and New Country .
I am grateful to my father for introducing me to Line Dancing as without him, I wouldn’t have all the friends who are like family, my social networks online, our crazy classes, our Facebook group, our Live Artist nights and exciting futures in Line Dancing.
I would also like to thank my mother who not only taught me the dances but she is the one I go to for advice about anything. She is the fountain of knowledge, and is always willing to help in any way she can.
Kisses and Hugs xx