CLUB REPORTS

WESTERN LINES DANCING WITH LINDA AND BRIAN

(Report for Up Country November 2016)

Having just read the article in the November edition “Just reminiscing” it was a timely prompt for us to drop a line on our views and how things are going down here on the South coast. With our summer break now over most of our dancers are back on the floor with a few still taking their autumn holiday, so back in the swing of things again.

Our latest beginner class, which has now run for almost a year, has been a great success. We have been very fortunate, somewhat due to it being an evening class, to see a good number of younger people taking on line dancing. The dancers have really done well and have now the confidence to tackle some easy improver level dances. They are all smiling and so pleased they can complete dances which initially might have looked impossible. We do try to talk to everyone individually to find out how they feel about their progress and the one point they all make is that they just love the music….This does mean a lot to us and it is good news when there is such a range of ages at this class and how much they like country music.

We do hope any new people coming into line dancing are able to find classes in their area where they can be taught first the basic steps required. Many times we have heard about people who went to join a class as an absolute beginner (the class being advertised as beginner level) and were told to stand at the back and follow other dancers as it is “a very easy dance” and often to pop songs. Once someone walks away from that situation and believes that is the normal learning curve then we have lost them from our world of line dancing and indeed the country music as well.

It is essential we bring new people into line dancing, there must be many people out there now who might have just retired, have time on their hands or need somewhere to go to meet other people and be comfortable going out on their own. Line dancing can offer all of this and it is also a physical activity. We will never forget how we felt when we started line dancing, how you really needed to understand the footwork, how much concentration it needed and of course coming home and trying to remember what we had learnt!

In the last couple of months our dancers have been very kind and made time to go along to the partially sighted club and the Alzheimer club to dance for them, the latter group joining in with singing along to the songs and doing a very easy dance. We were told it brought tears to one or two peoples eyes when they heard songs from the past, how very rewarding we find doing these demos. We have continued our monthly country evenings with live acts and these remain very popular, with partner dancers coming along as well as line dancers and listeners it creates a real good atmosphere for everyone. During our November evening we will hold a raffle for a Pudsey bear with proceeds going to Children in Need.

We know that a few clubs might well hold the view that line dancers are not part of the country music scene and when live acts perform it is just for those who wish to listen. It is our opinion that we do need to support the very fine and talented acts we have around and without the support of line and partner dancers it is very likely some clubs would not be able to continue. We do not need acts to play every new song hot off the press. When we have our live acts we always attempt to obtain their playlist in advance. If a proactive approach is taken then it is not too difficult to find a dance that will be suitable to each song for those who wish to dance. Going back to our beginners who have now learnt what we call the bread and butter dances, they can almost dance to anything by using basic dances. We, like many others, use the Ribbon of Highway, Lamtarra Rumba, Come dance with me, Stroll along cha cha, County line cha cha, Telepathy etc. etc. type dances to fit.

Earlier in the year we had Tumblin’ Dice visit us at our club and also worked with them at a weekend event, David and Emily are a great duo and just love the vocals from Emily. We had managed to find basic dances to fit most of their songs and later Emily asked if we could supply them with suitable easy well known dances to fit their playlists. We did this so that hopefully they can use this at clubs they play at where there are dancers.

We do see how difficult it is these days to find new dances with so many being published day by day. We have also seen over the last few years or so that when we DJ and teach at weekend events, some of which are mixed level events and not just confined to country tracks, we are led to believe that many dances are so popular everyone is doing them. However, when played, these dances only attract a low number of dancers on to the floor and sometimes they cannot remember them. As a matter of interest, over the last few weekend events we have worked at, we have received in the  region of 200 to 240 requests at each…of which a very low number have been for the so called top more pop dances.

It must be very difficult for acts and some have even told us, impossible to try to keep up with what are apparently the latest popular ones, often to find out they are not. Thank goodness we have Up Country available to pick good dances from, even able to check out other clubs top ten if we do not know their dances. Love the Greta Dodsworth classic list.. Jamabalaya  and Who did you call darlin’…yep, we still do them. What are the requested floor fillers? Well, certainly the good old ones. We do wonder sometimes if any of these well established and proven dances are taught to new beginners and maybe, do the newer instructors even know them? Not a case of living in the past but quite a number of new dances last no more than a few months. However, we certainly do a good number of new dances over all our classes, including more recently, Angeleno, Coastline, Lay low, The real deal, 2 lane highway, Me marie, Loved too much, Love her for a while, Big blue tree and although it did not really take off at class, That old fashioned song. We do try to select dances that are well choreographed, achievable and worthwhile doing and hopefully going to remain popular.

Anyway, love the article on “Just Reminiscing”…glad we still teach dances mentioned like Blue rose is and Rock around the clock. Remember well visits to Norbreck Hotel, Blackpool on several occasions and there being a totally full floor, Scooter Lee giving good vocals on Dizzy…moving around the room from table to table actually standing on the tables! Great magazine, really excellent value when you consider content, presentation quality and it is country. Please keep up the selection of dance scripts you publish, we can choose from different levels. We have seen over the years that when dancers can come along to their class each week and achieve the satisfaction of being able to do the dances without fear or worry of difficult dances being expected of them and knowing that everyone makes mistakes, we call them variations, then that is how it should be. We have forwarded our latest top ten dances.

Happy Christmas to everyone and can we take this opportunity of thanking all our dancers at classes and events for their support and also all the acts we have worked with this year.



WESTERN LINES DANCING WITH LINDA AND BRIAN

(Report for Up Country February 2015)

Down here on the South coast in Barton on Sea and the near vicinity where we hold our classes and regular live act events, we have had a pretty busy and enjoyable year or so since we last sent an update to UP COUNTRY. Our classes are being well attended and over the last year we have started up two absolute beginner classes which have been popular.  At these classes we focus on teaching the new dancers all the basic steps required for them to get established as a happy and confident line dancer. This also includes a hand out to everyone on floor equitte. In addition to this Clare, who works with us, has taken on another class locally, which was due to close and is going well.

Some of the dances we have taught over the last year or so have become good favourites, the top one being “Mile Shy of Paradise” with “This is me” and “After the storm” following.  Another new one, “Rock & roll” has taken off very well. As we run some 6 or 7 classes we continue to dance to a great many established dances which are well loved by our classes and these include “My father and me, When I cry, A Cowboy and a dancer, I can’t be bothered” and many, many more.  The advantage of course is knowing we will always be dancing most of these for a long time yet and never be tired of them. With our web site being continually updated it gives our dancers a chance to scan down and request dances from our listings.

Some of the other dances taught have been “Baby kisses, Same thing happened to me, Whiskey instead of wine, Bucket list, High cotton, Makita, Love you forever” and “Honky tonk swing”. During the last year some of our dancers have been out and about giving up their own time to entertain clubs such as the partially sighted and Alzheimer and carers and at residential homes. The tracks we choose to dance to we make sure if possible, they are sing along songs and it gives everyone a chance to join in one way or another. We also like to do a little musical quiz with the club people and so many of them are very knowledgeable on their music. During one of our evening events Viv and George raffled a Pudsey Bear that Viv had knitted and raised £100 for Children in need.

Whilst we always like to bring in new dances, we continue to be selective in what we do and teach, not getting mislead by dances some people rave about  which, in our opinion, does not represent the dances or choices of the majority of people who have been dancing week in week out for many years. In our opinion there are a great number of excellent choreographers who bring out some lovely dances but unfortunately do not get the recognition they deserve other than the fact it is their dances that actually last for a long time and are sung by live acts and enjoyed without all the hassle of multi restarts, tags etc. One other important point is that so often it is these dances that also have a choreographed partner version available or partner dancers find it easier to find a dance to fit.

We like to think we have a flourishing social side and hopefully continue to introduce more dancers to Country music with our active development of the live country music events. With our Country evenings that we hold normally once a month these have proved to be very popular. We try to cater for both line and partner dancing and although floor space is sometimes tight everyone respects the needs of each other. Some of the acts that we have enjoyed over the last year have been, “Gambler duo, Clear cut, Steve Lovett, Kalibre, Chris Harris and Kay D” plus more. A review on each evening event appears on our web site should anyone wish read what the artists sing and our opinions on the night.

We are very fortunate that we have loyal dancers who come along every week, often to more than one class and they have been with us a long time so may it continue. We are also lucky to have people joining our classes who prefer to line dance to country music than some of the alternatives around today and have made their choice to join us.

As one of our loyal dancers has told us, “arguably and most importantly, the physical and mental health benefits of line dancing in a caring environment cannot be overstated so we will keep coming back and will continue to keep it country”.

Our policy remains unchanged, keep it simple, keep the people, be safe and have fun. Enjoy the dancing and if you get every step right, in every dance, then that is a bonus!


VISIT TO THE ALTZHEIMERS GROUP

14th August 2014

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Once again during August 2014 dancers from one of our classes gave up their afternoon to go along to the monthly meeting for the Alzheimer’s group near to Lymington.

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Sandy, who is a dancer and her husband Ron, work to support this monthly group meeting and she asked several other dancers if they would like to come along and demonstrate line dancing.


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The afternoon was very, very enjoyable, with dancing covering new tracks such as “My First Love” and “ Raggle Taggle Gypsy O” plus older ones like “Bottle It Up”.

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Tina and Chris


As in previous years we held a musical quiz which the carers can be involved in and also, for those who were able to have a go, included a “Texas Stomp” dance for them to join in with. It is so good to be able to see big smiles on people’s faces and get people involved with the dancing as well. A very big thank you to Sandy for the invite and to ALL the dancers who came along to help.

 

TRADLINE WEEKEND

23-25th May 2014, STREET, SOMERSET.

tradline 2014

Fifteen of us set off for a weekend of good line dancing at the Wessex hotel in Street, Somerset on the last Bank holiday weekend in May. This was the second event held by the Tradline group and was just as enjoyable and fun as last year. With two live acts to entertain us, Bob Keeley and Muddy Boots, ( Richard Edlin and Chris Mezza) we were all able to dance from the start of the evening until midnight.

Tradline’s policy is to provide good country music whether old or new, classic line dances and a selection of non country classics. This approach includes split floors so everyone has an opportunity to dance.

During the weekend we had some new dances taught as well as a re cap on 4 requested older ones. A good number of dancers came along to learn some easier partner dances which Linda and I taught.Great atmosphere, great company, lovely hotel and food. Looking forward to 2015 for another Tradline weekend.

Click for more information on the Tradline organisation.


CLUB REPORT

SEPTEMBER 2013

We have just returned to our classes after the summer break and getting back into the swing of dancing again. As well as line dance classes we hold regular evening events with a live act. We enjoyed Gambler Duo who had appeared with us before and also Cheyenne.

Both of these artists performed a range of good tracks that our line and partner dancers could dance to and we also have a good number of people who like to listen. With Cheyenne covering songs like “Copperhead Road” and "Johnny come lately” as well as newer tracks these evenings proved very popular.

Some of the dancers did a really smashing demonstration again this year for the local Altzheimers group and it was so good to see many of the them having a go themselves.

We adapted “Crazy Postman” dance into a one wall dance for so that they could join in. Another “performance” given by some of our group was to a local residential home. It was attended by the families of the residents as well so we had a great time “dancing” on their floor with them.

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It is so satisfying to see people’s happy smiling and laughing faces when they have a chance to get up and be involved. Line dancing, in our opinion, also brings fun and happiness to people.

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Some of the latest dances we have taught are, “Blueberry chill, “Always remember”, “Fishin’ in the dark” and “You got away”.   The dance “Blueberry Chill” is very well choreographed and it also can be used as a good double up dance.

A good number of Western Line dancers attended a recent weekend event where Linda taught along with Julie Cole of Jolly Stompers. Good live acts and a nice selection of newer dances and of course plenty of helpings of classics.

Keep dancing !

Brian and Linda.

 

JUNE 2013

For our recent live act at our Country evening event we had Dave Montana. This event was very well supported and really enjoyed by all. Dave covered good country numbers and was well up to date with the latest country music line dances. He sang a smashing version of “King of the road”, with the last verse taking off Dean Martin. We have always welcomed both partner and line dancers to our evenings and all joined in the dancing with Dave singing and also the DJ music in between sets.

One of our experienced dancers, Clare Hennah who also teaches with us, recently took part in the Moonwalk - walking 26.2 miles through the streets of London at night to raise money for Breast Cancer UK. She completed the marathon walk (after a lot of training!) in 7 hours 20 minutes and she would like to thank everyone that attends the Western Lines classes for their support and generosity as they donated over £600. Well done Clare.

 Over the last few weeks we have taught several dances for the different levels of classes we run. One really nice dance has been “Memories to burn” a great track by Gene Watson. This dance is very popular at the moment with our classes. Other dances taught include “Ride Away” an older dance to the track “This is where the cowboy rides away” and “Goodbye in her eyes” choreographed by Gail Smith. With our classics/older dances that we continually rotate we are back with “Derailed”, “My heart skips a beat”,” On a promise” and “Whitewater”.

 Recenty a group of us from Western Lines attended the inaugural weekend event of TRADLINE at the Wessex in Street. This was a really happy and fully enjoyable weekend with very good classic, traditional and country music throughout. Two live acts, “The Thrillbillies and Souls n Stones”. With 17 instructors gathered on site and teaching of some line and partner dances, it was an absolute success.

Tradline

Click for more information on the Tradline organisation.

Our beginners from last year and our absolute beginners from this year are making very good progress and we will combine the two classes together in September.  Guess it looks like another beginner class will start in the Autumn with a few more people waiting to join us. There are ex dancers and new dancers out there who want to just keep to country style music and easy levels, hopefully we can cater for these needs.

Thank you for all the support we get at our club, we both appreciate this.

Happy and safe dancing to you all. 

Brian and Linda  

WESTERN LINES.. HAMPSHIRE

"Up Country" Report - April 2013

At the beginning of April some of our club travelled to Bideford for a Stagecoach weekend and had a fabulous time dancing to classics and nice easy level dances. With teaching in the mornings by Linda and by Julie Cole of Jolly Stompers some of the dances taught were, "Make a start", "Fishing in the dark", "Winners & Losers" and "You and Tequila" along with re caps on some classics. We always include the fun dance "Glengarry shuffle" which went down well again. With just over £500 raised for charity and three live acts a very good weekend was had by all.

Bideford 2013

Back at our classes we have taught "Swing a ling", "Maverockin' and "Cheap talk". It is always a pleasure to rotate on a regular basis the older dances which is our well established style and we recently covered "Poor boy shuffle", "Running bear", "Romance" and "Bottle it up" to mention just a few.

 For our Country club night we had Steve Lovett who we had seen several times and been impressed with his choice of songs. He gave us a smashing performance covering old and new tracks and he kept the floor full all night long with our line and partner dancers all enjoying every minute. Once again thanks to all the support we have and so good to see some of our recent beginners coming along to the evening.

Our "last year" beginners have made good progress now and we have another group of absolute beginners with us now learning the steps required for linedancing. Really good to see some people coming back into linedancing who tell us they used to dance "years ago" but got disheartened with the way the dances were going...so great to have these people coming to us to have an enjoyable and fun session each week, "just like it used to be" they tell us.

Happy and safe dancing to you all.

Linda and Brian.


BRIAN and LINDA FAIRBRASS – CLASS ACT

(reproduced by kind permission of ‘Up Country’ magazine - January 2013)

Brian and Linda

Once a dancer, always a dancer is a phrase that most definitely applies to two people who are the driving force behind our Class Act club this month. Indeed Brian & Linda Fairbrass first met many years ago on a dance floor and could hardly have imagined back then that this was to be the very place where they would ultimately give and gain so much enjoyment.

Brian and Linda’s chosen form of dance in those early days was ballroom dancing but in successive years they have gone on to become well known, established and respected line dance instructors. The transition from ballroom to line took place in the 1990s when, with line dancing at its peak, the couple began attending classes with Louise Woodcock’s Boots and Boogie Club. Louise encouraged them to teach for her and in due course they gained fully qualified status through the BWDA.

Western Lines Dance Club came into being in 2005 following a move to the south coast. Brian and Linda opened their Barton on Sea class at that time and then later expanded into Milford on Sea. This scenic coastal location in Hampshire is now home to the couple’s five successful classes which vary in range from absolute beginner through to easy and intermediate.

Barton Evening Class

Barton Tuesday Afternoon (1) Class

Brian and Linda are mindful of the kind of people who are attracted to and enjoy their classes as they explained to me. ‘Over the years it has become clear to us that the majority of people who attend our classes enjoy the classic dances mostly to Country music. A lot of our dancers come along once a week and are happy to just dance and with a quick walk through are soon relaxed and enjoying themselves. ’

Western Lines is proud to fall under the banner of ‘Tradline’, the form of dancing whereby emphasis is put on traditional and classic line dances as well as new dances but always of a level that is easily achievable and mostly to Country music.

‘Being a Tradline club means that we adopt a relaxed, fun and enjoyable approach that encourages people to come along every week. We believe there is a large group of ex line dancers who would love to be able to continue to dance but who now see line dancing as having changed so much that it can be a struggle and they may find it difficult to locate a class that will continue to support their needs.’

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Barton Tuesday Afternoon (2) Class

This caring and gentle approach is obviously proving very popular with their students who fully support classes and appreciate not having to chase and be swamped by every new dance to hit the circuit. Happy dancers make happy instructors as Brian and Linda were eager to tell me.

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Barton Tuesday Evening Class

‘We are very pleased that we can maintain good, achievable and mainly Country music dances with happy people. We have a great number of dancers who have been with us since we started on the south coast and we are very grateful for all their kind support and help we get at all of the classes every week.’

They go on to explain, ‘the majority of our people do not attend socials, so there is no reason to be in the race to learn all the latest releases which they are unlikely to be dancing much after a few weeks or so. Quite a lot of people attend more than one of our classes each week and are more than happy to repeat the classic dances. We are both privileged and fortunate to have such good and supportive dancers.’

They told me their policy is ‘keep it simple, keep the people’ and this certainly seems to be the magic formula because their classes remain happy and healthy in number.

Milford Class

Milford Thursday Class

The club stages a number of Country evenings throughout the year which feature live acts and caters for both line and partner dancing. They informed me that ‘several of our beginners have come along and really enjoyed the evenings when easy dances are included to fit most songs. It is important that we support our live acts as much a possible.

We have people travelling long distances to be at these events.’

Brian and Linda are also kept busy with weekend events throughout the year where Linda teaches and Brian covers the role of dj. Theses weekends, they tell me, are very much focussed on classic and easier level dances which gives everyone chance to get on the floor.

The club also supports local groups and attends regular meetings where they give demonstrations and even engage in singalongs with such groups as Alzheimers’s and the partially sighted. ‘It is so good to see those who are able to do so, join in with very simple dancing.

Our dancers are more than willing to give up their time to see the happiness that this brings to others.’


Brian and Linda have also choreographed several dances. See Me in The Movies, Cold Cold Heart and Deadly Combination, (the latter two specifically choreographed for Alan Gregory and Cheyenne’s own arrangements) bringing pleasure to many dancers.

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Western Lines with Alzheimer's Group

As instructors, they told me what they consider vital elements of good teaching. ‘Providing clear instructions with consistent terminology and understanding the dancers’ needs such as providing alternatives for those who cannot, nor prefer not to turn.’

As for what they themselves enjoy most about teaching, they tell me that ‘teaching beginners is very rewarding because many people arrive thinking they will never be able to line dance and seeing a change in that person over a few weeks is amazing as their confidence increases.’

If you are in the vicinity of Hampshire do give Brian and Linda a call. These two lovely people are sure to extend the warmest of welcomes and to demonstrate just what makes Western Lines a Class Act.

FEBRUARY 2013

Like many clubs we have suffered from the bad weather but wherever possible everyone has come along to support our classes which we both appreciate. At our easy level class, which was a beginner level in 2012, we have taught "Drinkin' Bone Boogie", "Island Cha", This and That" and "Voulez Vous Danser". 

With more people wishing to join we started a new absolute beginner class and in addition taken on another existing class as their instructor decided to retire. Well, another evening out ! But at least the dancers are able to continue with their dancing, it is so important not to lose anyone from the fun of linedancing.


We have also taught "Mexi-fest" and "Wagon wheel rock" recently and as a Tradline club continually rotate classics. "I said I love you" , "Cheek to cheek" and "Rock and roll waltz" have been covered in last couple of weeks.


Quite a few of our Western Lines dancers attended a weekend event in Bournemouth with great evening dancing and morning teaches including "Mexicoma" and  "Throw away the key". 


 With our own Country evening being cancelled in January due to the snow and bad weather we enjoyed Pedro at our February night. Plenty of dancing, partner and line. Pedro singing old and new, from "Country down to my soul" to "Buffalo tales" and "Where am I gonna live " to "You'd better move on".


Perhaps the most popular dance played during Pedro's set breaks was "Voulez vous danser", filled the floor with partner and line.   Roll on the spring...happy dancing everyone...

 

DECEMBER 2012

Some of the dances we have taught more recently have been well received and one or two may not be so popular. At our beginner class, we have just included “Unlove me” and “Slow romance”  both dances are included at our easy level classes and are well liked.

“Margaritas and Senoritas” has been taught at the Easy Level class, however, will probably take a little longer to become a regular request. At our intermediate class we have been doing “Can’t let go”,” Disappearing tail lights”, ”What cha reckon”  and one we really like “Shame on me” (Rachael McEnaney version).

One dance we reviewed and put to one side several weeks ago was “Ford Boogie”. Thought we would teach it and see response and it went down a real treat. Steps include heel bounces and Dwight’s, with two easy restarts it is a lively two wall dance.

We have always focused on teaching or walking through Country Classics and whilst this includes a great number, during 2012 perhaps the favourites have been  “ I can’t be bothered”, “ Side by side” and “Caught in the act”. 

Well, another new year to look forward to of good country music and dances.