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In Step hosts workshop with Bob and Cindy Long

Pagosa, are you ready for a Spring Fling?

Springtime is the time for newness: New life, new growth, new beginnings. So why not learn a new dance?

Did you know that Quickstep was one of the first ballroom dances born in this country? In the 1850s, it emerged as a march, danced primarily to patriotic music, and used to celebrate presidents, military exhibitions, heroes and the like.

By the early 1900s, Foxtrot emerged, with Peabody on the side.

During the Roarin’ ’20s, songs like “Puttin’ On The Ritz” and “Alexander’s Rag Time Band” combined Foxtrot with the Charleston and the dance became known as the Fast Foxtrot. However, since the slower version of Foxtrot was still in demand and the music tempo slowed down; the faster version became the Quick-Time Foxtrot, or just Quickstep, to accommodate those who liked the faster, peppier style of dancing.

Quickstep has lasted through the decades in the ballroom dance arena. Surprisingly, it can easily be danced to a wide variety of music genres. You might remember the Andrews Sisters exploding with such hits of the ’40s as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree,” adding to the swing craze, but did you know that you can dance the Quickstep to many of those old Jitterbug tunes?

Special song memories from the ’50’s and ’60s like “Sugartime” by the Mcguire Sisters, “Singin’ In The Rain,” “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James and the Shondelles, or “It’s Not Unusual” (Tom Jones’ first hit) have been re-orchestrated to lend to the list of great candidates for the Quickstep. One of my preferences is “Star Wars Cantina Band” from 1973. Also from the ’70s, Anne Murray’s “Snowbird” has compatible timing.

On a more modern note, try quickstepping to Bette Midler’s version of “Billy-A-Dick” from the 1991 film “For The Boys,” or the theme song from 2002’s “Monsters, Inc.”

Here’s a challenge: Take some of the basics of Quickstep and try to dance it to Hip-Hop rhythm.

Anything’s possible, but, for now, let’s concentrate on the basics. I will continue teaching an introduction to Quickstep on Sunday, April 15, starting at 2 p.m. This will give you a head start when world-renowned national champions Bob and Cindy Long visit Pagosa once again to teach the Spring Fling workshops on April 21.

If you missed my first class, that’s OK, there will be plenty of review on April 15. Also, if you are unable to make it to my classes, the workshop is designed for dancers who have never danced the Quickstep; although some experience with Waltz or Foxtrot would be beneficial.

Bob and Cindy will split up, one teaching Quickstep, the other will show us some more advanced patterns in Cha Cha. This Latin workshop is not for the beginner, as it will cover some Silver level patterns, and more advanced technique.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our visiting clinicians, let me give you some of their credentials.

Bob Long is former North American Professional Ballroom champion; Arthur Murray Professional Ballroom champion; several times U.S. Professional American Ballroom finalist and Ohio Star Ball finalist. He is several times recipient of the Feather Award for the Most Outstanding Male Teacher in the U.S; an Imperial Society Licentiate in Theatre Arts; and past chairman, now on the board of the National Dance Council.

Cindy Long was four times U.S. Professional Standard champion; U.S. Professional American Ballroom finalist; North American Professional champion in both Standard and American styles of Ballroom; British Open Rising Star Standard finalist; British Open Standard semi-finalist; World Championship adjudicator, all styles; Imperial Society Associate in Ballroom and Licentiate in Theater Arts; Six times Feather Award recipient for Most Outstanding Female Dance Teacher in the U.S.

Together, they are North American Professional Ballroom champions; Arthur Murray Professional Ballroom champions; co-authors of the Arthur Murray Country Western, West Coast Swing, Argentine Tango, Salsa, Lindy Hop and full Bronze and Silver in 12 additional dances. More recently, they have co-authored the new syllabi for Full Silver and Full Gold levels in the six standard dances: Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, East Coast Swing, Rumba and Cha Cha; plus new syllabi for West Coast Swing, Night Club 2-Step and are working on many others.

The Longs are sought after worldwide for their expertise as traveling consultants and examiners for Arthur Murray Dance Studios. Both are available for Pro and Pro/Am coaching, teaching, choreography, adjudicating all levels including World Championships; and are co-franchisees of the Arthur Murray Studio of Albuquerque, N.M. We are very fortunate to have them visit Pagosa once again and share their knowledge with us. Don’t miss this magnificent opportunity; mark your calendars for April 21, from 3-6 p.m. and sign up for either beginning Quickstep or advanced Cha Cha.

Registration begins at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230A Port Ave. i at 2:45 p.m., and the workshops will run from 3-6, with a half-hour of refreshments midway. There will be a break from 6-6:30 for everyone to change into dressier attire for party mode if they wish, and a full kitchen is available for any food preparation you might have. We will enjoy cocktails and appetizers from 6:30-7, with the potluck dinner following. DJ Dusty will play our favorites from 7:30 until 10:30, and some entertainment in the form of dance exhibitions is slated throughout the evening as well.

You do not need a partner to attend and the cost is $25 per person. If you attend a workshop, the dance is free. If you do not attend one of the workshops, you can purchase tickets in advance for the dance for $5 per person; or pay $7 at the door. This will pay for the DJ, and the cost for putting on the event. Contact either Jennifer Matcham (946-7368) or Deb Aspen (731-3338 or 946-1081) to R.S.V.P. and get tickets for the dance, to pre-register for the workshops, or for more information.

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