The hottest day last week was probably Wednesday, on the evening we took part in the line dancing demo for the Fête de la Musique in Cluny. We were down in the Narthex, the ruins of the Abbey between the Hotel de Bourgogne and the marketplace. Despite the heat and the uneven ground we managed to put on a good show, thanks to Christiane’s training and the enthusiastic encouragement of the spectators.
In the wonderful setting of the Abbey ruins
Classes 2, 3 and 4 of Country Dreams Cluny
Yours truly feeling rather hot
Being in the beginners’ class we didn’t take part in the more advanced dances in the middle so Chris had plenty of time to take some photos. And here’s a couple of videos, the first three dances on https://youtu.be/tHvZQdrxveM and ’Gypsy Queen’ on https://youtu.be/lvly7p3pNXY Next year we hope to join Class 2. Yee-haw!
Our latest craze is line dancing! We’ve joined Country Dreams, an incredibly friendly bunch of people. We’ve been three times this week, to the usual débutants class, to the end of term party and on Friday night to the Christmas Ball at Bussières.
At the Christmas Ball
Our lovely teachers Marie Claude (front) and Christiane (behind) with rabbit ears
And yours truly
Line dancing’s great, like gym but without the pompes. The music is lively, it’s easy to learn and you don’t need a partner. It’s a social form of exercise and a lot of fun. And it’s easy to practise at home in front of youtube videos. The names of the dances and the steps are in English which we thought would be an advantage but we are having to adopt a French accent. In answer to a request for a dance we might call ’Little Wagon Wheel’. Comment? LITTLE WAGON WHEEL! Ah! Leetell Vaggo Veel!
You would think from the all the cowboy boots and stetsons that line dancing started in the wild west but it is quite a recent thing. The madison started us off in the 1960s and films like Grease have a lot to answer for with dances like Go Greased Lightening from the mechanics’ scene. But the term ‘line dancing’ was not coined until the 80s with the craze for ’Achy Breaky Heart’ and Dolly Parton songs, hence line dancing’s connection with Country & Western.
After the millenium line dancing tended to drift away from C&W with new dances choreographed for pop or classical music. I love the ones with Irish music as I always feel I’m in Riverdance! But France, with its love of all things American, still keeps very much to the western tradition and the cowboy boots.
Meanwhile the new line dances become faster and more complicated. The early dances seem so easy. We are still at the novice stage but, you never know, one day we will be up on the stage making an exhibition of ourselves at the music festival or the apple fair. Yee-haw!