Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mishnock & Friends Country Dance Weekend

I headed to the airport early Friday morning with a suitcase full of clothes and a bag loaded down with CDs and promotional material to pass out. I had no idea what I needed for a Country Dance weekend so I literally packed half my wardrobe. This was the one time that my habit for over packing was extremely helpful.
After two very tiny planes and 4 hours of down time in the Philadelphia airport, I made it to Stewart Newburgh in New York. As we flew over Newburgh I was absolutely mesmerized by the orange, red and yellow tree tops that covered the mountains like a warm quilt.
I was met in baggage claim by Bob holding a "Michnock & Friends" sign. We took a few scheduled and unscheduled detours until we finally made it to Hudson Valley Resort in the Catskill mountains. As we walked in the door I was completely shocked. The lobby was transformed into a dance hall and the room was swarming with dancers and the sound of boots stomping and voices laughing. I will admit I was intimidated. I would not call myself a line dancer though I secretly have dreams of quitting my job and becoming a touring line dancer.
I put my things in my room, grabbed my little handy video camera and raced back to the lobby. As I returned to the lobby "Good Time" by Alan Jackson was playing so everyone in ear shot of the song was on the dance floor. I was seriously impressed.
I made my way around the room beginning to put a face with the voices of contacts Club Connection has made over the years. Everyone knew each other and I understood why it was called Mishnock & Friends. Most of the dancers were from New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York and travel to Kerhonkson twice a year for this particular dance weekend. This is a picture of Dan Albro and myself in the lobby of the hotel.
After dinner, all 600 hundred dancers scrambled for seats in the theater for the dance instructor's demonstrations. Instructors and choreographers do a quick demonstration of the dances they are going to teach so that dancers can schedule the lessons they want to attend.
There were seventeen instructors present ready to teach over forty different dances. Here is a clip of all the instructors demonstrating Dan Albro's dance "Teddy Bear Squeeze" to the Keith Anderson song "Somebody Needs a Hug."

After every instructor demonstrated their dances, there was open dancing on all seven dance floors and karaoke in the lounge. Since I had not learned one single dance yet, I stayed in the karaoke lounge. I met new friends from Silver Spurrs Country Line Dancing and talked with them until it was time to turn it. We had a long day of dancing a head of us and we needed to get to bed early.
By 8am sharp, I was shuffling through my bag trying to decide the logical selection of jeans, t-shirt and comfortable shoes. After breakfast I was in Debi Pancoast's warm-up class nervous and excited about the day.
I started the day off learning an intermediate line dance called Learning to Fly choreographed Christopher Petre to the Jordin Sparks song"One Step At A Time." I don't know really why I thought I could skip the beginner dances and go right to intermediate but I assume my years of Jazzercise paid off. I actually did quite well. Here is the clip of the dance demo from Friday night.

That lesson ended at 9:45am so I got some water and walked out of Ballroom C to the lobby for the 10am Dan Albro lesson. This dance was a little easier and is one from the weekend I actually still remember. Boot Camp was choreographed by Dan and the music is by Lady Antebellum "Love Don't Live Here."

Directly after that I headed back into Ballroom C for a packed class of Sugar Lips choreographed by Junior Wills and John Robinson. I loved this dance so much that I took the lesson again later in the day to make sure I retained what I learned.

Next I stopped in Stompin' Sue's class where we learned Murphy's Law. I was shocked at how quickly I was learning these dances. Each teacher was so patient and clear in their instructions that someone as clumsy as me could even learn them.
After my forth lesson in a row where I literally gave it 100%, I was in need of a shower. After lunch I was ready to learn a few more. I stayed out in the lobby and learned two more Dan Albro dances and then reviewed the Wills and Robinson dance. By this point I couldn't feel my toes and my thighs were screaming at me. I took advantage of the 5-6pm happy hour and decided that it was more important to shower and rest then eat dinner.
I made it back down to the theater for the last portion of the instructor skit that I hear was very funny.
The rest of the night included open dancing and karaoke. By the time we had to pack up and leave on Sunday I was totally worn out but sad to leave such wonderful friends.

The Following pictures include:Bobbe Morhiser, DJ Wild Bill, Stompin' Sue, Vicky Gilbert, Lyndy, Louie St. George, Junior Willis and John Robinson.

Minutes before I drove back to the airport I was still dancing. This was the last dance of the weekend with John Robinson and Joanne Brady leading Oh Suzannah by Yamboo choreographed by Bill Larson and Chris Watson. Thank you all for a wonderful time!

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