Robert and I took the night train down to Perpignan Thursday evening 28 May and because the train controller made a mistake in our couchettes we nearly didn’t get any! In the end we lucked-out and managed to get a compartment all to ourselves! Friday dawned hot and sunny and we were met by Mary Perez who formed one of the first clubs outside of the Paris area many years ago. The reason? To have a private lesson from Robert in couples 2-step. Mary wanted to learn the leader and follower part of the dance so she could teach it in her classes. Couples dance is making a return in France these days which is a good thing. In the evening Robert taught 5 couples who were all at different levels in the dance.
At the end of the evening Mary drove us to the nearby town of St Genis where we were welcomed by our hostess Christiane Favillier (Cricri) who readers of Linedancer magazine met in the May edition. Cricri organises a dance festival every year end of May. This year’s event was to take place in the natural surroundings of an open air leisure park.
Saturday dawned hot and sunny and on arriving we saw that the event was to take place in a sort of coral. There was a circular concrete area for dancing, a podium with the sound system, a bar with a covered area for dining. Parasols were set up to protect the sound system the dancers took to the floor and Robert could begin his workshops. There was a large number of dancers from the Principality of Andorra and Robert made them feel at ease by giving instructions in Spanish!
We began to feel sorry for the dancers as the sun beat down on them but nobody seemed to mind. Robert taught many of his new dances through out the day at different levels. The most popular being A Love Dance and I Wanna Dance. The advanced dancers were challenged with Pokerface. This non-country line wasn’t to the taste of some of the Country fans and many of us (me included) found our abilities weren’t quite up to its intricacies, but a good number, including the Andorrians, stuck it out and the younger dancers absolutely loved it!
The day ended with a barbecue. But Robert and I were too tired to attend and as we were to have a long day of NTA exams ahead on Sunday we left Cricri and her Bad Girls to dance the night away.
The weather changed dramatically on Sunday, chilly, grey and wet! Fortunately we were indoors to test
8 teachers taking their NTA accreditation tests, both written and practical. The rain forced the other festival goers indoors and they danced their feet off in a nearby social centre. Sunday evening an exhausted Christiane, the stress over, had us and the rest of the restaurant in fits of laughter. A real show-woman!
In the end, 5 people passed their tests, congratulations!
Of course the fine weather returned on Monday as we headed back to Paris on a day time train.
Thank you, Mary and Cricri, for your warm welcome. A special thanks also goes to Marie-Pierre our cheerful chauffer.
Well, summer has arrived and apart from a couple of festivals I’ll be taking a holiday from dancing, so I hope you all spend a well deserved rest in the sun.Happy holidays – Maureen Jessop, Royan, France