Mid November saw line dancers gather at The Martello Caravan Park, Walton on the Naze for The Keep in Step Line Dance Festival. Held every year at the same delightful venue it manages to draw a significant number of dancers from across the country, spread across three days there are workshops with tuition during the day with live artists to entertain in the evening.
Dancers began arriving on Friday morning all eager to be first on the floor when the doors opened in the evening. Friday evening saw dancing to Ted’s Rodeo Disco from JT Steppers, a fine blend of all genres saw the floor packed through out the evening. Organiser Val Willson had engaged former world champion Johnny2Step to oversee the tuition and workshops during the weekend, true to form Johnny added to the already infectious fun throughout the evening ensuring that the festival got off to a great start.
Tuition began at 10.30 on Saturday morning with Lois Lightfoot starting proceedings followed by Johnny2Step and Wendy Knight from Wendys Wildkatz. Despite a late night on Friday Saturdays early start did not deter festival goers eager to get dancing and learn some new dances right through until late afternoon when the session ended. Saturday evening saw live entertainment from Billy Bubba King interspersed with sets from Ted’s Rodeo Disco. Billys ability to play just the right music at the right time is legendary and the dancers were not disappointed. Dress theme for the evening was Hollywood and this bought out a whole host of stars from the famous red carpet, some had gone to great lengths to enter the spirit of the event. It was just like Oscars night with Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Carmen Miranda, The Blues Brothers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Marilyn Monroe and Johnny2Step as the Artful Dodger were all in attendance to name but a few. Wendy Ansell’s version of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers deserves a special mention, we all know that in real life Fred Astaire was a fantastic dancer and it’s often overlooked that Ginger did everything that Fred did but backwards in high heels. This Ginger Rogers went one better and carried Fred around the dance floor most of the evening, Wendy had made a life size dummy of Fred to complete her costume.
Light drizzle on Sunday morning didn’t stop the dancers waiting for tuition to start even though the previous nights fun didn’t end until the early hours. Once again a whole days tuition and social dancing kept everyone entertained. During the weekend Johnny2step taught Brazil,Cabo San Lucas, Viva la Viva, Guantanamera, Pray and If I Could. Wendy Knight taught Young at Heart, Precious Moments, Get Trashed and Robbie McGowan Hickies long awaited Cuckoo while Lois Lighfoot taught Little Red Book, My Heart Skipped a Beat, Greystone, Eyes Wide Open and White Rose.
Sunday evening the outside temperature dropped but inside everyone was still looking forward to raising the temperature with a wild nights dancing. Muddy Boots were due to appear but due to illness had to cancel so in stepped Richard Palmer to provide the evenings live entertainment. This young man from Lincolnshire played three fantastic line dance orientated sets which kept the floor full. Richard is certainly one to watch and his rendition of Grace Kelly is amazing including hitting the high notes. As the festival drew to a close people were already talking about next year with some having booked before leaving.