I was up in Paris this week and caught my friend Robert Wanstreet at a Parisian night-club CLUB 79 just off the Champs-Elysees. Robert teaches and presides at, and what is becoming, a monthly line dance event in the capital. This is an evening in total contrast to the ball I attended on Saturday! Here the repertoire was principally ‘new line’ catering for the younger more trendy (do people still say that?) Parisian. Very little western wear here except for the sprinkling of older dancers.
The music was very up-beat, however a few of the old favourites were thrown in. No play lists of dances tonight as Robert encourages dancers to listen to the music and then decide on the dance. This is leads to dancers finding a selection of dances suitable for their level, so everyone may dance on the floor together.
Members of three Parisian clubs were present. The original club formed by Robert and I 15 years ago ‘Les Amis du Far West’ ‘Madison Street’ and ‘Smiling Boots Dancers’. The latter, presided by ‘City of Light’ UCWDC director Brigitte Zerah is the leading club for all that is new and original in line dance. This is not surprising as Brigitte is also the person who selects the competition dances for UCWDC.
Robert taught an old favourite ‘Cowboy Charleston’ for the total beginners and later in the evening one of his own choreographies ‘Right Now’ an AB dance that went down well.
Towards midnight, the club began to change mood as the normal patrons wandered in. Smartly dressed ladies and be-suited gentlemen propped up the bar or even ventured out on the floor to dance the rock or disco. Suddenly I noticed a tall elegant couple doing – yes a TWO-STEP! Who were they? Where did they come from? They hadn’t been here earlier. They were obviously very good dancers with excellent technique. It turned out that they were from Florida on vacation and had just happened along. They later danced Hustle and Night-Club 2 Step.
As we left the club, I was thinking what would the clubs in my area think about the evening? I realized that the urban scene is very different from the rural one. It really is town versus country. However the essential thing is that at both events, the people were having a good time and enjoying themselves. That’s what it’s all about after all!