by Kerie Hitt
Bruce Wright and I are members of the Reston YMCA and go to group exercise classes there. Last winter, the Y expressed interest in a beginner line dance workshop for their members. We thought this would be a great way to promote NVCWDA and country-western dancing to a new and diverse group of people and decided to pursue the opportunity. Turns out the Y’s Zumba Gold instructor, Deborah Wickham, is a long lost former member of NVCWDA, and she prodded the Y and us to get together. Bruce agreed to coordinate everything.
We approached several people in NVCWDA who volunteered to assist, and we scheduled the event for 3-6 p.m. on the fifth Saturday in February because that time would not conflict with any regular NVCWDA dances. We decided to charge $5 admission to offset the cost of renting the exercise room at the Y. We announced the event on our website and Facebook page and in our broadcast email.
We put up flyers around the Y, and news about the event spread by word of mouth. Deborah encouraged her students to attend. One day she coerced me into doing the Tush Push to T-R-O-U-B-L-E with her at the start of Zumba Gold to psych up her students. A lot of people asked me about the event. What should they wear? What shoes are suitable? Should they wear cowboy boots? How could they look up the dances beforehand? People were trying to change their work and travel schedules in order to come dance with us.
We were a little nervous because we didn’t know what to expect. We assumed the crowd at the Y could span a wide range of ages and abilities and we would need to be flexible. We had no way of knowing how many people would actually show up, but from the scuttlebutt at the Y, we figured we might get a lot of people. We also fretted about the sound system and microphone, whether our songs would play, and so forth.
We did get a lot of people – more than 100 attended. In fact, we had almost too many people. The ages ranged from teenagers to 90-year olds. Several familiar NVCWDA faces were in the throng as well. We taught and practiced seven dances.
People from the Y enjoyed themselves and so did we. Although people were getting tired after 2 hours, about half of them stayed for the entire 3 hours. We have heard overwhelmingly positive feedback from the participants, and the Y wants to do another event.
Thank you Bernie and Lydia, Keith and Linda, Steve and Beth, Karen and Marty, Marie-Luce, Bernard, and Deborah for helping with the workshop.