North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

August 6, 2012

Line dance workshop boosts local economy for a weekend

By Nathan Prewett
North Jefferson News

GARDENDALE — What to do during troubled economic times? Some people save their money, others throw everything out the window and start dancing.

That’s what people did at the Gardendale Line Dance Workshop, which was held on Saturday, offering lessons to people interested in learning how to line dance. It was the workshop’s fifth year, and its second year being hosted in Gardendale.

For $25, people were given a chance to learn the ropes of line dancing by five instructors.

Directed by Donna Barnett and Jackie Tally, Gardendale Line Dance Workshop drew a crowd of over 150 people.

It was originally anticipated to draw less than 150 but the number of attendants that registered went over the estimated number. A portion of those were from out of state, which included Tennessee and Georgia.

“We’re happy here and they seem to love us,” said Talley at the workshop. “We’ve got over 150 people so we’re rolling fine. We haven’t had any problems, everybody seems to be having a good time.”

The first workshop was led by Frank Trace, who hails from Ohio. The others were led by Michael Thompson and Vicki Pierson, who are from Georgia and Tennessee respectively. Barnett and Tally, both Alabama residents, led the last two lessons.

Line dance is a type of dancing in which people organize into lines generally called “walls.” Dancers execute their steps collectively. This type is very popular in the country music scene.

Several vendors from out of state were there to offer shirts and jewelry to patrons. Bill and Sherry Shadle from Tennessee sold studded T-shirts with various dance slogans and designs.

Tally teaches not only line dance but also ballroom and fitness classes as well. She owns Smart Moves, which is a fitness business that works with seniors. Instructors from Smart Moves have come to senior centers in north Jefferson to provided exercise.

Barnett has been instructing in dance for 20 years. She is originally from Florida but moved to Alabama several years ago.

Among the directors was Frank Trace, who is internationally recognized.

“We are just pleased to have him here in Alabama,” said Tally. “It’s his first time to teach in Alabama. He’s won major international awards for the dances that he’s choreographed.”

Trace has won the Crystal Boot Award and won a Dancers Choice Award for choreographing Mama Maria.

The civic center was so pleased with the revenue brought in by the workshop that the directors asked Tally and Barnett to come back, so if anyone is bored next year and wants to get some exercise, it may be worth the money.

The Gardendale Line Dance Workshop will be back next year on July 27.