Bootleggers Blast in Carlisle, 2019

It’s the middle of April and me Steve and nearly 100 lovely folk are off to Carlisle for our Bootleggers Blast weekend.

Thursday

It’s around a 2 hour drive from Stirling in central Scotland to Carlisle and we arrived safely ready to get set up for hosting the weekend. We love working with our friends at the Crown & Mitre Hotel who look after us so well.

Photo of the Crown & Mitre Hotel in Carlisle

We had the use of the Ballroom for the weekend with a big dance floor and plenty of space for dining and socialising.

It was amazing to catch up with our 15 guests from Germany over dinner and drinks and much, much chatting!

FRIDAY

This morning we got the ballroom all set up … a big thank you to all my friends from Germany and my granddaughter for giving me a hand to do the tables and decorations ready for the weekend to begin. What would normally have taken us all day was done in a couple of hours – whoop! Thank you all so much, my German family.

Guests started arriving and it was the best first night yet, as everyone was in good spirits and ready for a great weekend.

Friday night

The dinner (and all our meals at the Crown & Mitre) was fabulous – as were the staff, including our lovely manager, Maggie Mclellan. Thank you to Elaine Karch for doing the staff collection.

After the main course at dinner I got all the staff up to do a wee dance – and what better than Let’s Dance? Oh my goodness they were fabulous and did so well – great staff, great hotel!

The atmosphere was brilliant from start to finish, with everyone up for fun. My mate, Willie Brown, did a teach of his fun dance Hey Blondie which was so funny.

I was the DJ for the night. Oh my goodness, I did manage to play everything that was requested by the end of the weekend – what a vast amount of different dances were asked for.

It was great to see our guests from Germany doing different dances to those we do – all of them are great dancers! They taught us Party Train, Great Spirit, and Make it Shake. Wow! I mastered (well, nearly…) Party Train and Great Spirit.

I think everyone survived the night which kept going till the wee small hours with dances ranging from Red Hot Salsa to Mad Crazy Love.

No wonder my legs are not my own!

SATURDAY

Workshops

This morning our packed workshop kicked off at 10:30 with me teaching Good Vibes by Fred Whitehouse , Habibi by Gary O’Reilly, and one of my own dances, Shine a Light.

The lovely Gudrun Schneider taught one of her own dances, Kiss Me Already.

Shine a Light was a one wall teach, by request. The dance level has now changed from Intermediate to Improver, so check it out on Linedancer, Copperknob, or Everything Line Dance.

All the dances were so well received, and danced several times throughout the rest of the weekend.

We then had an After Workshop workshop. I introduced this a few years ago as my weekend workshops are pitched at a level to suit everyone while this introduces harder dances and offers a bit of a challenge to more experienced dancers. It’s optional if people want to stay (lots did!) and I invite instructors and choreographers who are with us to lead a workshop.

I taught Dance on my Island by Gary O’Reilly and Shane McKeever, which was so well received. I was in a panic about this one as there isn’t a script yet, so my wee brain had to remember… and BOOM! … job done: happy dancers! Gary, hurry up with that script… ha ha.

Now I taught it all, tag included, but did I get the tag? Did I heck – at least not till the Sunday!

Kevin taught Party Train by Rebecca Lee and Sobrielo Philip Gene, and Lee Hamilton taught Best Friend by Jose Miguel Vane and Guy Dubé. We had seen our German friends dancing this and we all thought “oh… love this!” so Lee kindly did the honours. Thank you Lee.

Then I invited David Thomas to teach our latest dance, Goshdamn. Poor guy, it was last minute but I didn’t give him time to be nervous! Thank you David.

What a fabulous reaction we got to it. I might be a bit biased, but I think that’s definitely one to watch!

My feet are agony – what a fantastic morning at the Bootleggers Blast weekend workshops.

Saturday night

The theme this evening was A Little Bit Scottish and although I don’t normally do themes I’m so glad I did this. The hall was looking fantastic and everyone made an effort – thank you everyone!

As a surprise, we brought our beautiful granddaughter, Louise, to the weekend to dance for us. She is a champion Highland dancer and what a show she gave us! She also choreographed a wee bit of Highland dancing to Celtic Duo. Gary and Maggieyou would be so proud of her!

We really enjoyed having lovely Natalie Thurlow with us for the evening and her musical talent kept the dancers happy all night.

SUNDAY

Workshops

On Sunday morning we refreshed all the dances we’d studied on the Saturday and Lee taught his latest dance, Rascals Questions, and Gudrun Schneider taught her dance The Jacket.

That completed the workshops for the weekend and all that is left for me to do is to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who taught over the event.

(Good) Goodbye… till next year

There were plenty of tears as guests were leaving on the Sunday and I just want to say a massive Thank You to everyone who booked the weekend – we honestly only put it together – but you all make it what it is.

Thank you also to all those who have already booked for next year. It will be our 10 Year Anniversary so it’s going to be amazing. The dates are Friday 17 to Sunday 19 April 2020.

To all the staff at the Crown & Mitre – thank you for doing such a great job – you rock!

A big thank you also to everyone that sponsored me for the 2019 LDF Extreme Challenge … and to everyone who helped put this weekend together.

My feet are on fire, but it’s been so worth it. Now I need a nice foot rub… any offers?

Until next year, love from Steve and me xxx

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