Well, like millions of other people Steve and I are spending a lot more time at home at the minute while the world fights the threat of COVID-19. All my line dance classes are cancelled, as are all the events that we normally attend.
To help both my own students and anyone else looking for a bit of fun and exercise I’m doing some videos from home. I’m taking requests for which dances I cover so please get in touch if there’s something you’d like to see me teach.
Now is your chance – if you’ve always wanted to come to one of my classes, but live too far away, push back the furniture, turn the volume up and learn with me here online!
I hope that the videos help you relax a little in these troubling times. I’ve set up a wee Facebook group so you can chat with me and fellow learners, ask any questions and generally just have a blether with people who love line dancing. You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/groups/261852208164807/?fref=mentions
Steve and I send you and your families all our love and best wishes and our hopes that we will all be together again soon.
Where do I start .. what do I say that’s not already been said?
Each year CBA just gets better and we always arrive wondering what Betty, Steve and the team have up their sleeve for us.
WOW WOW WOW it was simply the best from start to finish … thank you all for your hard work. The room looked beautiful and the atmosphere was electric.
Friday night with the launch of LDF mental health awareness I thought was fantastic, the passion and help that I know will go into this is beyond words it’s just amazing. Once again Helen O’Malley has set out to make sure everyone is aware of it all and that the Line Dance Foundation is there to help. This will be launched soon so watch out for it all. Well done to Helen on her Crystal Boot award; it was so well deserved, she is a remarkable lady.
The tribute to Lizzie Clarke and Robbie McGowan Hickie was beautiful. Jo Thompson Szymanski was fantastic delivering it to everyone and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the hall. The solo piper was so good – everything about it was just so touching. Liz and Robbie will be so missed.
I also wanted to thank Linedancer for asking me to teach with Niels Poulsen – he is so great to work with and extremely funny. I love this guy to bits and I’m so glad I was paired with him.
I was so nervous for various reasons but he kept me calm and BOOM, HOME TO DONEGAL was taught. Aww the response to it was just fantastic and it was danced 3 times at the workshop. Thank you to everyone that took the workshop.
All the workshops this year were so well attended with each one really busy and what a great selection of dances taught. After our workshop I was so emotional, haha big baby that I am! I so loved working with Niels and am looking forward to doing it again in the future.
I personally LOVED the host for the awards, Ben Langley. He was so funny, a great comedian, and he got the dancers excited about what was comin next. I loved all the acts, ESPECIALLY the Robbie Williams Tribute – eeekkkk my favourite!
I am totally blown away with winning TWO Crystal Boot Awards. Oh my goodness I still can’t believe it.
Linedancer Radio you guys rock. To be voted number 1 in The People’s Choice category is simply fabulous.
I just love my LDR family and our listeners; we know this would not have all happened if you didn’t tune in each day. THANK YOU all for the support.
The other Crystal Boot award was for ROLLING WITH LOVE at Advanced Dance level. Co-written with the funniest, caring, loveable, talented guy, Simon Ward who, may I add, is a pure gentleman. Thank you for doing this dance with me.
I had no speech prepared at all – we were in a category of amazing dances and I feel so overwhelmed that the votes went to us for this great sing along dance. I don’t think it has all sunk in yet.
Rolling with love was released last year at World Dance Masters and it just grew more and more on the floor and climbed the charts.
Thank you to everyone that supported us with this and for all the fabulous comments we have received. We are completely grateful for the support.
I LOVED doing the nominees’ show dance. It felt so good and looked amazing. It was created by two of the best: Maddison Glover and Simon Ward. What a fantastic job you both did and my goodness you both worked us hard! I was so proud to be part of it – I love you guys.
My feet are so sore and that was down to the fabulous DJs. You all did an amazing job over the weekend with some of you playing till the wee hours of the morning. Thank you for all your hard work.
A big thank you to all my family and friends for all your support, and to my amazing mum for getting me into line dancing to start with, but most of all to my wee hubby Steve. I know I couldn’t have got where I am today without him – I love him loads.
Thank you everyone. I will never forget this year’s CBA. I feel very honoured and proud.
Step sheet now available for this lovely dance, first taught by Heather and her co-choreographer, Niels Poulsen, at the Crystal Boot Awards on 2 February 2020. The music is Home to Donegal by Nathan Carter.
We know that Heather will write a piece about her experiences in Blackpool this weekend as soon as she calms down – could take a while!
Meantime in case you didn’t hear her shouting from the rooftops, Heather collaborated with the amazing Simon Ward to write Rolling With Love for World Dance Masters 2019 and it won big style tonight – scooping the Crystal Boot in the Advanced level dance category.
Hot off the press! The announcements have just been made and here are the nominations that Heather and her choreography have received this year in the 24th Crystal Boot Awards.
Advanced Level Dance category for Rolling With Love – written with Simon Ward, with whom Heather had a lot of fun teaching this dance at World Dance Masters in August 2019
Dedicated Dance DJ category – here’s a link to Heather’s bio on Linedancer Radio. Why not listen to Heather’s Blether live on Mondays and Thursdays?
Female Dance Personality of the Year
Improver Level Dance category for The Bull – written with Hayley Wheatley. Here’s a little demo.
UK Choreographer of the Year
Beginner Level Dance category for Sugarbird – written with Jef Camps. Here’s a little demo.
UK Instructor of the Year
Many congratulations to Heather from all her Bootleggers – some of whom will be in Blackpool cheering her on in January. The rest of us will be watching online.
Voting opens soon – don’t miss out
Don’t forget to vote for your favourites – voting is open from 1 to 11 January 2020 on the CBA website and the awards ceremony takes place on the weekend of 30 January 2020 to 2 February 2020 in Blackpool, England.
As you’ve got a whole TWO DAYS before you’re off on your next trip Heather, some of the Bootleggers line dance club wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas.
“When I first tried this didn’t know what to expect! But O M G!! It’s been amazing and such great laughs. I’m totally hooked and it’s all because of your enthusiasm and brilliant teaching and running out of words now other than thanks sooo much!! Love you to bits”
Julie A. class of 2019
” Who would have thought when I joined line dancing in 1999 that I would meet my husband and have our wee Blaire Bear.
You introduced me to Gregor in 2009 and the rest is history. Can’t believe how far you’ve come since then from your choreography to your world wide jet setting.
Not only am I proud to call myself a Bootlegger but your daughter in law.
So excited to see what the future holds for you . Love DIL”
Kayleigh C. class of 2000
“I joined Heather’s absolute beginners line dance group in February, mainly to get exercise and get out the house and into some company. Didn’t really hold out much hope of enjoying it as a previous experience of line dance wasn’t very good.
The minute I walked into Heather’s class I felt included by her and everyone else. The vibe was definitely good! And I’m still there! Lol. Heather takes time to explain steps and makes the class fun. At socials even if we forget the steps, it doesn’t matter. It’s all fun!”
Tracy C. class of 2019
“First of all I wanna say I am soooooo glad to be back at the dancing!! I joined all those years ago as a teenager, loved it then and love it even more now. Can’t wait for my little boy to learn too; your littlest bootlegger in the making.
You’re amazing at what you do cus and with everything you have gone through over the years you have come out even stronger!! Proud to call you my big cousin.Hope you and Steve have a wonderful Christmas and an amazing new year in your new home.”
Donna L. class of her own!
“I have to say a massive thank you – u have brought Amanda out of her shell and have the patience of a saint as I canny dance and struggle with the instructions. Not only Heather, but also the bootleggers family have been always welcoming and supportive so thank you.
What started as a ‘just try’ is now a huge hobby of mine. Thank you and Merry Christmas x x x x x”
Marie and Amanda C. class of 2018
“Hi honey I’m a woman of little words as you know. But I would just like to say I have known you for 25 years plus as my Teacher and Friend . Love your choreography – you work so hard . Keep up the good work . And here’s to the next 25 years xcx love Nancy xcxc”
Nancy D. class act!
“I’ve known Heather for a long time in her ‘day job’ and enjoyed hearing about her escapades with her line-dance friends and colleagues. I happened to see a poster for an Absolute Beginners class last year and thought I’d give it a go.
Let’s just say I’m not a natural-born dancer and leave it at that! I keep going to class and trying to get better though because of two things.
Heather is so encouraging and inspiring – her classes are always fun and I seldom come home without having had a good laugh as well as having learnt something new.
The people that go to Heather’s classes are as incredible as she is herself – they are genuine, caring, inclusive and generous. They pick you up and dust you down when you’ve had a rough time and share in your happiness when things are going well.”
Susie O. class of 2019
I have gone to your class for many years and have had the best time. We have great weekends away – so much fun. Thank you H, you are the best.
Christine F. class above!
“OK well as every one knows you are my Niece; 1 of many I have , and I am extremely proud of them all , however I am extremely super proud of you, every thing you do. I have known you all your life and have come to know that you have always had the aim in life to go out and get what you want ,
Not an easy thing to do but with the good hard work ethic that you have you have achieved it all. I was always very proud of you as the talented hairdressing business owner that you are but your line dancing for me has taken you to a whole new level.
I remember the days when you started it all – I wish I had stuck in then because through this you have changed my life.
The learning, the socialising, the fun and, for me, the exercise; you got me off my lazy fat butt and have helped me towards the slimmer, healthier woman I am today, so thank you so very, very much. I know we all love you very much, I know I certainly do xxx”
Helen L. class lass!
“I have known you all my life and couldn’t ask for a better sissy/ bestie or teacher. What you have achieved personally and socially is amazing – well done you. But more so the last few years with your dancing what a gal lol!
I’m beyond proud of you… The Real Deal Heather Barton xx”
Elaine N. High Class!
“Well where do we start to write about H a very talented courageous woman who is not only our dance teacher but one of our very dear true friends and has been for a very long number of years. We have been through the highs and lows in life together on many occasions.
H you have been a great inspiration and definitely have converted my two left feet at last after being one of your non dancing boots for a very long time.
So here’s to many more Bootleggers and friendship years with you.
Have a great Xmas and an amazing 2020
Big Hugs, Margo and Ian XXX”
Margo and Ian F. Top of the Class!
“Aunt H where do I start… I have known you all my life and been your little shadow since day one. You are the most caring, genuine, honest person I have ever met. You always put 110% into everything you do, not only in the dancing scene but personal. You don’t realise how many people’s lives you have changed for the better because of your welcoming, loving nature. 20+ years in the linedancing and still going strong. There have been ups and downs through it all but you always put your boots first. That’s why you’re a true inspiration and I’m so proud to say you’re not only my teacher but you’re my auntie xxxx”
Rachel S. Different Class!
“When I started line dancing it was something that was needed; didn’t know what to expect when walking through those doors but OMG how life is so different now to back then. You def have the patience of a saint, from what I’ve learned is you work so hard in all aspects of your life, always travelling far and wide and yet still have time for your bootleggers. You always seem to put everyone else first and no matter where you are in life you support everyone and anyone no matter if they are part of the bootlegger family or not.
You have helped Kayle come out of her shell as well as many others in and out of class. You have def created a perfect place for people to interact get to know each other and build lasting friendships, I’m happy to be a part of this like I can bet so many others are as well.
It’s been great being able to walk, or should I say dance this journey of ur next steps in life. Next year will def be a great year for u all, ty for everything u do, Merry Christmas xx
Michelle P. class of 2018
“Well boss we have been through a lot in the last 25+ years. You didnt just teach me to dance, you taught me my job!! You have believed in me when I never believed in myself. You have been such an inspiration to me all my life & I can never thank you enough.
You deserve everything that comes your way…..love you long time xx”
Louise R. Business Class!
and we leave you with this from our youngest dancer who sums up what we all feel…
“Heather you are truly such an amazing person, teacher and choreographer. You are so strong, kind and funny and I want to say thank you. So thank you for everything you do and for just being you! x”
Kendall B. class of 2018
Merry Christmas and all our best wishes to you and Steve for 2020.
I got home from Holland on Monday, went straight to teaching a line dance class, then at work yesterday and not had one minute to myself yet. Nothing new for me – I do like to be busy!
So… reflecting on HOLLAND… oh my goodness it was fabulous. The hotel – WOW! In all honestly I’ve never seen anything like it. The place is full (and I mean full) of antique stuff, but not cluttered. The hotel came in 3 parts and it was huge. The food was so yummy (well except the sausage thing lol ) and Steve loved it.
I was mainly DJ for the weekend and had a great time – what an amount of requests I had for the whole weekend.
On Friday I taught Sugarbird which I co-choreographed with Jeffke Camps. Our dance was well received and requested again over the weekend. It was amazing to see Jef and Lisa; a lovely surprise.
On Saturday we had an excursion to Pampus island ( think that’s it name) and although it was freezing cold on the boat the whole thing was very interesting, especially the old school bus that picked us up!
On Saturday evening I taught a fun contra dance but it had to be done in our “fun Scottish suits” what a laugh we all had; they’re not the easiest things to dance in!
I finally got to meet the very talented Billy Curtis this weekend. It was my first time hearing him sing and I really enjoyed it. It was fabulous spending time with him (even though I answered twice to him sayin “hey MUM!!!”) cheeky boy, and he can sleep for Scotland…
Anyway he called out Missing and no one knew it. I was wee bit shocked as they had known Cecilia and Almost Always, which I had also choreographed. So I decided on Sunday morning to teach it. BOOM they loved it and danced another 5 times from morning till night!
The whole weekend was just fabulous; new friends made with more amazing memories. Thank you to everyone for the lovely comments and company. Jan van den Hoogen thank you so much for inviting me to your great event – I loved everything about it and hope to see you all again soon.
You know that feeling when you read something you just cannot take in? Well that was me earlier this year. Sitting down with a cup of coffee checking my emails as you do, I had to read this one a few times before it even started to sink in – I’d been invited to be one of the instructors at World Dance Masters 2019, one of the biggest events ever in the line dance world!
WDM runs competitive and social events across the world and the worldwide talent it attracts is amazing, whether that is the competitors of all ages and dance levels, or the choreographers and DJs who host workshops and social dances. Though I’d attended a WDM event before, I hadn’t managed to get to any recently because of other commmitments.
So when I checked my diary and realised I could make it in August this year I was on Cloud 9 – and I’m still there after an incredible weekend spent with 1500 dancers from 30 countries across the world.
Steve and I arrived on the Thursday and went out for something to eat and it was fabulous right from the word go. We met up with LOADS of friends and created new ones. That set the tone for the whole weekend – we were just surrounded by and carried along with our dance family, no matter where they were from or what their dance experience or level. One gigantic family – the best!
Friday was DEMO day and oh my goodness I was absolutely shaking. I did a wee demo with my side kick and biggest supporter, my wee darling Steve. We danced ABBY’S HEARTBREAK, a nice 48 count Improver with loads of attitude that I had choreographed for the event.
The workshop where I was due to teach the dance was at 3 o’clock that afternoon and I was overwhelmed to find the room was so full that I couldn’t get on the dance floor. I was so nervous walking onto the stage, but soon as I started – BOOM – I loved it!
On Sunday I taught ROLLING WITH LOVE, an Advanced 40 count dance that I choreographed with the amazing Simon Ward. Again a packed floor for the teach and of course half way through in walked the main man. I think I did the dance proud and it was danced (and sung!) several times over the weekend.
Thank you Simon for asking me to do this fabulous dance with you – you took me out of my comfort zone, and I loved it.
Now in between all this I was Social dancing ( my feet have definitely fallen out with me). The venue for WDM19 was the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, an amazing place right behind the Blackpool Tower at one of the UK’s much loved seaside resorts, famous for its connections with dance and entertainment.
You had THE ARENA with your host Michelle Risley .. my goodness she was fantastic – she works so hard and was so welcoming to everyone that walked through her door. We loved it in there. Your Arena DJ was Cathy Hodgson who played a fabulous mix. We also spent a little time in the SPANISH HALL and that was hosted by Rachael McEnaney-White and Fred Whitehouse with big Dave Baycroft as the DJ and mammy Pauline Baycroft looking after all staff. Again a lovely warm friendly welcome with both halls catering for everyone’s taste in music and dance. A big thank you Pauline for feeding us – who has time to eat at these events?
In the EMPRESS BALLROOM were the competition dancers. They were totally outstanding – from the age of 3 years to around 80 – they can certainly move, and their styling and technique was amazing. Your DJs were Dave and Willie who did a great job. Steve and I sat in there after my Sunday workshop watching the competition finals, then again all evening watching the results show.
The parade of competitors was awesome with so many dancers competing from so many different countries. A massive well done to everyone; it was amazing to watch each and everyone of you and. I’m sure my make up ran a million times through the tears I had.
Huge congratulations to my friends Blaire Morgan, Joyce Plaskett and Misuk La, and to everyone else who won. You did fabulously well.
If I had to pinpoint one thing (well maybe two…) that I was totally overwhelmed with, I would choose being in the show on Saturday night – not only dancing with the WDM choreographers but also COUNTRYVIVE who were outstanding. We danced Blaze of Glory and I thinkI managed the arms! I am extremely honoured have been part of it. The other huge highlight was teaching in the Arena; that was just amazing! But if I’m honest just the whole experience from start to finish was awesome.
What I really want to say is to the whole team at WDM, Sam, Conor, Nicola , all the team mummies, also the volunteers, choreographers, DJs, Hosts and everyone that walked through the doors to attend this amazing event THANK YOU for making this an experience I will always treasure.
This year’s event was sold out completely so if you want to come and find out for yourself from 31 July to 2 August 2020 please book your tickets soon. It is an amazing and well run event and I am thrilled to be a wee part of its story.
There is an additional room added for next year which I am so excited about as it’s our very own Linedancer Radio room in the Pavilion. I will be doing some DJing in there along with loads of other things. Thank you David for having faith in me as one of your DJs.
1 March – Abilene, High Beam (written with Darren Mitchell), and 18 Ends (written with Lee Hamilton)
13 April – Goshdamn (written with David Thomas)
22 April – Almost Always (Over You) (written with Willie Brown)
15 May – Ladies in the 90s
29 May – Lucky Stars (written with Jamie Barnfield)
11 July – The Bull (written with Hayley Wheatley) This one has only just been released
What’s next for my choreography?
Now I’m looking forward to teaching at World Dance Masters in August and there will be two new dances to add to the list including some more incredible opportunities for collaborating with other choreographers. Watch this space…
Thank you to everyone who has supported me in alI I do, whether that is coming along to my classes, socials, and weekends, collaborating on my line dance choreography, teaching my dances, reviewing and voting for them, asking me to teach at your events, and of course dancing them!
But more than anything else, thank you for believing in me.