Bush dance lottery leaves you in the lap of the gods

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A nondescript rectangular building stands some distance from the small township it serves. At one end is the kitchen from which the local CWA ladies serve supper. At the other is the stage.

Down each of the side walls are rows of folding wooden seats.

The band consists of a large lady, of mature age, on the piano, an adolescent boy on a saxophone and a rotund, elderly man with a piano accordion who doubles as the MC and ‘lead vocalist’.

He tells us to take our partners for the Canadian Barn Dance. Would-be dancers form two concentric circles. Males on the outside circle, females on the inner one.

As the music starts, each circle does two ‘reverse pivots’ and dancers end up facing their next partner with whom they, briefly, circular waltz and then repeat the pivot process.

After dancing with a jovial grandmother, who is a worse dancer than I am, I engage with a gigantic lady who towers above me, shouts in my ear and moves me around as though I were a sheep that she was about to shear. ‘Reverse pivoting’ out of her clutches with a sigh of relief, I wonder what my next partner will be like.

Turning, arms outstretched, with a tentative but polite smile on my face I see … nothing.

Glancing down, I see a broadly smiling, freckle-faced girl-child who comes up to my breastbone. I sigh with relief. She tells me that this is her first bush dance and points out her proudly smiling mother and grandmother who are sitting on the sidelines.

By great good fortune, the music ends and I am able to escort her back to her proud relatives and thank her (and them) for having made my evening such a memorable one.

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to [email protected] and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.

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4 Comments

Total Comments: 4
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    Dance has always been a big part of my life. After 50 years of marriage, and my husbands statement that “it was unatural to be married to one woman your whole life, and the ensuing divorce all that ended. I rang for information re a dance that was going to be held locally, monthly, but was told it would be “a waste of my time to attend, if I did not have a dance partner”. As I no longer had a partner, and was a bit old to be attending pub discos it was the end of my dance. I am sorry about that ……dance is so good for you physically, mentally, socially ……….. all the things which are needed more as you get older

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      Are you sure there are no places for you to go, I know in the Illawarra there are quite a few places that still do barn dancing, country style dancing and line dancing, some of them also cater for singles, it’s not a dating place, it’s purely for men and women who still want to dance but don’t have partners.

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      I feel sure there would be dances somewhere that you could attend as a single once this Covid virus is dealt with. I know some country.dances were held mainly as means of fundraising and community entertainment where older people might not go without a partner unless they were part of the CWA catering team but there are places like Marburg in Qld where people go to enjoy dancing and I know people went there without partners. I used to go with a partner but he won’t go anymore and I don’t drive so can’t get there without him. I agree it is the best activity for keeping healthy. I have lived with fibromyalgia for 30 years and I’d say the only time I felt quite well in that last 30 years was the 2 years when we were going dancing nearly every weekend.

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      Tarabelle, I moved into a Lifestyle village a couple of years ago for the active over 55’s. Up until covid we held regular dances where a a lot of the single residents as well as couples enjoy themselves without feeling embarassed or uncomfortable. Everyone joins in and newcomers are made welcome.These villages may not be for everyone but for many it is an ideal way to really enjoy later life.That said I have never liked dancing. I always believed it was just a way of wearing out your shoes without getting anywhere.


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