by Martha Ogasawara (6/96)

There's C/W dancing in Japan ?! Really? Yes, it's true. Although still relatively unknown, C/W dancing is alive and well and definitely growing in popularity. I belong to a social dance club called Nagoya C/W Dance Fans "Crazy Feet".

First of all, let me tell you how we got started. All of our original members are also square and round dancers. Square dancing has been around in Japan for over 20 years, and there are square dance clubs all over Japan. Several years ago our area was hosting our National S.D. Convention, and some of us decided to get together and put on an exhibition of C/W dancing. At the time, we knew nothing at all about C/W dancing and all we had to go on were a couple of instructional video tapes that I had. Since there was noone to teach us, it took us several sessions just to master "The Freeze". However, we kept at it and were finally able after 8 months of practice to put together an exhibition of some line dancing, some Sweetheart Schottische, and some two-stepping. It was very well received, and more important all of us on the exhibition team decided that we liked C/W dancing so much that we wanted to keep doing it. So we formed a seperate club just for C/W dancing.

Until recently, we only met once a month. We have taught ourselves mostly from videos. I have become the main instructor mostly because I was the only one who could understand what they were saying on the videos. We meet one Sunday a month from 10 to 4:30. We meet in public halls and usually have from 20 to 30 people attend. In the morning we work on beginning/intermediate two step and east coast swing. In the afternoon we mostly line dance. We usually have an intermediate level line dance workshop and then dance the other dances we know so we don't forget them. However, once a month is not enough to get very good, and so recently we have started meeting once more for those who wanted to do more couples dancing. We've started teaching ouselves west coast swing, my current favorite. We also workshop an advanced line dance as well.

Because we've taught ourselves from videos, we've been taught by the very best. Our favorite line dance instructor is Charlotte Skeeters. Our favorite couples dance instructors are Robert Royston and Laureen Baldovi. We also enjoy Jo Thompson's videos very much. So you can see that we've been taking lessons from the cream of the cream, so to speak. Some of the line dance workshops that we've done recently are "Whipped", "Crazy Legs", "Bad Dog Boogie", "Honky Tonk Twist" and "Boogie Back To Texas". Some of our current favorite easy level line dances are "Reggae Cowboy II", "Go Go's Stomp", "Cruisin'", "Sleazy Slide" etc..

Next month I'll tell you about some of our other activities and also about C/W dancing in Japan in general. Until then.