National battle for dance title
Horsham has found itself gripped in a battle with a Queensland school over a unique world record.
Horsham Nutbush dance enthusiasts find themselves having to win back a hard-fought Guinness World Record they set in 2015.
In fact, Horsham will have to more than double the number of participants in a fresh Nutbush dancing world record attempt on November 26 to wrestle back the title.
Organisers had planned to simply consolidate the record next month before hearing confirmation that Rivermount College, in Yatala Queensland, had set a new record of 522 dancers.
Horsham initially set the benchmark with 254 dancers. News of the record went around the world, prompting international challenges to claim the title and finding its way onto internet sites dedicated to American performer Tina Turner.
Turner’s Nutbush song provides the beat for a ‘Nutbush’ form of line dancing that reached its zenith in nightclubs around the world in the 1980s.
Horsham councillor and Nutbush record attempt spokesman and event manager Mark Radford said he considered the Yatala achievement as a case of ‘throwing down the gauntlet’ and welcomed the challenge.
“I almost fell off my chair when I heard the news,” he said.
“The goal posts have shifted for the battle to be the Nutbush dancing capital of the world.
“So, it’s game on for Horsham and the Wimmera.
“People have been dancing, and continue to dance, trying to claim the Wimmera’s title.
“Now it has happened. Congratulations to Rivermount College. So how will we respond and can we win it back? Now is not the time to be timid.”
Rivermount College, providing education for students from prep to year-12, took on the dancing record to promote healthy and active lifestyles.
In the past three years, Nutbush dancing record attempts have occurred across Australia as well as overseas, all failing until now to overtake Horsham’s title.
The most recent attempts have been in Bendigo, Canberra, Hills in NSW, Ballarat and now Yatala.
Horsham’s last attempt required a considerable recruiting effort to get people dancing in unison at Horsham City Oval.
But on Sunday, November 26, between 5pm and 6pm, again at Horsham City Oval, organisers need people en masse to be part of the challenge.
The original world-record attempt was based on generating money for the redevelopment of Horsham Town Hall and to raise the profile of music, dancing and the performing arts.
“This time it is mainly for fun with the added incentive that flow-on money generated will go to the town hall, which has been such a great success story,” Mr Radford said.
He said participants would have a free dance lesson in the lead-up to the attempt, a uniform t-shirt and a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience to be part of a world record attempt.
“All we ask of people is an hour of their time on the Sunday, a $20 registration fee to cover costs and a donation of their skill and enthusiasm to reclaim our record. There is a discounted entry fee of $15 each participant for school groups,” he said.
Guinness World Records only allows five percent of dancers to dance incorrectly. The 2015 attempt was near perfect, with only two dancers disqualified.
Dance instructor Lynne Mckenzie said there were at least four ways to do the dance.
“We will teach everyone the correct steps and practice for the full five minutes and 15 seconds. Everybody needs to attend at least one dance class before the event to qualify to participate,” she said.
“Our dance instructors are also out and about. During the next few weeks, exercise and fitness classes, primary and secondary schools, even the corporate boardroom – we can come and teach the steps and within a few minutes of quality dancing... you are in.”
So far, students from Horsham Lutheran and 298 primary schools have had dance classes for their students.
Horsham College students are dancing and other schools have shown interest.
There is a special trophy for the school that provides the most dancers for the attempt.
Mr Radford encouraged parents to have a go and dance with their children.
The age range for the 2015 attempt was eight to 90.
Public dance classes are at Horsham’s May Park every Sunday between 4pm and 5pm.
During Horsham’s Kannamaroo Festival weekend, classes will be in Pynsent Street on the Friday night, with a final ‘last chance’ opportunity on the Sunday.