Na­tional bat­tle for dance ti­tle

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

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.

Prac­tice

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.

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