Country Dancing

A Line Dance Step Back in Time (Part 1)

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This is the first of a 2-part article; there were too many details that I wanted to include, so stay tuned for part 2 next month! In October 2018, I met Tricia Wayne-Griffin and recently had the opportunity to interview her; I definitely took a step back in time while listening to how she got her start in line dancing! During the entire conversation, Tricia had a smile on her face and it was evident that all the aspects of her line dance journey have been wonderful.

The Country Heaven Dancers were started in the early 1980’s by two Air Force Sergeants (Jim and Woody) stationed together in Germany. Tricia’s daughter went to their class in 1984 and told her mother about it; after accompanying her daughter to the next class, Tricia was ‘hooked’ and attended regularly. To keep the various step patterns organized, Tricia started writing down what she learned in class and eventually provided little ‘step sheet’ booklets for everyone. Back then, all the dances were easier to ensure the majority of people could follow and learn. (See a sample of Tricia’s step pattern below with the Country Heaven Dancers logo that she designed)

When Jim and Woody were reassigned, they left their Country Heaven Dancers group under Tricia’s guidance. She continued teaching classes on the Air Force base with both Germans and Americans attending regularly. Unfortunately, it became more difficult to sign the Germans onto the base, so Tricia moved the classes off base. The Germans were happy to be able to continue, as they loved ‘American Country’ and dressed as authentic as possible! The group had plenty of opportunities to dance every weekend and began following a local band. In turn, the band supported the dancers when they performed at festivals, which was quite often.

Tricia moved back to the States and taught at the Westerner Club in Utah, which was the biggest dance hall out west with a 3,000 sq. ft. dance floor! She was co-founder with a group of various instructors and formed the Utah Line Dance Coalition. In the early 1990’s they were affiliated with the CWLDA (Country Western Line Dance Association).

Next month I will continue Tricia’s line dance story in Utah and then move onto Arizona and Pennsylvania. In the meantime, if you would like to contact Tricia, you can email her at griffin.tricia@gmail.com. Please don’t ask her for a snippet of next month’s article, I want you to read it here first!

Dori Yez teaches Country Line Dancing on Mondays at Rolling Mills Bar in Girard, Ohio and Thursdays at the Landmark Hotel in Mercer, PA. For more information, check out their Facebook pages. Dori also teaches line dance at the Cortland Ohio SCOPE Center on Fridays.

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