Country Dancing

A Line Dance Step Back In Time (Part 2)

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This is a continuation of last month’s article taking a line dance step back in time with Tricia Wayne-Griffin. I ended with Tricia and her husband living in Utah; so I’ll pick up the story from there. They both attended classes to obtain their CWLDA (Country Western Line Dance Association) judge certifications. They were quite a team – she taught, he DJ’d and they were partner dancers!

Photo above: Tricia prepping for a parade in Salt Lake City, Utah on flatbed in the early 1990’s.

They went on to judge line dance competitions throughout the western U.S. for 5 years, all this while Tricia worked full-time, taught full-time, and trained other instructors in the Country Heaven Dancers ‘way of teaching.’ She mandated that no one could charge for lessons using her step patterns! The group had classes 7 nights a week in Salt Lake City and performed often, including theme parades, during which they danced on the bed of a moving 18-wheeler where Tricia was always at the back. She felt that if anyone would fall off, it should be her! Imagine keeping your balance to line dance as the truck rode up and down the mountains in Utah!

Tricia taught over 200 people in her farewell class at the Westerner; from there, in the early 1990’s she moved ‘out to the boonies’ in Arizona and started from scratch to form another group of Country Heaven Dancers. Tricia started using different genres of music for their performances; this all-women group was in great demand and she created a “Trashy Women” show complete with saloon girl costumes and burlesque skits! Legend Chris LeDoux requested her group as backup dancers to perform the LeDoux Shuffle!

Tricia moved to Pennsylvania in 2005 and continues to teach occasionally; every year she is blessed to make a trip back to attend line dance classes in Germany, where her daughter still lives. She welcomes emails (griffin.tricia@gmail.com) and would love to hear from anyone who has danced with her in the past.

After hearing about Tricia’s life of line dance, I found it interesting that she was able to form several different groups of line dancers over the years. All the dancers were dedicated to learn and practice and she took the reins to fine tune them to perform at events and in parades.

As a teacher in today’s line dance world, one of the issues I struggle with is maintaining a consistent group of dancers. I’m happy to have beginners join my class; however, it’s a juggling act to keep brand new dancers interested while also making sure the seasoned dancers are happy and challenged with dances at their level.

I will end with a great piece of advice from Tricia that rings true to this day, “You can attend line dance classes until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t go out to practice and dance in real life, it’s just no fun.” Amen, Tricia!

Dori Yez teaches Country Line Dancing on Mondays at Rolling Mills Bar in Girard, Ohio and occasionally on 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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