ARD – Albatros-Rain-Dancers
Renate Neander, Disaster-Dancers Rüsselsheim
It was a merry voyage: twenty-four square dancers on a twelve-day cruise across the Mediterranean Sea. The “Dominik-Tours” travel agency had organized the event in cooperation with square dance friends from Volksbildungswerk Stromberg, Germany.
We chose MS “Albatros”, known from the German TV serial “Crazy for Sea.” The cruise began and ended in Genoa, Italy. We visited Rome, Sicily, Malta, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Sardinia, and Corsica.
Our first shore leave was for Rome, Italy. In defiance of heavy rain, we danced on St. Peter’s Place, with a “wet blessing from above.” Since then we have called ourselves “The Albatros Rain Dancers”. We had two callers with us: Rainer Peter from the Berlin “Hippo Hubbubs” and Tony Instone from New Zealand. Nearly every day we danced on board the ship for about two hours. Dancing was sometimes difficult due to swell. In this case, we omitted superfluous turns, bumps, kicks etc.
Those responsible for on-board entertainment learned that we were performing American Square Dance and that we had something to offer. We, therefore, were integrated into the entertainment program. MS Albatros’ flyer of the day presented us as follows: “SQUARE DANCE With the ‘Albatros Rain Dancers’ in the Atlantic Lounge. Look forward to a special highlight: twenty-four good-looking, dynamic men and women dancing to lively Countryand-Western music. Enjoy looking at our merry outfit: stylish Western shirts, bolaties, colourful skirts and petticoats. Let yourself be surprised! Have a nice time, and ‘Square up!’ ”
The show was a smash hit. Not a single seat in the auditorium remained unoccupied. When the Captain heard about us and our performance, we received the following invitation for the next day: “Dear Guests, we proudly communicate that Captain Morten Hansen has invited you to visit the bridge.”
Of course we went there “properly dressed” and presented a sample of our art before the captain.
On the next shore leave we had better weather conditions. We climbed up Mount Etna in Sicily, Europe’s highest active volcano. Up on a lava field, we performed “Dancing On the Volcano”. Fellow passengers and tourists enjoyed the break very much.
Time and again, fellow passengers asked us about square dance, and we explained to them its attractive sides. We offered a trial afternoon which was well received. The guests showed much interest, and we could further disseminate the idea of square dancing.