Myth – Challenge - Fun
Renate van der Beek, Colonia Swingers
From 8th to 10th October 2010 the 24th Pader Rodeo took place in Paderborn, and we were there.
Friday, 8. 10.
This year we could start really early, thanks to our understanding employers, and off we drive to the Autobahn A 1 in the direction of the Ruhr area, full of anticipation of the Pader Rodeo. I still remember when, about three years ago I heard about the Pader Rodeo for the first time: ”That is a unique experience”, “very terrific callers”, “so many squares”, with that I saw bright shining eyes and the visible joy of the persons reporting. For me it was certain: that’s what I’d like to experience, too.
At the first break at a service area on the Autobahn we already see some square dance stickers on a car and also meet in the restaurant dancers that we vaguely know. We nod to each other confirming: ”We will certainly meet again tonight on the dance floor”.
Our navigation system indicates “Traffic jam on the route” and wants to divert us on to a side road. This time we were not taken in by this: You must know that last year we were dragged by our navigation system through the city centre of Soest for one hour during heavy rain and beginning darkness.
We stayed on the A44 and were rewarded by a sky that got bluer all the time. The short periods of slow-moving traffic were not a reason to leave the autobahn as other drivers confirmed to us later on.
At the youth hostel in Bad Driburg we are greeted friendly and move into a large room with our own bathroom – and five beds. As we have decided relatively late this year to participate in the Pader Rodeo, there was not so much choice of accommodation. Last year we were accommodated in the Paderborn youth hostel that we can also recommend. It is situated some kilometers closer to Cologne, but Bad Driburg is nearer to the dance place. As at other square dance specials, the Pader Jumpers offer overnight accommodation (even including breakfast) in the hall or the possibility to stay near the hall in the motor-caravan.
In the foyer of the Eggeland-Hall the registration works well and quick as generally the whole organization does during these three days. The hall is ideal for such an event: There is a proper kitchen, a small dining-room, numerous parking lots, clean toilets and several changing rooms. In the basement you find a restaurant (I think there is also a skittle-alley, but we were there for dancing) and even space for square dance shops. The hall itself is a gym, but improved by wooden paneling and a bar at the gable-end. The wooden walls are nicely decorated, there is a large and a small stage and some rows of tables with chairs.
About twenty squares are already on the floor expectingly when Thorsten Geppert, the club caller of the Pader Jumpers, steps onto the stage. Thorsten introduces the two other callers: Stefan Förster and Barry Sjolin, a Canadian. You are quickly aware that the chemistry is right between them. The first tips are in progress: The dancers get used to the somewhat strange voices and unfamiliar phrases between the calls, the callers are testing carefully the limits of the dancers. I’m just thinking of my first evening at the Pader Rodeo two years ago, just three months after my graduation: Thorsten then called a “right and left through”, and as I was standing on the left side of the couple I thought “but that’s not possible”! But somehow it worked, and the speed at that time was a real challenge for me - no, it was no Hot Hash, but it seemed like it to me sometimes.
Today the dancing is not exactly slow, but it is really fun: Just the right mixture of quick and slower pieces of music, amazing figure sequences and proven singing calls. The dance floor fills up, and the first Special habits are becoming commonplace: when you reach the Home Position the triple clapping is followed by calling out “zack bumm”, first from some single squares, then from more and more. A groovy evening like a specially successful club night.
I admire all those who have still the energy to stay for the afterparty and to dance again, as on the small stage there will be more music later on. Some day I will be strong enough to hold out and be there, but now all I want now is to take a shower and go to bed.
Saturday, 9. 10.
The breakfast is better than you would expect in a youth hostel. And as we hear from other Colonia Swingers members later on, accommodation in a hotel or guest-house is in no way a guarantee for better comfort. But you can also rent a holiday apartment. The first year when we came here we shared a holiday apartment with four other people, and so we had enough space on Saturday morning to practise the strange “right and left through” from the “wrong” position, just to be on the safe side.
Today there are many more dancers, the parking lots are getting scarce, and also in the changing rooms it’s getting crowded. Or is this only because we ladies taking up so much more space due to the petticoats?
There is a sort of workshop atmosphere in the dance hall: the big hall is separated into two small halls by a separating wall coming down from the ceiling. At all entrances you find lists showing the callers with their program and the hall. The dance program extends up to the level A2, but Mainstream can be danced all the time in one of the two halls. More and more dancers we know are arriving, among them happily also a large number of Colonia Swingers.
The cake buffet fills the whole short side of the hall, and the dancers form the usual line. Waiting in front of the buffet is just a part of it all and it is interesting due to the conversations, which you have no time for in the squares. For me it’s o.k. if a single person joins a group in front of me in the line. But what is not o.k. for me is when people continue to join someone waiting some meters ahead of us and the group gradually grows into more than twelve persons, apparently without anybody noticing. The coffee and cakes are good and tasty nevertheless.
We still danced a while and then took a longer break in order to take a shower and change. Thus we missed a couple of tips, also at least one with a caller “from the floor”, i.e. Hans Kabierske, the other club caller of the Pader Jumpers, but we were fresh again for the evening program.
Also the hall has been improved. The separating wall has disappeared. The banners are hanging on one wall in several rows one above the other, the flags of the participating countries, the bar, and the rows of tables make you think of a pavilion or a marquee. There are the announcements as usual, here with impressive numbers: 585 guests from 59 clubs and 7 countries if I understood everything correctly, as well as a special honouring of Thorsten Geppert for his many years of calling.
Every dancer could dance his personal highest level during the day, and now everybody enjoys very relaxed the Mainstream dancing presented by these three callers. The use of the “zack bumm” when arriving at the home position introduced yesterday is already almost expected by the callers, and also the specially elegant movement called “Stefan Förster Slide Thru” introduced during the afternoon is shown now and then. Thorsten Geppert lets his “little orchestra” perform now and again behind the curtain following a special request, and at the end of the evening all three callers are together on the stage and enjoy their show at least as much as the dancers.
Yes, there was also an afterparty, apparently lasting until four o’clock in the morning. Where do these people get their energy from?
Sunday, 10. 10.
With bright sunshine we begin again the next morning in the well-lit hall. The dresscode, although “Square Dance attire is requested for all sessions, please” on the flyer, has been clearly loosened. Some dancers have not finished dressing yet and just button up their shirts while dancing the “circle left”, or they dance in a track suit with their petticoat, others are already dressed for driving home and dance in their street clothes and socks and stockings for a last tip and then another and another...
There is an informal atmosphere. During these three days we became acquainted with each other, we freshened up old friendships and found new ones; we danced, laughed, and ate together. The remaining cake is distributed free together with the coffee. Everybody is satisfied and happy that all, once again, has been going on so well, and we arrange to meet for the next Pader Rodeo: In 2011, it will take place from 7th to 9th October, and with Thorsten Geppert will call Paul Bristow (yes, the one from the Do Si Dome) and Jet Roberts (is there anyone who knows him?)
The Pader Rodeo was absolutely worth its money (18 € for the whole weekend). Now it’s me who goes home and can report to the others about it: “The Pader Rodeo is great, a really unique experience, you must definitely go there!”
The official part is finished by a last and a very last tip and a Big Circle as wide as the hall in which the three callers are honoured with a last well deserved applause. The big Good Bye begins, and we also prepare to go home.
We’re home. ZACK BUMM!
Transl.: Hartmut Heiber