C3A in Czech republic with Tony Colingwood


Because we are the right nuts, we took the risk and organized C3A dance in Bohemia. We got the idea in Gladenbach in the spring of 2007. Tony Colingwood caused people to split into two groups there by his calling. The first group liked when he called quickly and demandingly, the other group did not like it, and preferred stop & go. Somebody came to Johannes with the idea to do an extra event with Tony for the first group, but Johannes refused to organize it. We thought that this was a good idea, went on with it, and it was worthwhile.

It was really heroic to do such event for foreign dancers only. For many of them Prague is still too far. To come up with more reasons why they should come, we organized the event as a six day one with Tuesday as arrival day, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday taken by trips, and normal dancing done over the weekend.

Preparations were huge. First we agreed with Tony, when, and under what conditions he would be willing to come. He liked the idea, but warned us that his name might rather scare people off than attract them. But we wanted to do this event like an event for people, who are attracted to his calling, so we were not afraid of it.

Then we picked up the date. We knew that this was going to be in the summer, but to choose the right date we had to know about shows in England, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Luckily there was one free week left.

Then we needed to find a place to dance. This was harder. We found out that boarding houses mostly had only ten beds. We needed 40, which is a small hotel. But hotels cost much more money, and we could not afford it. Lenka found several places on the net, one beautiful day we jumped into our car and went to take a look. Except of one none of these places were any good. We only liked the one in Valnovka, in a small hotel. Forty beds, large dancing room and a separate diner. And we got a really good deal from the operator.

When we had a caller, date and place, all we needed to do was to print a flyer. This, of course, was peanuts; we took them to Gladenbach in the fall of 2007. At the same time we sent them to all known C3A clubs and dancers.

By the end of 2007 the answers were lukewarm overall, but that changed after New Years, and people started checking in. We needed at least 24 people, and at the end we had 40. All good dancers that could appreciate Tony. Approximately from April we knew that the event will at least pay for itself.

We also had some problems. The biggest one appeared in the spring when we called to Valnovka to confirm it and found out that there was a new tenant. It was the Fund for Endangered Children, but luckily with an enthusiastic and enterprising lady director, who accommodated us in everything, so we did not have to look for a new place.

Most small problems showed up at the time of the event itself. They were small things, but there was a bunch of them. Most of them were handled by Lenka without any trouble. Just at random: unplanned picking up of people in the middle of Prague, trip to a doctor with a sick participant, bus driver without navigation, pension staff speaking only Czech, absence of the right tea type for Liz from England, no cook or breakfast, and cold water in the showers.

We perfectly managed to keep dancers away from all these problems, so it was great for them, and they were grateful.

As the week went: Everybody arrived on Tuesday (except one couple, but they slept someplace else from Monday to Tuesday), we started with a dinner and voluntary C1 that was called by me.

On Wednesday we went for a trip to Prague. We hired an English speaking guide that improved the walk a lot. In the evening we again had voluntary dancing (but everyone showed up, just like every evening).

On Thursday we went to the Hluboká Castle, had lunch in the Park hotel, and then went to Krumlov. It was a long trip, and in the evening everybody had enough, but they still came to dance.

On Friday morning we went to Prague again, this time to a steamboat, and most of us for a free walk and shopping. And in the afternoon we started with the dance weekend.

Especially I should mention food. We did not want to torture people in any way and tried to give them as neutral and international cuisine as possible. But of course the Czech cook made every meal a little heavier than people were used to. We all took it with good humor, and only two of us ended with a stomachache. On Sunday we had a sirloin with heavy cream sauce as a good bye, and everybody handled it well.

The conclusion was that the event was a great success, and most people wanted us to repeat it sometime. We agreed and there should be a C3A event with Vic Ceder in 2010.