Dancers put their talents on the line
By NERIDA BLOK
NATALIE HILL may have returned from Tamworth's Country Music Festival empty-handed, but the 10-year-old Lennox Head line dancer was undeterred.
"The experience was excellent. I'll go back again," she said.
"It doesn't matter if you don't win medals. It's just fun to be part of it."
Competing for the first time at the renowned festival, which attracts line dancers from all over Australia, the grade-five student from Lennox Head Primary School entered three events including duo, trio and team performances.
"It was a bit scary at first, but you get used to all the people," she said.
"I felt more confident as it went on."
While Natalie returned with experience, 14 of her 15 team-mates, bought home a swag of 38 medals.
"Six more than last year," said trainer and choreographer, 15-year-old Eleisha Went.
Eleisha, also of Lennox Head, credited the girls' success to plenty of practice.
"They trained every second day," she said.
"If I wasn't working they would have had more practice, and could have done better."
Eleisha said line dancing was judged on a list of criteria including footwork skills, complexity of the dance, timing, music appeal, presentation, technique and enjoyment of the dance.
"It's harder than it looks," she said.
"It's one of the hardest dances you can do."
And equally important for line dancers is a great cos- tume.
Mums Jane Lawrence, Sue Vidler and Jane Daniels who helped sew costumes ensured the Lennox Head girls looked their best at Tamworth.
"Line dancing is not just strutting your stuff. It is very competitive at Tamworth and, coming from a seaside village, I think we did fit in very well," Mrs Daniels said
The mothers also helped the girls raise $1000 before the competition to pay for new western-style cowboy boots.
"They cost up to $250, so for 16 girls it was way out of our league," she said.