Hubley, Libby (speech) - Taking step-dancing onto the stage | Bowing Down Home

Transcript

File: hubleylibby-oh-stepdancingchanges_M.mp3


Speakers:

LH – Libby Hubley


LH: Now, I wasn't the first step dancing teacher. There were others before me but not for very long, I wouldn’t say. I think that change came because when I came to step dancing I also brought with it whatever my experience had been, and I came up through National Dancing, which was not totally new. It’s not like going from ballet to step. But you're probably getting dancers who are trained, who are already concerned about presentation. And that's a big step when you're talking about step dancing; when you’re going from the kitchen to the stage. That was the hardest thing I had to do. When I decided to teach, I was going to make that transition and that was that stepdancing was not going to stay in the kitchen. It was going to go on the stage, because that whole kitchen scene was not working in this generation. That music after supper beside the stove with the fiddle came down and everybody jigged around a few steps, that was something that wasn't happening in the average household on PEI. And I don’t think anywheres else. And I think the fiddle music also suffered from that. In other words, the young people didn't have the opportunity to hear it or to be a part of it. But anyway, when I started teaching that was a conscious effort I made, and what did I have to give up – Would step dancing go from the kitchen to the stage and still be a popular entertainment piece, shall we say?And I found there were things that were lost. Things that I got into was costuming, We’d all go in our jeans and our tank tops and sweatshirts and whatever, and I thought, “No, that’s not where we’re going to go.” So when I started thinking of costuming, I looked at a lot of things. I looked at traditional material, and a sense of what was PEI and colors that were PEI, and the costume isn't a dress that you would wear but it's a little bit of a folk costume. When I first looked at the dancers, all the girst wore slacks. Now I didn’t think that was right, I thought I’d bring back the old look. And to get the girls dancing, they needed to look more like girls when they were dancing. And so the costume is very feminine, it’s a girl's dancing costume. I've had boys, and every boy I have trained has been an exceptional dancer. If you can get a male that's interested in dancing, it's likely he's coming with a great deal of natural talent. He’s fitting into it, you’re not teaching him to dance. You’re teaching him the steps and he’s doing the dancing, almost before you can teach him. And they had to go through dancing classes the only boy and if I had a hundred students I might have three boys.