„Explore & Dance“ with Gary O’Reilly was my highlight in the line dance year 2018. Gary had informed us in advance that 180 participants from all over the world had signed up for this trip to Ireland in August. We didn’t know what was coming and who we were going to meet. The report about this trip will be written in any case. This below report is about two surprising encounters that I will never forget.
I stood in front of the hotel in Carlow waiting with others for the bus, which should pick us up to travel to the first destination. In this group, as so often during this trip, I asked the women standing next to me „From where do you come?“ Jean’s answer made me laugh, which most likely seemed strange to her. Why should I laugh that she was from Minneapolis in the USA and had travelled to Irland as part of a larger group of friends? I immediately explained to her that a good part of my ex-husband’s family lives in the Twin Cities and that many years ago I had attended the training of a line dance club in that area. At my request my sister-in-law had found the club and I told Jean about that evening. During the week I also talked to others in her group and at some point we were pretty sure that they belonged to the group I had been training with in Plymouth Minnesota in December 2008. It wasn’t until I got back home and looked through my old photos that I could „prove“ it. This meeting was the first very beautiful and interesting encounter. Here the picture of the travel group from Minnesota. Next time I am in Minneapolis I will certainly visit with them. Hopefully I will also meet with them again in Boston, Durham or Chicago for some more dancing.
I apologize for the long introduction. I just had to describe this unusual encounter because it was so unforeseeable for me and therefore so surprising. The dancers from Minnesota sat with us on the „Green Bus“ and among them a young woman whose face looked somehow familiar to me. Gabi from our small group from Franconia noticed the name tag and there she was: KERRY MAUS.
I “met” Kerry Maus for the first time in September 2017. I took part in the 20th anniversary celebration of the linedance club „Cookie and The Crumbs“, briefly called „Cookies“ in Schweitenkirchen in Bavaria. The “Cookies” had invited Hennecke von Ruitenbeek from the Netherlands to their big party. She taught several dances. The last one was“All Katchi, All Night Long“ by Kerry Maus. This workshop was received with great enthusiasm due to the music and the style of the dance. We – Modern Line Dance Bamberg – have this dance in our repertoire since then and it is still in 4th place on our Top 10 list of our improver/intermediate dances. At another event in May 2018 I saw Kerry’s dance „85„, again an AB dance, which she had choreographed with Rachael McEnaney. I liked it right away and I taught it to my group. It currently leads our top ten list of Int/Advanced dances.
There was Kerry on the bus with us. At the evening parties we danced “All Katchi” and “85” several times. During the trip I did a little interview with her, so that I can introduce her to you, the readers.
Kerry lives in Minneapolis. She is a designer, married and takes care of her two little sons, who are 3 and 6 years old. When she was 6, she and her brother started to line dance in her hometown Clear Lake in Iowa. Brother and sister immediately devoted themselves to line dancing. They trained diligently in their club and took part in line dance events outside of their state, for example in the TV show „Wild Horse Saloon“ in Nashville Tennessee or the show „Club Dance“ in Knoxville, which is in Tennessee as well. The videos show that line and couple dancing took place simultaneously at such events. So it’s no wonder that Kerry also learned couple dances from the beginning. In 1997 she started her studies in Ames Iowa. During this time she got to know her husband, with whom she still shares the joy of partner dances. They moved to Minnesota, when they had completed their studies. There she joined the group with no name that has its training room at the West Medicine Community Club in Plymouth. She now teaches there in rotation with other members of the group. Outside the group she offers courses at Stark’s Saloon for all levels from beginner to advanced dancers. Some participants come regularly. New interested parties can simply drop in.
Kerry choreographed her first line dance at the age of 14 together with a friend. As an adult she continued choreographing and presented her new dances at line dance competitions. In 2013 she won the 1st place Advanced Dance with her dance „Collarbone“. „All Katchi All Night Long“ was very successful: 1st place Amateur Choreography at Windy City LD Mania 2017 and also 1st place ABC Dance at UCWDC World Championship Choreography 2018.
A few days ago in Chicago she presented her latest dance „Fine“ to a beautiful groovy music track by Spencer Sutherland. This new dance looks like it could turn into another hit.
As mentioned, Kerry is a professional designer. Proof of her creativity are various motifs and logos she has designed for line dance events and t-shirts, such as Scott Blevins‘ „Have Fun Go Mad“ t-shirt! Gary O’Reilly loved Kerry’s own t-shirt so much, that he asked her to design the print on his t-shirts and jackets for Explore & Dance 2018. Everything we have done during this trip has been beautifully woven together in the motifs and this way our t-shirts are additional souvenirs of our trip to Ireland and of the very special Irish style line dance event. The report about Gary’s “Explore & Dance 2018” will follow!