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Putting Pizazz in Your Freestyle Routine
Dancing Paws of Maine was pleased to host Kathy LaBella for a members-only series of presentations on Facebook.
Kathy uses her background in international folk, contra, round, square dance and vintage dance , along with her experience coaching freestyle teams to create an excellent workshop which addresses areas such as Musical Style, Musicality, Costumes, Props, Makeup and Theatricality.
The pandemic forced Dancing Paws of Maine to abandon the idea of a live freestyle competition in 2020. As a compromise we hosted a video event, with the traditional gift bags mailed to all participants and video entries posted to a private Facebook group where exhibitors could see each other’s performances and vote for the “People’s Choice Awards.” It was a little more labor intensive than a normal video competition, but allowed the participants to feel more connected than a video competition would have allowed.
Julie Flanery Workshop
By spring of 2020 it had become clear that our training facility would not be opening anytime soon, and our regular activities would be on hold. So we arranged to have Julie Flanery, founder of Rally Freestyle Elements, popular Fenzi Dogsports Academy instructor, and all around fun trainer, conduct a three-day seminar on Facebook. Participants submitted videos and asked questions on a broad range of topics related to freestyle training and performance, and Julie reviewed or answered as was appropriate. We learned a lot!
Our first live competition took place in Milford, NH. A generous sponsor made it possible for us to bring in judge Carrol Haines from Oregon. Arlene Zingale handled the music seamlessly, and friend and supporter Nancy Marston managed to take some great pictures (some are even on this website!) AND perform with her dog Bea.
We had veteran exhibitors and several new to live freestyle competition who were introduced to the “extras” that make live events special and fun. Club member Paula Winsor received a special award for her contributions to the sport in our area.
This was the year Dancing Paws of ME decided to go big. Trifecta! brought three of our favorite freestyle gurus, Diane Balkavich, Michele Pouliot, and Julie Flanery, for three information-packed days of instruction, food, drink and fun. Diane became ill and passed away shortly after the weekend, so our memories are cherished but bittersweet.
Michele Pouliot Seminar
As a fledgling club, eager to learn as much about freestyle as we could, and with the support of two generous sponsors, Dancing Paws of Maine hosted Michele Pouliot for one day of private lessons and a two day worshop in October. Michele gave us valuable insight into our training and our understanding of the sport of freestyle.