Bush Dances are a time honoured and unique Australian cultural invention that were very popular in the 1970s and 1980s, and remain so today. They are great fun for parties, birthdays, wedding, anniversaries, as well as club and school functions.
The dances are based on old English, Scottish and Irish country and ceilidh dances. In recent years the repertoire has been widened to include European and Middle Eastern dances.
While it is possible to dance the steps in a time-honoured way, eg as in the colonial dance styles, most Aussie bush dances are rough and ready and the dancers walk or skip the steps.
It is typical of an Aussie Bush Dance that the dance caller walks the dancers through the steps before the band plays the music.
Paul Jenkins is Bushwahzee’s dance caller extraordinaire, and other band members have learned the trade from him.
Paul’s favourite dances to call at a Bushwahzee bush dance are Galopede, Heel and Toe Polka, Troika, Stockyard, Bush Hubba Hubba, Bush Tango, Pride of Erin, Barn Dance and Hokey pokey
The dancers are usually given the occasional break and the band sings some Aussie classics like Click Go The Shears, Flash Jack From Gundagai Botany Bay, Black Velvet Band, I Still Call Australia Home, I Am Australian and Waltzing Matilda.
Nearly every bush dance has a slightly varied timetable and the dance schedule is adapted by the band to the needs of the event.
Sometimes circumstance or budget doesn’t allow a full bush dance, and in this case a Bush Dance Workshop can be just as much fun.
One of the Bushwahzee band members brings an iPod and a playback system and teaches the dancers the steps, and runs through the dances with recorded music.
This format is great for school camps, classroom programs and retirement villages