STAFF PROFILE: Spending her time walkin' the line

By Leslie Kostal
November 17, 2011

Line dancing

Paul Mayne, Western News
Several years ago, Margaret Moulton, financial assistant and health/safety administrator, Department of Earth Sciences, turned to line dancing for a creative outlet. And she hasn’t stopped ever boot scootin’ boogin’ since.

While living with her young daughter in Huddersfield, U.K., Margaret Moulton was crushed over a broken relationship. Fortunately, she discovered a way to relieve her stress and peel back layers of her naturally shy character.

How did she do it? She simply stepped in line.

“Oh, it’s a stress releaser,” Moulton says of her passion for line dancing. “When you’re there you have to pay attention, otherwise you’re messing up. So you concentrate and it just melts the stress away.

“I can’t believe how good it is at that.”

The financial assistant and health/safety administrator, Department of Earth Sciences, explains how in many small working men’s clubs in England, line dancing is all the rage.

“On every corner there’s a little club which is a social club,” she says. “You go there, even as kids while your parents are there, and they’ll have entertainment and spend the afternoon.”

Electric Slide. Stroll Away Cha Cha. Boot Scootin’ Boogie. “It goes on and on,” she says. “Names get really silly after a while.”

Moulton says one of the best aspects about line dancing is your partner; that is, you don’t need one.

Despite never having danced in school, and with no musical background, her feel-good repetitive step sequences caught the attention of her fellow club-goers. “When they saw me dance they asked if I would be interested in instructing and I kind of laughed at them,” she says. “And then I thought, ‘OK, I’ll try.’”

Weekend courses on dance instruction gave her the confidence to take the challenge.

“There is a lot of preparation to it,” Moulton adds. “When people say that looks easy being up there for an hour, the hour is the fun hour. You’ve got to find the music, get the dances, learn the dances, tweak the dances and learn how to call them.”

Her terrific timing with dance was outdone by an astonishing coincidence in life.

After five years of teaching, and while preparing for her return home to London in 2000, she met a multiple award-winning and world-famous line dance choreographer/instructor, Peter Metelnick, also from London. He was not planning a return home, but was looking for an instructor.

“We had a little bit of a teaching interview,” she says. “And then away I went.”

Upon her return home, Moulton had 17 classes. From 2000-05 she also participated in line dance competitions in Fort Wayne, Ind. “But rather than straight dance,” she says, “we did more like a little bit of a skit, a comedy sort of thing.”

Moulton incorporates a little bit of everything – waltzes and cha chas, tangos and night club two-steps. “All the rhythms that you have anywhere else, we do that in line dance,” she says.

Two years ago, the University of Western Ontario Staff Association hired Moulton for its annual retreat.

As an exercise, it’s whatever you put into it:  bigger steps, bigger kicks, bigger profit. If you concentrate on upright positions and hold those muscles in tight, it’s going to do great for you, she says. For every session, Moulton tries to teach 10 dances for each level. At the beginner level, you’ve got basic steps – a vine, step quarter turn, step touches.

“It’s something that I think I can carry with me all my life,” she says. “It’s something when I retire that I can still be in. It’s good for the heart, good for the rhythm and good for the mind.”

Leslie Kostal, web administrative assistant, Department of Economics, writes periodic pieces profiling Western staff members. If you, or someone you know, has an interesting story to tell, e-mail Leslie.Kostal@uwo.ca.























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