Line-dancing teacher kicks up a storm
A Dundee teacher has won one of the top awards in line dancing for a routine he created in his kitchen.
Robert Lindsay received a Crystal Boot Award - the equivalent of Oscars in the line-dancing world - at a glitzy awards ceremony in Blackpool earlier this month for his dance, Firecracker. The awards are voted for by readers of Linedancer Magazine, which is based in the UK but reaches line dancers in 28 countries.
The dance, written to Latin pop song "You Set My Heart on Fire" by Helena Paparizou, has taken the line-dancing world by storm.
It was launched by Mr Lindsay in August last year for intermediate dancers. By October, he had travelled to Chicago and the Costa del Sol to teach the moves. He has also been "inundated" with requests from enthusiasts around the globe, and footage of Mr Lindsay teaching the dance on YouTube has received 30,000 hits. Other videos of dancers trying the pivots, shuffles and coaster steps he put together in his home in Broughty Ferry have also received thousands of hits.
But none holds a candle to Mr Lindsay's own rendition of Firecracker. Dressed in cowboy boots and shirt, he glides across the stage, every step, wiggle of the hips and kick in perfect time to the music.
Yet unhappy circumstances led Mr Lindsay to take up line dancing in 1996. "My son died when he was just a baby," he says. "My wife and I took up line dancing for something to do and it snowballed from there. It was a devastating time but line dancing provides you with another family from all over the world. You go out to a line-dance event and you can be feeling low, but you end up with a smile on your face."
Mr Lindsay, a learning support teacher, decided to take exams and qualified as a professional line-dance instructor with the United Kingdom Alliance of Dance in 1997.
At Craigie High, pupils' reactions to Mr Lindsay's hobby vary. They often start with a scathing attitude, he says, but this changes after they see him in action.
"They've seen me in the newspapers now and on YouTube - you can't hide it," he says. "Originally, it was a case of 'oh God!', but that's because they think we dance to old-fashioned country music. When they see you dance to people they can identify with, whether it's a rap band or Scissor Sisters, they start to say they didn't realise it was as cool as that. Now I think my street cred has actually gone up. Most of them think it's great."
Mr Lindsay's children, Christopher, 15, and Rachael, 10, are among his fans, and staff at Craigie High witness his skills every Monday, when he runs a class for them.
Much as Mr Lindsay enjoys his hobby, he has no plans to turn it into a career. "I came to teaching later on in life. It was my ambition, so I don't have any plans to leave. Also, I think it's nice to keep line dancing as a hobby and not turn it into something I have to do."
Apart from the award, Mr Lindsay was in no doubt about another key highlight: "The DJ was playing all the popular dances and mine was played. I really can't describe how amazing it was to see 800 people doing my dance."
To see Mr Lindsay in action, go to www.tes.co.uk2582594.