Wednesday, August 15, 2018

DANCE AND MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS LOOKING!



Like I do, I’m sure many of you of my vintage and thereabouts remember the popular Go-Go dancers of the Sixties.  Throughout the Western world, crowds of happy, energetic revellers flocked to nightclubs and hotels to witness the mini-clad girls in their knee-high, high-heeled boots do the Watusi, Mashed Potato, The Frug etc., proving those boots were made not only for walking!

The energetic young ladies shimmied upon raised platforms, often encaged.
Not only did the Go-Go girls get a good work-out, so did the patrons.  Dancing - not getting “blotto” - was the aim of an evening out – and dance we did.  There was no stopping us.
  
“Dance Boss”, the family-friendly television show presently gracing our Aussie TV screens, where teams of workers from the same workplace etc., dance-off in dance battles, has stirred memories of a particular fun time of which I was part aka  instigator - back in the early Seventies.

 During the 14 years I was employed at the Queensland headquarters of a Sydney-based fashion company I held a few titles, one of which was “Office Manageress”, and another – unofficially - was “Functions Coordinator”.

Promotional evenings to launch new season lines were regular occurrences throughout any given year.  Spring, summer, autumn and winter stirred one’s creativity.
Part of my “cloak of many colours” was to assist in the step-by-step conception of the events, encompassing all avenues. Sometimes functions were held purely as PR exercises.

The evening I’m about to describe was for the latter purpose.  

A special affair to entertain our major clients e.g. Myers, David Jones and a number of other city fashion outlets was being planned.

Mostly, our promotional evenings were held in our showrooms. Sometimes they were held at an independent venue such as a restaurant. This particular event was to be held at The Courtyard Restaurant, which was situated at Bowen Hills, an inner-city (Brisbane) suburb.  The restaurant was owned and operated by an ex-Olympian.  As a weightlifter he represented Australia in the 1972 Summer Olympics.  He was also Australian shot put champion for a number of years.

The job of choosing the venue, menu, theme etc., for the night was my responsibility.  The planning of such events was never a chore for me.  Doing so was always lots of fun.  I loved everything involved.  I didn’t treat the job lightly, but organising those evenings was exciting, creative and interesting.  

Don’t ask me why because I’ve forgotten the reason, but, for The Courtyard function, I planned a Hawaiian-themed night, which meant, of course, Hawaiian music.   

Furthermore, everyone knows a Hawaiian party is not Hawaiian without hula dancers.  

The shocked looks on the faces of our three young general office lasses when I gently informed them they’d be on stage in the restaurant’s function room performing the hula is embedded in my mind.  Their reactions were priceless!  If looks could kill, I wouldn’t be here to tell the story. 

Every day, up until the night of the function, hula lessons and practice took over lunch hours, with me as the dance instructor.  It was a bit like the blind leading the blind, probably.  The only previous experience I’d had at grass skirts and hula dancing was as a little girl...I always went as a hula dancer to the local fancy-dress dances!  My brother, Graham always went as a pirate.  Instead, if I had gone as a pirate, I guess I could’ve turned the evening into a “Pirates of the Caribbean-Jack Sparrow” tribute...or, more sensibly, Errol Flynn...seeing Jack Sparrow wasn’t around at the time of the evening at the Courtyard Restaurant.  Sparrow was still flying about, sailing the high seas, pillaging, looting and the rest of it...

When I hired the hula skirts, the three about-to-be discovered stars realised there was no escape.  Their fate was sealed.

However, on the night of the function and their "professional", yet unpaid-for debut, the three girls stepped up to the plate/stage, and didn’t miss a beat or a sway. Once they got into the flow, realised their moment in the spotlight, it was difficult to get them off the stage.  They enjoyed the limelight and fame.  

With a beaming smile across my face, I was like a proud mother hen as I stepped up to the microphone when the music stopped playing, and the girls stopped swaying. 
Moulin Rouge didn’t come a-calling, though.  

Knowing my limitations, I stepped aside; returned the grass skirts; hung up my dancing shoes (my hula girls performed barefooted, so shoes weren’t an issue for them); and I left future dance instructions to the more experienced such as Todd McKenney, Andy Garcia, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Baryshnikov, Nureyev, Mia Michaels, Debbie Allen etc., etc., et al .

Slow-Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs: Combine 1kg beef mince ½ panko breadcrumbs, 2 eggs, 1/2c minced onion, 1tsp minced ginger and 2 minced garlic cloves; season; form into 24 balls. Heat olive oil in large pan; cook meatballs and brown on all sides, about 2-3mins per side.  Put in saucepan juice from 665g canned pineapple chunks, 3/4c brown sugar, 3tbs soy sauce and 3tbs vinegar; bring to a boil. In a small bowl whisk together 1/2tbs water and 2tbs cornflour; slowly add to sauce; whisk until thickened; season. Spray slow cooker; place meatballs in cooker; pour over sauce; add the canned pineapple chunks; cook on low, 2hrs.

 Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken: Using a pan or the cast aluminium slow cooker insert, brown 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs on both sides, 3-5mins over high heat; then remove from cooker. Add 2c pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks and 1 onion, cut into 1-inch chunks to slow cooker. Mix 3tbs honey, 2tbs soy sauce, ½ c brown sugar, 1yns grated ginger and 2 minced garlic cloves; add to cooker. Add thighs to cooker. Cook on Low 5hrs, or on High, 3hrs. Mix 1tbs cornflour with 1tbs water; add to cooker, along with 1 red capsicum, cut into 1-inch chunks; cook further 30mins.  Serve with rice.

Hawaiian BBQ Baked Beans: Add 840g rinsed, drained canned pinto beans, 460g rinsed, drained, canned cannellini beans and 460g rinsed, drained kidney beans to slow cooker. Add 1 diced onion, 1/2c tomato sauce, 1/3c packed, brown sugar, 1/3rd cup molasses, 2tbs white vinegar, 2tbs yellow mustard, 2tbs Dijon mustard, 1tbs Worcestershire sauce, 180g canned pineapple juice mixed with 1tsp cornflour and 1tbs Cajun spice. Cook on Low, 7-9hrs, or on High 3-4hrs; stir occasionally.  If too thick, add a little water; if not thick enough, cook longer. Just before serving, stir in 6-8 cooked, crumbled bacon rashers. Top with diced shallots, grated cheese and hot sauce, if desired. 



30 comments:

  1. I remember Go-Go girls, I saw them on TV, but was too young to be going to discos etc. I always wanted to learn those dances, but never did. I'd love to learn to hula too. I can imagine all the fun you had putting that night together :)

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    1. G'day, River. It was a lot of fun...those days and night...all of which seem so long ago now...and yet, on the other hand...strangely, not....if you understand what my meaning! :)

      It was a fun night, and the girls involved, even at the start of it all were out of their comfort zone, ended up having a ball, and were glad to have been involved.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  2. It does sound like a heap of fun. Without social media. Without rather a lot of things that are now considered essential...

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    1. Hi, EC...Yes...we didn't need those things...and we talked directly to each other, looking each other in the eyes.

      It was a lot of fun...thanks for coming by. :)

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  3. That must have been a very fun night for everyone.

    I remember the Go-Go dancers and wished that I could be one. My goals at that age were not very high.

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    1. Hi Arleen...It was a fun night, enjoyed by our guests and us...no harm done.

      Some of those cages the go-go dancers danced in were high, Arleen...so you can't say your goals weren't high!! :) A lot of young women yearned to be a go-go dancer...there was nothing wrong with that.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. What fun memories! They may have been nervous but i'm betting they look back on it with fondness.

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    1. Once the music started and the spotlight was on them, messymimi all their nerves disappeared and they performed like they'd done it a hundred times before. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. I think I would have been very unhappy with my boss for putting me on stage, but it sounds like they did very well. I had forgotten the word luau. Hawaiian themes for parties were quite popular.

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    1. Where's your sense of adventure and humour, Andrew? Life is full of risks! :)

      My girls soon got into the swing of things and were glad they did it. I bet to this day they still look back on that night and the part they played therein, with laughter.

      I caught up with one of the girls back in 2004 and we had a great time rehashing "the good old days"...and that night and their performance was a major feature of the time we spent together. We had a good laugh.. No harm was done...only fun memories made.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  6. When I was 13, I had a friend who asked two of her friends to wear go-go boots and stand upon a chest on either side of the room and dance. I was one of them and you know I did it! Let's see, I am thinking I remember the song "Mama Told Me Not To Come" and dancing to that. Guess I should have listened to that song! LOL! Hey, just looked it up, that was 1970, so I was 13. YAY, my memory is not dead yet. No grass skirt on me though.

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    1. Good on you, Kay!

      I've not heard Three Dog Night in ages....that song was written by the wonderful Randy Newman.

      There's no chance of your memory being dead, Kay! And you certainly don't let the grass grow under your feet! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  7. Your displayed Hawaian dishes also seem to dance a hula-hula; they look delicious!
    So, you were a dance instructor too, and quite a successful one! There appears to be no limit to your skills!

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    1. Hahahahaha! I was always up for a challenge and a bit of fun, DUTA...lots of fun. That's what life should be about...harmless, good fun. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  8. I am glad that none of my line managers instructed me to don a grass skirt and perform a hula-hula dance. Mind you, I guess that if somebody wishes to keep their job, they will do just about anything their line manager commands... Sit! Beg! Shake Hands!...There's a good boy!

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    1. I'm glad they didn't, too, Yorkie.

      My request wasn't quite as harsh as you seemingly have interpreted it to be. As a boss, I was never an ogre....only when someone deserved it...and then they got very short shift...mostly out the door. Do not pass Go...do not collect $200...and no grass skirt! :)

      Thanks for coming by. You can get up off your knees now. :)

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  9. yummy food, I lived in Hawaii in the fourth grade and loved wearing a muumuu, on the cruise ship over there we had hula lessons, we went because afterwards we were served ice cream.ha.

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    1. Aha! You could have joined the girls, Linda...made my troupe a troupe of four not three!! :)

      The muumuus are fabulous for summer wear....cool and flowing.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. I always love reading your posts …
    Fun memories you've shared again, thanks.
    Great recipe suggestions too.

    Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you, Jan. I'm glad you enjoy my posts. I try, in the main, to keep them upbeat.

      And thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. Ah those were the days I could dance all night. I was not good at dancing but the movement was like a tonic to my body and soul. Peace

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    1. Yes, Lady Di..those were the days when we danced all night...and loved every moment of it. I loved to dance....all night long! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  12. Sounds like you were a successful choreographer. Glad the girls enjoyed their performances and have wonderful memories as do you.

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    1. Hi Annie...I hope they do, too. One of the "girls" and I met up again in 2004 after many years had flown by and we had lots of laughs over the things we got up to back then. She'd since married, had a couple of children and divorced...life happens.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. LEE.It seems you have a 'For ever young' lifestyle, certainly not an old boiler but a spritely spring chicken. luvs ya.

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    1. Awwww....Gee! Thanks, Vest...you certainly have brightened my day. :)

      Thanks for coming by, too. :)

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  14. For someone who was very happy to talk in public professionally the idea of appearing on stage to dance would have received a very flat refusal. I appeared on stage once in my life in an office review as the Old Queen. By a quirk of good fortune I was a success but never ever repeated the effort. Oddly although I should remember Go-Go dancers I can't really envisage them. Google here I come.

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    1. G'day, Graham....The three young ladies were all in their late teens, and once they got over the initial shock they swayed to the melodies like troupers of old! :)

      They had an out...they made the final decision, to participate in the innocent bit of fun or not. I didn't tie them to the rack and torture them into submission! Just another story to add to the list of those to relate to their grandkids.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  15. "and another one bites the dust ♫♪♪" Five PMs in 5 years, how do you keep track?
    And where do they go?
    Trying your Hawaiian chicken soon, looks tasty. lyle

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    1. Hey there, goatman! They all end up as hula dancers in Honululu!

      I hope you enjoy the Hawaiian Chicken...I'll be there for dinner....just give me a time! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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