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Country rock band teaming up with VIU Spirit Team line dancers

Tailgate, a Comox-Campbell River band, will play a full four-set night Aug. 5
Jocelyn Pelletier, left, Mark Brodhagen, Kim Heppell, Art Vipond and Bruce Nichols will return, alongside the VIU Mariner Spirit Team, to the Queen’s Hotel in Nanaimo on Aug. 5. (Submitted photo)

A country rock band, with the help of VIU’s dance team, will bring a boot-scootin’ good time to the Queen’s.

Tailgate, a Comox-Campbell River-based group, will perform Friday, Aug. 5, at 10 p.m., accompanied by the VIU Mariners Spirit Team.

Art Vipond, band manager and guitarist for the group, said they enjoyed having the spirit team teach line dancing so much at a performance this past spring that they had to have them back.

Vipond said with or without teachers, line dancers always seem to show up for their shows.

“To our surprise, we didn’t think we were very well known as a line-dancing group. We kind of just do this as a fundraiser,” said Elissa Miranda, a student coach for the Mariners.

Miranda, who was a driving force for the choreographed dance style in the group, grew up in a small town where “two-stepping” is just what they did all the time.

“And, in my opinion, it doesn’t happen too too often in Nanaimo,” she said, and added that the team liked being able to provide the opportunity. “At first we were the only people who were dancing and then every time that [Tailgate] took a break in between each set … during that time, we had a lot of the crowd pull us aside and ask if we could show them a few two-stepping moves so they could join in.”

Working together, Miranda said Vipond provides them with the band’s setlist for the night, and the spirit team will then decide which dances work best with which songs.

“We’ll never force anyone to learn a dance if they don’t want to or anything, but we will stand in the middle of the floor and walk through all the line dances as a team so everybody gets a good feel for what’s going on,” she said.

For the Aug. 5 show, the spirit team plans on having at least half a dozen members teach how to do the boot scoot, the honky tonk stomp and the footloose line dance.

“We’ve got eight new songs that we’ll be performing, and we plan to bring on as much energy as we can to the stage,” said Vipond.

The VIU Mariners Spirit team will dance alongside Tailgate again on Aug. 27 at the VIEX fair.

READ MORE: Country-music superstar Reba pops into White Rock restaurant while filming in B.C.

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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