THANKS, MIKE FREEMAN (May 14, 2016):

Four score and seven years ago – actually, it was just eight – Randy Lattimer, Linda Rogers, and Gary Riggs brought forth, on this floor, a new dance, the Family Dance, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all dancers, of all ages, are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great final edition of that dance, having demonstrated that such a noble, life-giving experiment could long endure. Much time, sweat, and a great deal of money was invested to make this dance possible in what was, at the time, a very poor economic climate in the area, to provide a place where all could dance, where families could enjoy an evening together learning to dance, and could do so free of charge. It’s been on a donation only basis for eight years. And despite all the nay-sayers, they’ve made it work:

• Randy and Linda spent thousands of dollars for the equipment;

• Gary paid for the hall for the first three dances;

• Randy taught the lessons - pattern dances, 2 step, mixers, line dances and more to all ages;

• Linda assembled the play lists and made sweet music for all;

• For the first time ever here, twice they brought in live bands to play;

• They had local talent (fire poi and jump rope teams to name a few) come in and put on live demonstrations;

• On one occasion they demonstrated nine different dances at the same time to the same song;

• On numerous occasions they also broke new ground by using this hall to raise funds for local causes such as Ride for Joy and Relay for Life;

• They have witnessed four generation families take to the floor together with the wheelchair bound, the deaf, and those with other infirmities – this has not been a dance for people to flaunt their talent and skill, but for all to enter into and enjoy the world of dance, to have the cares of life eased just a bit, and the joy of family and friends to bloom on the dance floor;

• And they have set attendance records towering over any group that uses this hall, frequently drawing in up to 180 people, hitting a record high of 230 people;

• Neither Randy, nor Linda, nor Gary have had any profit through any Family Dance night – nothing except the joy of seeing families and people of all ages and skill levels dancing together in a free and family-friendly environment.

And now, it’s time for the Family Dance to two-step into the sunset as Randy and Linda move on to new adventures as they continue to pour out their lives in giving to others the gift of dance, that dance of the people, by the people, for the people, will not perish from the earth.

Randy and Linda wish to thank all who are attending this final Family Dance tonight as well as all who have attended this, the largest country dance in the Treasure Valley these past eight years.

To which we say, “No, thank you!”
Thank you for giving families the gift of dance!
Thank you for giving us all the gift of dance,
Dance without the frills of showing off, without the cringe factor of jerking partners around, dance in which we have found our own inner rhythms and seen our feet freed to move to music, and to do so with our spouses, with our children.

The Family Dance may have two-stepped into the sunset, but Randy and Linda, don’t ever stop passing on the gift of dance, for it is the stuff of life.

Many in the dance community have done well – but you have excelled them all!

Dance on!

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