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Written by Rick Archer
August 2014

Rick’s Note:   For next year’s Labor Day Dance Cruise, Marla has decided to bring our favorite dance band along with us.  We will have two special Sock Hop performances featuring  Joltin’ Joe Valentino, his beautiful wife Rockin’ Robin, backup singer Tina Cantina, plus special guest artist Ray Covey.

Each show will last two hours and will be held at the ship’s dance lounge as part of our Late Night Dance program.

Incidentally, Gary Richardson has signed on to provide excellent DJ dance music for the other five nights of our Late Night Dance program.  There will be some serious dancing EVERY NIGHT on this trip.

So what brought on this exciting development? 

Of course the idea came to Marla after the phenomenal July 2014 Sock Hop Dance at the Chandelier featuring Joe Valentino. 

As many of you have heard through the Grapevine, the Chandelier Sock Hop featuring Joe Valentino was a slam dunk success.  When you have 300 people dancing to every song, that tends to make quite an impression. 

Vernell Foyt, the Chandelier director, said it was the biggest dance event she had ever hosted.  The floor was definitely full all night long.

(Side Note:  We are going to bring Joe Valentino back at the Chandelier on Friday, December 5th, so circle your calendars now.)

The success of the July event benefitted from the word of mouth started first by Debra Hrncir and Cindy Hudson, my friends who are big fans of Joe Valentino.  I imagine you will see these two on the dance cruise as well… Cindy is already signed on and I bet Debra isn’t far behind.

Then my friend Gary Richardson got involved with publicity and reserving seats.  His frequent updates helped generate even more interest.

The final result was an over-the-fence grand slam home run.

I have my own theory why the July Sock Hop was such a success.

There is a saying that everyone believes the music of their particular generation is the finest music ever recorded.  I am sure this is true.  I know the Big Band people swear by “In the Mood” and I know the Cavemen think rock music crushes all other genres. 

As for me, give me the music of the Fifties and Sixties.  That’s the music I grew up with.  There’s something in that music that makes my tired old feet start tapping again.  I am not alone.  It was amazing at the Chandelier Sock Hop to see so many people laughing and dancing with unabashed joy to the music of their youth. 

You know, I didn’t know how to partner dance back when I was teenager, but I sure envied the boys in our crowd who did know how.  Now here in my old age, it is a real treat to be given a second chance.  Now when I hear “Jailhouse Rock”, I know just what to do to make a girl dizzy and smile at the same time.

I have to hand to it to Marla for pushing the envelope.  This is a completely new feature.  In the past, we have always relied on whatever music the cruise ship had to offer or DJ music played on some amplifiers brought from home. 

The inclusion of our very own dance band raises the concept of “Dance Cruise” to an entire new dimension. 

I have a friend named Judith who used to follow Blues singer Delbert McClinton to the far ends of the earth.  Delbert had an annual Blues Cruise and all Judith could talk about for the entire year was “Delbert’s next Blues Cruise!”   She would get all misty-eyed and gooey just thinking about it. 

There was just something about hanging out with her hero at sea that sent Judith flying over the moon.   Women can be so helpless when they hear music that touches their soul.  Think Beatlemania.  

I bet the Joe Valentino Sock Hop Cruise is going catch on in exactly the same way.  I think Marla had one heck of a great idea.

You know, we are going to have to dress right, yes?   Better pack your poodle skirts, girls.  And will Elvis be in the house?  I certainly hope so. 

And we are all going to have to practice our Jitterbug ahead of time, yes??

And maybe learn a couple of those Sock Hop line dances like the Stroll.  We definitely need a Stroll line… girls on one side, boys on the other.  Now one couple at a time shimmies and shakes their way from one end of the Stroll line to the other while everyone forming the Stroll lines claps to the music.  Don’t worry, everyone will get their chance in the limelight.  I am already working on my routine.

And don’t forget the Hand Jive, the Monster Mash, and the Harlem Shuffle. 

The Sock Hop is an event that makes people laugh and cry and feel nostalgic.  All these feelings will be amplified at sea.  I expect our Dance Cruise Sock Hop will be a truly cosmic event as we stroll deep into the night. 

Who knows what could happen under the moonlight?  Maybe the ship will hit a swell in the water and suddenly everyone on the floor will lose their balance.  Immediately dozens of ladies will fall helplessly into the arms of their partners.  And maybe this will be the moment when stars line up just right for some of these couples to feel a spark.

Don’t laugh.  That’s exactly the sort of thing that can happen when you have Rock ‘n Roll at sea.


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