History of Rock n Roll Dancing in Melbourne

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Adrian Spadaro, Chris Black and Terri Moon dancing triples at Mordi Rock

Posted by [email protected] on June 23, 2019 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Dance demo at Mordi Rock.  Adrian, Chris and Terri won the over 45's triples competition at the Pan Pacific Dance competition in the early 90's.

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Rockin Richard Lewis

Posted by [email protected] on June 23, 2019 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Pitrones -  Played there lots. Was a fabulous venue with huge dance floor and grouse food. Miss it. After Tony Pitrone sold the venue, he ran Chelsea town hall/rsl. We used to play at Chesea town hall in the early 90s,another great venue. Joe Imbezi, Tonys business partner, ran the dances at the Lilydale International. At Box Hill RSL, I played there with my band ROCKIT on new years eve 1999. It was weird because they were so worried about the big Y2K scare, that we had to start early and finish by 11pm and be out of the club by 11.30! We packed the gear quickly after the gig and went to the top of Doncaster Shoppingtown to watch the fireworks over Melbourne at midnight!���� Richard Lewis.

Coral Johnson remembers

Posted by [email protected] on June 22, 2019 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I loved Box Hill RSL dances on friday nights, I went every week! Great bands played there, that's going back about 20-25 yrs (mid 1990's?).  I also learnt line dancing there with teachers Irene & Tom Amos.  Great fun times!.  I met my very special friend Marci there @ line dancing and also my mate George. Lovely happy times.

Rockhouse Dance Championships

Posted by [email protected] on June 18, 2019 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)
Rockhouse monthly dance at 899 Mountain Hwy, Bayswater put on by the band Alive 'n' Kicking from 1991 - 1996.  Dance competions were held each month with finalists dancing for the championship towards the end of the year.

Band member Len O'Connor designed the posters and hand coloured each one.  The posters were then given to the finalists at the championships.

Judging Criteria for Rockhouse Dance Comps - 5 Judges each awarded a possible 20 points for 1 Technique - 2 Originality - 3 Choreography - 4 Showmanship - 5 Dress - Making a total of 100 points - Couldn't be fairer than that for overall dancing ability regardless of Dance Style.

1993 finals competitors were, in order of appearance, : Jamie and Renee, John and Sue, Jason and Caroline, Adrian and Chris, Andy and Terry. 1st place Andy and Terri, 2nd John and Sue, 3rd Adrian and Chris. Winners all received trophy and dance posters 1st place also won blue satin embroidered jackets.   Cowboy & Tiffany - Alistair & Carol were the omissions although they're names appear on the poster.

Judges include Glenn and Rachel Delafiore

Alive 'n' Kicking band members : Ian Mair (deceased) - Damien Knott - Richard Lewis - Greg White - Len O'Connor - The Band started slowly with few gigs on offer so decided to start our own Dance (Rockhouse) - Sue Wilkinson was appointed Dance Comp promoter & organizer & unlike competitions at other Dances, we had individual couples compete solo in turn with 5 judges ( Technique - Choreography - Dress - Originality - Showmanship ) scoring out of 100 ( 20 points max per judge ) with monthly winners competing in an end of year dance off, with winners receiving Championship Silk Jackets The dance was held on the 3rd Saturday of each month and went from 60 attendees at the 1st dance to crowds of 300 & more from the 3rd month of operation. By that time the band had become quite popular & were soon regularly working 4 gigs per week at all major venues. The dance lasted around 4 years when the Bayswater Darts Club decided to sell the venue thus ending operations. No other venue could be found with the same unique atmosphere so the Dance expired but the memories live on.

Visit the History of rock n roll dancingin Melbourne Facebook page to see video's on some of the competitions and dance nights, plus video of the band playing.

The band Alive 'n' Kicking :  Ian Mair (deceased) - Damien Knott - Richard Lewis - Greg White - Len O'Connor

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Jim and Rhonda at the Rockhouse Dance championships in 1992 which they won.

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Minor dance competition at Rockhouse 1992

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Alive 'n' Kicking performing at Rockhouse JOK show

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Adrian Spadaro and Chris Black dancing in the Championships in 1993.  They placed 3rd.

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Carolyn McAlister and Jason Vargas dancing at the Rockhouse championships 1992

Judith Ann Cross

Posted by [email protected] on June 9, 2019 at 12:20 AM

Judith Ann Cross

I attended Mordi Rock dance classes at the same time as Bruce and Pat. Bruce was my first dance partner. We won one dance comp at Let's Rock in June 1992, then he moved on to Pat. My new dance partner then became Shane (can't remember his surname). He then married his fiance! Paolo Morasco was a regular at Rockhouse. I eventually became a judge at Rockhouse, one of 3 or 4. Each judge had to concentrate on one area only. My speciality was "timing". They were great times. Have lots of memories of those days but they are buried deep in my subconscious (life gets in the way!!)

VRRDA Dance Championships 2019

Posted by [email protected] on May 24, 2019 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

VRRDA Rock 'n' Roll Dance Championships - Victoria's premier event to showcase all that we love about our rock 'n' roll dancing, music & fashion. The VRRDA in Melbourne has been an institution specifically dedicated to promoting our beloved 1950's dancing and music and it has been doing a great job in this regard. Its annual dance championship draws competitors from all over Australia including a strong contingent from Sydney Swing Cats, dancers from Brisbane and in the past also from South Australia, WA and Tasmania. I believe dancers from NZ had also competed in previous years.

The dance competition was also well supported by dance schools including Alley Catz and dance schools from Albury and from different parts of country Victoria. Sponsors for the event came from numerous R&R dance schools including the Lakeside Rockers, Geelong Jukebox Rockers, S'CoolHouse Rock & swing, Johnny's Rockers, Alley Catz, Gippy Rocks and Colac R&R Club. Other sponsors were Rockabilly Babes and Rock n Roll News.

This year's event was held at the St Sava Church Hall in Greensborough. Close to 400 patrons and dancers attended the event. The venue was decorated in party like splendour with ballons etc to suit the occasion. Many came dressed in their 1950's clothing to celebrate our love of the 1950's dance and music scene.

This year the VRRDA inducted Bill & Maree Oldham from Bendigo's Rockin' 50's R&R Club to the Hall of Fame for their long 30 years service in promoting R&R music and dancing. Also inducted into the Hall of fame was Linda Smyth who is a household name when it comes to teaching R&R especially to those who are learning R&R for the first time. Linda has also been teaching R&R for close to 30 years and her style of teaching is unique in that she creates a fun and friendly atmosphere in all her classes. She has been introducing hundreds of new R&R dancers every year and therefore contributing in a great way in supporting our 1950's dance scene and community.

Once again, top level R&R dancing was evident right from the first event featuring about 30 junior dancers till the ultimate feature events which was the Senior State Title and the Adult State Title which incorporate lifts. Dancers from Queensland this year were very successful in winning all the Junior Titles and the Sydney Swing Cats winning Adult State Title. Grant & Maryann Richards again won the Seniors State Title.

Another fantastic achievement by VRRDA in keeping Victoria (and Australia) rockin' to the 1950's sound. The event was, as in previous years, fully booked out. So be early to book your tickets for next year's event if you don't want to miss out. Here are some videos taken during this year's VRRDA R&R Dance Championship......

Paul Wan.  Copied with permission from Vicrock.com.au

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  Adult state title

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 Senior state title

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 Nifty fifties

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   Newcomers event


Posted by [email protected] on April 23, 2019 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)

March 1996.

50's Rock & Roll dance teachers Carol and Kevin became engaged.  They were teaching on Mon nights at the Anglican Church on Burwood Hwy for $5 a class. Ray was starting up junior dance classes, Teresa Mileto started running monthly dances at Coburg Town Hall from March 1996, with dance competitions, $12 entry, with Adrian running dance classes there as well.  Adrian Spadaro and Chris Black ran a dance at Mordialloc Community Centre with band "Brassworks" and guest teacher Sylvia Sykes from the US taught the shim sham.  Merv Benton played at the Moorabbin Town Hall, the Starliners and Wild Turkey with DJ Wolf played at the Waltzing Matilda Hotel, The Premiers and DJ Jeff played at Clayton RSL, $8 entry.  Ararat Jailhouse Rock festival was held in March with bands including Eddie Youngblood and Flashback.  The Rebel Tavern in Seaford had bands every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with $5 entry.  The Straight 8's played at the Monash Hotel, $8 entry, Aspendale, Box Hill, Clayton, Frankston, Spotswood, Rye, Springvale RSL's all had live bands on Fri or Saturday nights, Just Rock in Kilsyth had Fri and Sat night monthly social dances, Pitrones in Keysborough had bands every Wednesday night, Good Friday Children's Hospital appeal was held at the Moorabbin Town Hall on 4th April with the Allstars, Donna Fisk, Johnny Chester, Andrew Portelli, Bill O'Rourke, Grantley Dee, Steve Lawson and Oscar Swaru, $20 entry. The Australian Rockabilly Accociation held a dance with the Straight 8's and Jump & Jive at Caulfield Secondary, $15 entry.  Line dancing / bootscootin was popular with classes held all over Melbourne, live bands playing on Wed nights at Italo Australian Club Dandenong on Wed nights and San Souci in Moorabbin on Thurs nights, plus a monthly gig guide / booklet "Heart of Country News".

Sapphire Coast Rock n Rodders Festival 2019

Posted by [email protected] on April 23, 2019 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Sapphire Coast Rock n Rodders Festival 2019

What a fabulous event again in Merimbula for the 10th Sapphire Coast Rock n Rodders Festival. It was hosted by Club Sapphire early in March but, as in the last 10 years, it was principally organised by Lyndon & Kerry with assistance from the local Merimbula R&R club. The weather in this seaside holiday town located in NSW South Coast as usual was fantastic with sunny sky during the whole weekend, and mild evening temperature which makes it perfect for rock n roll dancing.

This year, we again have Lyndon's band, Shadoogie, which was a household R&R band in Melbourne for many years before he moved away to live in Merimbula. Also performing on the 3 day event were the Fender Benders and the Honky Tonk Rockers. Shadoogie started off the festival playing to a capacity crowd on Friday evening. This was followed by the Saturday night dance with Shadoogie and the Honky Tonk Rockers playing in the main dance hall and the Fender Benders in the smaller room upstairs. Sunday night was the dinner dance with Fender Benders and the Honky Tonk Rockers and finished off with the jam session featuring all 3 bands on stage. The jam session has always been the highlight of the evening as patrons gathered around at the front of the stage to soak up the atmosphere and admire the talent on display as the 3 bands played as one. Lyndon even pulled a "band reunion" surprise on Sunday when he got his old band mates including Artie Shugg (ex Atomic Hi Tones and now with the Jump Devils) from 30 years ago to come on stage to perform a couple of songs.

There were dance classes and dance demo plus a "Jack n Jill" dance competition. Also on Sunday morning, classic cars and hot rods gathered for a hot rodders show. For those who wanted more to do, there was a food & wine market on Lake Merimbula's foreshore on Sunday morning or you could enjoy walking the whole section of the Merimbula Board walk which has a fantastic bush land scenery along with the beauty & serenity of Lake Merimbula.

This year's festival was the tenth in a row and Lyndon and Kerry have done a fantastic job in organizing it, year after year. Well done to Lyndon & Kerry. Well done also to the Sapphire Club for hosting it plus all the bands that have participated in this festival. I believe this year might be the last time that Lyndon & Kerry are going to host the festival. It has been an incredible success and whether the festival continues in its present form, only time will tell. I have always enjoyed attending the festival the few times I have been able to make it.

Paul - Jitterbug. Copied with permission from vicrock.com.au

Jocelyn's memories

Posted by [email protected] on March 21, 2019 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I first stumbled on the rock n roll dance scene in 2004.  I was asked to dance at our local club by James Wing, who had come along to watch a band called Shindig.  James taught myself and 3 girlfriends how to do a couple of basic rock n roll moves and told us about the dance lessons at the Waltzing Matilda hotel in springvale. He also showed us a copy of the Rock n Roll News, opening our eyes to the rock n roll dance scene.  We were all excited to learn that there was somewhere we could go to learn to dance, so the next week we went along to the "Waltzy" and started lessons with Glenis Boyd's Southside Rockers.  That became a regular girls night out every Tuesday and Sunday night for the next 2 years.  Our husbands came a few times but weren't interested in dancing, - I think they were secretly pleased to have a night at home in charge of the TV remote.

It wasn't long before we heard about "Little Marias" dance at the Whitehorse Club with a live band, and we soon became regulars there until Maria closed down in 2013.  Devastated at loosing our regular fortnightly dance I pursuaded Milton and Sue from Flipside music trivia into having a go at running a rock n roll dance.  The Flipside dance at the Hungarian Club was born, running twice a month for 5 years until it sadly closed at the end of 2018. 

Over the years I've enjoyed dance lessons from Glenis at Southside Rockers, Graeme and Heather at Sylvester Swingers, Pat Noakes at Swing Central, Adrian Spadaro at Red Hot Rockers, Lou, Lynette and Graeme at Top Cats, Andy Zammit at Andy's Cats, Jon Hannon at Alley Cats, Swing Patrol, Rusty at Ashburton Swing, as well as several other one off classes and numerous workshops and festivals.  All of the teachers have put lots of effort into spreading their love of dance and helping their students to learn new moves.

Some of the places I've enjoyed dancing socially at include : the Waltzy, Whitehorse Club, Heritage in Epping, Sunshine City Club, Springvale RSL, Dandenong Workers, Cheltenham RSL, Dandenong RSL, Mordi Rock, Mentone RSL, Mitcham RSL, East Malvern RSL, Bentleigh RSL, West Coburg Bowls, Alley Cats Sunshine and Lilydale dances, Flipside, Little Maria's, Clayton RSL, Eddies Bandroom, Highett Bowls, Linda's dances, Swing on High...

Over the past 15 years I've met lots of wonderful people, travelled to suburbs I'd never heard of, danced to many wonderful bands and had a great time.  I've also sadly said goodbye to many characters who have passed away.  We are so lucky to have great dance teachers, bands and dance promoters who are willing to take a risk at putting on dances for our enjoyment, as well as so many places to dance and hear great music.

I decided last year that it would be worthwhile creating a website to record some of the history of the dance scene so that it doesn't get forgotten.  I hope you enjoy reading people's memories and I hope they keep rolling in so together we can continue to record the stories of Melbourne's rock n roll dancers.

Jocelyn Bloye

March 2019

1995 Snapshot

Posted by [email protected] on February 2, 2019 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

In 1995 the following rock n roll dances and classes were being held around Melbourne.  Large town halls were popular venues, line dancing was very popular, and Lindy Hop was starting to be danced.

Dance Classes

Andy's flipside, Tues nights at Springers in Keysborough.  $8 with Andy Zammit

Adrian and Chris dance classes, Camberwell, Coburg town hall, Clayton RSL $8.  Adrian Spadaro and Chris Black

Carrum RSL Tues nights with Joe and Marnie $3

Dance Away at Mt Eliza

Dance Tyme International in Croydon Sunday night

Glenys Southside Rockers, Frankston on Mon nights

Just Rock in Kilsyth Sunday nights $6

Rock n Roll with Lindsay and Heather in Mornington Wed nights.

Rock n Soul Boronia with Michael and Sheryl sunday nights $4

Rock Plus in Sunshine with Denise

Rock n Roll with Laurie and Claudette in Braebrook wed nights

50's Rock n Roll with Kevin and Carol Ross Burwood, Mon nights, $5

Rock with Us, Deer Park with John

Sebastians Rock n Roll & Swing, Preston Mon night, Moonee Ponds Tues night, Blackburn Thurs night and Glen Iris Sat arvo, $9.  Also line dancing lessons on the same nights.

Dances held in 1995

The Allstars played at Chelsea Town Hall

Derek Gray opened a dance at the Malvern Town Hall

Dave Rama started 50's rock n roll at the Monash Hotel

Lindy Hop started to become popular

Rockabilly dance at the Walzing Matilda Hotel in Springvale with bands and DJ Dr. Wolf cost $10

Elvis Presley Fan Club ran dances at the Chelsea Town Hall

Mordi Rock dances were held regularly at Warren Rd Community Centre, Mordialloc

Fabulous 50's Rock n roll dance run by Teresa held at community centre in Thornbury, $12 entry

Pitrone's on Springvale Rd Keysborough had bands and dancing every Wed night, $10 entry included a 2 course meal

DJ Jeff Pool played for social dancing every Thur night 8.30-11pm, after Adrians dance class in North Balwyn 

Line dancing / bootscooting classes and dances were held in many venues

Box Hill RSL had bands and dancing Fri and Sat nights

Clayton RSL had bands and dancing Fri nights with $8 entry

Old Dandenong Inn had bands on Fri and Sat nights with free entry

Aspendale Edithvale RSL had bands Fri and Sat nights

Cranbourne RSL had bands Fri and Sat nights

Just Rock in Kilsyth held dances once a month

Carrum RSL held monthly bands

Bands Playing in 1995



Calico Band

Country Brew

Cut Loose




Flying Tigers

Frankie and the Highlighters


Itchy Fingers

Jump & Jive

Kathy Raydings




Rebel Rousers


Rough Cut


Steppin' Out

Straight 8's

Teddy Boys

Texas Touch

Tony Dee

White Lightening

Wild Turkey