History of Rock n Roll Dancing in Melbourne

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A review of the Flipside dance

Posted by [email protected] on December 21, 2018 at 12:45 AM

A review of the Flipside Dance

At the end of 2013 one of Melbourne's favorite dances "Little Maria's" at the Whitehorse Club came to an end after more than 13 years of fortnightly dances. All the regulars were upset that their favorite dance was to close and Little Maria decided that she no longer had the energy to start over at a new venue. Several people were approached to start up a new dance but as its a lot of work and a big financial risk no one on the dance scene wanted the job. Finally a couple were persuaded to have a go at putting on a new dance and the Flipside dance at the Hungarian Club was kicked off in January 2014.

Milton and Sue had never run a big dance before and were completely new to Melbourne's rock n roll dance scene, but they were keen to have a go, and take the risk as there was a big outlay with insurance and bonds etc. With lots of advice from Little Maria and others, support from many of the bands and their group of helpers the Flipside dance has grown in popularity and is now one of the best dances in Melbourne held on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month.

The Hungarian Club in Boronia Rd Wantirna is a huge venue with 2 halls, plenty of off street parking, and a great big dance floor. The Flipside dance outgrew the smaller hall by the end of 2014 and is now regularly filling the larger hall. Sue and Wendy happily great everyone as they arrive, and sort out the tables for all the regulars as well as making newcomers welcome. Big Al runs the drinks at the back of the room with soft drinks, tea, coffee and a great selection of DVD's for sale. Milton provides the DJ service and of course there is always a great band on the stage. The Fender Benders, Jump & Jive, Speedsters, Blackhill Ramblers, and the Vincents are all regulars at the dance providing great music.

The fist thing that you notice that's unique at the Flipside dance is the giant screen sitting next to the band on stage. During the band breaks the screen is filled with an amazing collection of video clips of original artists performing their hits. Milton has a huge collection of clips, all digitally remastered with enhanced sound. Many are in black and white and its interesting to see how stilted the early performers where as they were told to mime the song and not move. Basic sets and go go dancers are great to see, and make you realize how far music video's have come since the 50's. Many of the videos have never, or only rarely, been seen before and are fascinating to watch. So many familiar songs that we've all danced to many times before, but when you see the original artist performing its fascinating to watch. There are also several clips of dancing, my favorite is Frankie Manning and Whiteys Lindy Hoppers dancing from the Marx Brothers film "A day at the races" from the 1940's. Another favorite is Jerry Lewis hamming it up during a jitterbug dance contest in a movie. Boy could he dance even when he was being silly!

A bit about Milton's background. Milton is a music collector, archivist and music historian, with a huge collection of thousands of original music video clips that he wants to share with Melbourne's rock n roll dancers. A visit to his home amazes when you see walls lined with row after row of DVD's all numbered and catalogued. Milton started running music trivia nights in the 1980's, which started his continuing hunt for video clips from around the globe. He has provided music and video clips on the giant screen for many parties and dances over the years, as well as the trivia nights, and has run several sing-alongs at the Sandbelt hotel after painstakingly adding lyrics to many of the clips. He also provided a rental sing-along DVD service to nursing homes, and has recently started "Backtrack" a regular trivia/ video clips/ dance / sing a long/ live music event at the Pearl, Oakleigh RSL.

In the mid 1990’s, Milton was introduced to Ronnie Burns, helping him with a number of shows, and continues to assist Ronnie with fundraisers for his Children’s foundation in Tassie. Milton was then asked by Johnny Young to manage his archive and did a number of GO Shows with John, Normie Rowe, Buddy England and Marcie Jones. He subsequently received a lot of calls from “Old Rockers” wanting to know if he had any footage of them, but sadly only seven episodes of "Go Show" survived and less of "Uptight" and "Happening", all safely preserved in Milton's huge video archive. He has the only known “Kommotion” clip in existence.

Darryl Cotton, became a close friend and they did a number of fun projects together, and it was a huge honour when he asked Milton to put all the visuals together for his funeral and later Darryl's memorial concert at the Palais. Milton has recently provided footage of Tina Arena on Young Talent Time for Dancing with the Stars, Music Max & Sunday Night on behalf of John Young. Milton continues to scan the globe for clips to add to his huge collection of original music video's from the 1940's to the present day. Many older clips have never been seen in Australia before. .

At the Flipside Dance the dancers have the opportunity to request a clip from a large selection of original clips from the 50's and 60's. If you have a favourite that you like to dance to, let Milton know at the dance by filling in a request a clip form, or send an email [email protected] And if you have any questions you'd like answered about anything to do with music, then Milton's your man as he is a walking encyclopedia of music history.

Another great feature that's a regular at the Flipside Dance is the 2 minute quiz. A 2 minute compilation clip is shown with 10 or so questions to answer with the winning entry receiving a DVD. Some of the quizzes have included 1950 - 60's Westerns, TV shows from the 50's - 60's with dance scenes, as well as name the artist or TV show from brief snippets. All are a lot of fun and a great trip down memory lane. After all who else would have a clip of dancing from F Troop, Dobbie Gillis or Gidget? A bit of fun while your resting your feet.

Each year Flipside has also hosted performances of the Alley Catz 8ww, as well as Adrian's Red Hot Rockers, plus had retro clothing retailers set up in the foyer for patrons to purchase their rock n roll shoes and outfits.

After 5 years and 106 dances, Milton and Sue have decided to close the Flipside dance and take a break. Milton will continue to entertaining rockers at the monthly Backtrack at the Oakleigh RSL Pearl venue.  Hopefully we can pursuade them to run an occasional reunion dance in the future.

The final dance for Flipside was a sold out dance with 350 rockers on Fri 14th Dec 2018, with the Speedsters also holding their final gig as they retired.


Categories: Dance Venues, Stories / Memories

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