It’s time to get dancing at the Lilydale Community House

Peter Anderson plays the accordion for the bush dance performances. Pictures: SUPPLIED.

By Mikayla van Loon

In an effort to get the Lilydale community up and dancing, a series of live music performances will be hitting the town with the first one scheduled for early August.

Lilydale Community House, as a recipient of the Urban Community Recovery Grants, will host a Bush Dance event on Saturday 5 August, the first of five over the next year.

House coordinator Suyin Chan said after attending a similar bush dance event in Millgrove, she wanted Lilydale to have the same fun.

“One of the volunteers and I were discussing what other activities we could have to encourage people back out into the community and to come to activities at the house and we both fell upon this idea, why don’t we just do some live music events,” she said.

Experienced Bush Dance duo Peter Anderson and Maggie Duncan will lead the event, playing the accordion and fiddle, while calling the dances.

“Together, they play with masterful verve all the jigs and reels and waltzes and marches and polkas needed for a full night of dancing, whilst also judging the skill level of the attendees and choosing the best selection of dances for the night,” a summary of the duo’s performance reads.

The pair will teach the group dances as people go, making it fully accessible for people who have never tried dancing or who may come on their own.

“It’s just something different. Not many people do this sort of thing anymore, it can be just really fun to be dancing and learning some dances and dancing with others and you don’t need a partner, you dance as a group so that makes it a bit less scary,” Suyin said.

Receiving the grant from Urban Community Recovery Committee has allowed the Lilydale Community House to branch out in its offerings to help reach a different demographic of people.

“That’s been a huge thing for us, that we were able to get funding which pays for the bands, so we could ensure the activities are free for people to come to,” Suyin said.

“We’ve only been operating for just under two years and a lot of people don’t know we’re here.”

Making it an evening event on a weekend, Suyin said the hope is families will come together for a fun evening of dancing and laughing.

“This Bush Dance will be family friendly so kids can all come and join in and hopefully they’ll just have some good fun listening to some live music and enjoying the dance.”

Although still yet to confirm, Suyin said the next two interactive performances should be from a Balkan gypsy band and the Mexican Music Man, with other community performers to round out the five events.

“We are probably going to look at some of the other core community groups and see what they might like to have.

“They might like to hold an event with their music and their dances, and give them the opportunity to have a space and get covered for the costs for dance for their community.”

But most excitingly Suyin said there’s some incredible special projects coming up for Lilydale Community House.

“We’re going to be doing a cookbook out of soup and stories, and it will be creating a lot of the favourite soups that the participants have made, and also telling some of the participants stories,” she said

“A Lot of older people admittedly, they’re done and dusted when they’ve retired but they’ve got some amazing stories to tell. So we’re going to profile a number of them in the cookbook.

“We’re also looking at doing some art, hopefully, a mosaic on the front of the building to try and make the building a much more lively, welcoming place to come.”

To learn more about the activities at Lilydale Community House go to The House can be located at 7 Hardy Street Lilydale and contacted by emailing or calling 7036 6813.