Photo of Phyllis and Norm Gifford

Norman & Phyllis Gifford


Norman's Bio

Phyllis's Bio

Norman's Bio:

As a “single again” person in the late 1980’s, I turned to Country Western dancing and music as a way to re-enter the dating scene. I joined a local country dance club where I was privileged to take couples lessons from such greats as Dave Getty, Robert Royston, and Michelle Kinkaid along with other excellent local instructors. My interest in line dancing came when Phyllis, my then girlfriend, now wife and love of my life (a linedance teacher and social country dancer) suggested that teaching line dancing might be a good thing for me to do. Achy Breaky Heart had recently hit the air, and linedancing was enjoying a great deal of interest. I started taking line dance lessons and soon had other dancers asking me for help with dance steps.

My education as a Chiropractor gave me a good understanding of biomechanics and with a B.A. in Music Education, I found that I could teach others how to enjoy dancing. My first teaching job was in 1992 at a mobile home park teaching senior citizens how to line dance. The gratitude and appreciation that I received from them spurred me into expanding my teaching activities into Park & Recreation districts all around the greater Sacramento area. For many years I taught up to eight classes per week of beginner and intermediate dancing.

The need for a safe, social environment in which to linedance led my wife & I to sponsor dances through the various Park & Recreation Districts where we taught. I became the DJ, and my wife took over the task of assisting beginners at the dances. We presently do a dance on the first or second Sunday afternoon of most months at the Community Clubhouse in Fair Oaks, CA.

In 1996, the need for new line dances that appealed to my students led me into linedance choreography. I have created over 180 linedances over the years and am thrilled at the success that “Burlesque” has garnered, including being a Crystal Boots Award nominee for Intermediate Dance of the Year in 2010. I was inspired to do the dance after watching the credits to the movie Burlesque where Cher sang the song “Welcome to Burlesque”. Reflecting back, I was also driven by the music to choreograph “Sway Me Now” in 2005 after seeing the movie “Shall We Dance?” with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez. Other popular dances of mine include: "A Love Worth Waiting 4", "Behind Closed Doors", "A Country High", "A Kiss 4 Me" and "Aguardiente". In the Las Vegas Dance Explosion 2012 my dance "Amor de Rumba" placed 1st in the Beginner Division and "Amica Mia" placed 2nd in the Non-phrased Intermediate Division. In 2014, "Many Tears Ago" placed 2nd in the Beginner Division, and in 2015, "Going 2 Pot" placed 1st in the Phrased Intermediate Division. In 2014 my dance "Aguardiente" was voted the "Most Popular Dance of the Year" in Singapore. I have been published in Linedancer Magazine in both the First in Line and Steppin’ Off The Page sections and as a Crystal Boots Award nominee for Burlesque.

I have had the repeated privilege to be an invited instructor at the Pismo Beach Country Western Dance Festival, subsequently Clovis Western Days, Cambria Western Dance Festival, Central Coast Dance in Solvang, Boogie ‘til the Cows Come Home and have been the DJ for Scooter Lee’s “Dancing for the Dream” event in the Sacramento area from 2008 to present. In 2015 I was thrust into the role of being an Event Director hosting the annual OktoberWest line dance event in the Sacramento, CA area. I was the invited instructor to teach a special workshop in Mesa, AZ in January 2017.

Awarded World Champion status at UCWDC Worlds 2017 placing 1st in choreography competition in the Country Int/Adv division with the dance "A Country High". As a choreography competition winner in Las Vegas I have also been invited to teach at the Las Vegas Dance Explosion in 2013 & 2016. My line dance choreography can also be found on other sites including Copperknob & Linedancer Web.

Phyllis's Bio:

In 1981, I was newly divorced, and did not know how to re-enter the single life. Kathy Kirk, a female friend of mine, introduced me to Country Line Dancing, even though I protested for months. I liked Rock and Roll, not Country music, and did not want anything to do with it, but I appreciated my friend taking me out, but really, did she have to insist on Country Line Dancing?

I still cannot believe that I fell in love with Country Line dancing, let alone having become a teacher. In 1990, I started teaching at Maidu Park for the Roseville Parks & Recreation, in Roseville, CA. I now teach for the Parks and Recreation Departments in Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, and Fair Oaks, CA.

Who would have thought teaching beginners would be so rewarding? Introducing line dancing to new dancers, watching them learn the basics, and seeing the joy in their faces never gets lost on me. Many times a new student comes to class to start their new life after a divorce or death of their spouse, and are overwhelmed. But they stick with it, and in a few months they have a new hairdo, then the make-up and new clothes. This was my story, and I love seeing it repeated time after time.

Through Line Dancing, I have met people from all over the world at Dance Conventions, and really enjoy seeing them at the Conventions year after year. But my biggest joy comes from my students who become long term friends with each other and us. I have been able to encourage some students to attend Line Dance Conventions with us. There they see the safe environment, all the excitement of new and old dances, watching the professional teachers, advanced dancers, and making new friends.

As time goes on, I am so happy my friend twisted my arm, and forced me to find a passion that has become such a large part of my life. I never expected the health benefits for my mind and body that came under the disguise of line dancing. The best part of it is that in 1992, I met my new husband Norm, at a dance, and we have been dancing together ever since.

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