A Dancing Community Tribute

DancingCommunityTribute feature

Lately, I’ve been saying that since I first started this blog over the last few years it has taken on a life of its own. It has taken some twists and turns that I never expected. Things happen and then there’s a reason to write something new!

Usually, it’s a unique dance convention or a friend telling me there’s a cool bar with dancing I should write about. But last year when I wrote about a new dancer: Gregg Tomchick, that was so far the most fun! It was so cool to just spotlight one guy and his newfound love for country dance!

And if you followed the story or this blog at all you know about how he shortly thereafter lost his battle with cancer and was taken from us way too soon!

In honor and as a tribute to our too-soon-gone friend, we quickly hatched this crazy plan to do what he did! You see, he went dancing for 13 straight nights! We that were closest to him thought this would be perfect, it would be fun and a great way to remember him. But we also believe if he were here, he’d break his first record and go one more night! So, we did it–14 straight days or nights out dancing!

Here’s the story of our crazy two straight weeks with all documented with pictures! I hope you enjoy this and even consider trying it out where you are with your local country dancing friends! It turned out to be a surprisingly interesting & bonding experience!

The Plan

First was the plan! It actually isn’t that easy to find a place every night to go dancing. It’s possible, but you have to be ready to drive around a little. Here’s the schedule and places:

Gregg TheTributeStreak copy

One thing about Gregg was how outgoing and friendly he was. He was for sure an extrovert and without any hesitation would come up to you and introduce himself! He made friends fast and since he was trying out all the different places to dance, he was getting to know people in every place fast. If you didn’t get to read his story check it out here: Country Dancer Spotlight: From Surfer to Country Dancer & a Dancing Streak!

He really started his journey in country dance at the beach, when some cowgirls invited him over one day after he had been surfing to Cindi Massengale’s free line dance class at the Sea Salt Grill along Bolsa Chica Beach’s boardwalk. And then things just took off from there. He quickly began to meet all the Long Beach area dancers at The Gaslamp and Cowboy Country, and then found out about The Ranch and came there as well. And it turns out that the Starting Gate is another local haunt for some Cowboy Country folks wanting to dance on Sundays, so he was there too!

But without further ado, here’s what we did for 14 nights…

The Dancing Tribute Streak!

It all started on a Monday… 

1. Monday 1/23 Cowboy Country-Cindi’s lessons 

2. Tuesday 1/24 Elks Lodge (with Goodtime Gordie) 

3. Wednesday 1/25 Cowboy Country 

4. Thursday 1/26 The Gaslamp 

5. Friday 1/27 The Ranch 

6. Saturday 1/28 Cowboy Country 

7. Sunday 1/29 The Starting Gate

8. Monday 1/30 Cowboy Country-Cindi’s lessons 

9. Tuesday 1/31 Elks Lodge (with Goodtime Gordie)

10. Wednesday 2/1 Cowboy Country 

11. Thursday 2/2 The Gaslamp 

12. Friday 2/3 The Ranch & Cowboy Country

13. Saturday 2/4 The Ranch & Cowboy Country 

14. Sunday 2/5 The Starting Gate

night1 2
#1: Sorry, JoAnn, Kelly & Shawnie! We got to the first picture too late! But they were there!
night2 1
#2: First night at Elks with DJ Goodtime Gordie! I’m sure Marina was there too!
night3 1
#3: I felt like we had some momentum by night 3! (G-lo’s Birthday party also going on!)
#4: First night at The Gaslamp! I loved that we finally got Cindi in there and that we are under the “Love” sign!
#5 First night at The Ranch! But wait…we forgot some people!
night5b 1
Gregg had told Steve he should wear his rubber duckie shirt dancing sometime! We had to get that in there!
night6 1
#6: Back at Cowboy Country for the first dance contest and some live music from The Lonnie Dawson Band.
#7: Half-way finished and first night at The Starting Gate for some live music from JB and the Circle Riders, dancing, and playoff football!
#8: Back at Cindi’s class at Cowboy Country, learning Jason LaPorte’s new dance I Love Country Music, also After Party, Train Wreck & Dizzy.
#9: Back at The Elks Club! Thanks, Gordie for stopping everything and just getting everyone in the shot!
#10: Back at Cowboy Country on a Wednesday night, this time to see the Just Dave Band (featuring up-and-coming Sean Oliu).
night11 1
#11: Back at The Gaslamp! Night 11, but night 13 for Kelly! I love the extra sign!
night12 1
#12: Back at The Ranch! But, wait, tonight we were in two places…
Remembering Gregg at Cowboy Country too.
#13: 13th night at the Ranch dancing and enjoying live music from Brad Johnson & the Killing Time Band.
#14: We did it! 14th night–finishing up at the Starting Gate on Sunday.


And like Gregg had an epilogue at the end of his dancing streak, I think we all had some takeaways at the end. New dances were learned, and even better, new friends were made. Gregg was so emotionally energized by all the dancing, but, physically he was a little sore. I think because I’m more of an introvert the experience was emotionally draining and I’ve needed to climb into my man cave to recover for a bit!

I think the main thing that was great about it was it put a spotlight on how the dance community is more about friendships and connection than dancing. And having got to know Gregg a little, this is what drew him most when he discovered the line dancing and country dance community.

Personally, I came away very happy. Dancing together, remembering his dancing streak, connecting with each other a little more than normal–it seemed like the right kind of tribute for Gregg. I also found out how hard it is to stop and get everyone in a picture when everyone is focused on dancing – sorry!–I know we missed some people!

Here are a few more!

14 extra2
Oops, –getting a couple more in we missed!
14 extra1 1
Way to go Allyson! We did it! All 14 nights without missing.
3amigos 1
The 11th night was Kelly’s 13th!
extra1 1
Marina started late, but gets to 13 nights!

Thanks to everyone who participated and for your positive kind words during the two weeks. There was no doubt of Gregg’s love for everyone he met in the dancing community. He compared it all to a small town where everyone knows everybody.

But I think all of you cowgirls especially had a big place in his heart. He was a little sad when summer ended and there were no more cowgirls on the beach ’til next summer. He dedicated a song to you all in one of his videos. Check it out:

Gregg’s cover of Neil Young’s Cowgirl in the Sand and his dedication to cowgirls on the beach – Bolsa Chica Beach that is!

Brian Sheridan

I'm the owner of CDT. I live in Fullerton, California, and enjoy country dancing with my friends at least once a week.

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