With his 50 Lucky Afternoon Dancers, the Line-Dance Group
from Richard Lootens belongs to one of the most activ gay groups in Munich.
ADAM has visited the Country and Western guys at their dance
They are standing lined up in formation. A swinging Country
music is starting and the cowboys are starting to dance with 24 beats/sec
over the dancefloor. Point Step, Hook, Vine und Fan: A load of different
basic line dance steps are taught during a dance lesson. "This is the
beginners lesson", Richard Lootens, founder and leader of the Lucky
Afternoon Dancers (LAD's), told us. "Tonight we have three absolute beginners", the
originally born belgian tells us proudly
"Just to watch is not allowed, everyone should join the dance.
No one has to be anxious, no matter where they are coming from or which job
they have. We don't have any prejudice. You can be chubby or slim, old or
young. Everyone is welcome."
They are just performing on stages as a gay group in public,
but at their dance lessons some lesbians and straight women are dancing as well.
The atmosphere is fantastic and the group dynamics are taking all the fears
away of the shy beginners. The 54 years old Richard: "For a lot of the line
dancers the group became a sort of family. They like to come dancing."
Engineers, bank clerks, gardeners, cooks, workers from all social classes
and different jobs are in the group. "We are an international group too.
Dutch, French, Hungarians, US-Americans, British are part of the group."
A lot of guys and girls became new friends and some became lovers
too. At the moment 10 to 12 members of the group are coupled. They are
at the advanced class which has about 20 persons. The beginners class has
about 30 cowboys. The lessons are at the "Café Regenbogen" at the
Munich Aids helpline. Since the founding of the LAD's Richard Lootens has
collected 26.500 Marks for the Aids helpline with group performances
and events they organized. On this Friday evening he is presenting a
cheque with 2.200 Marks again. Last april the LAD's made a big 4th anniversary
party with 100 line and square dancers and they were collecting 3.000 Marks
as a plus.
"We can use the rooms of the Aids helpline twice a month for
free and this is the way we say "thank you" with our benefit performances"
Richard says. Some of the dancers are HIV+: "Dancing makes them feel
more healthy. It's good for their blood circulation and their breathing
technique. That's positive for their blood results."
Guys wanted:Yippee yea!
Richard Lootens is a living dance school. "I'm dancing for 40 years
now, I'm an educated dance teacher, teaching since 1989 and I know all dances"
the chief-cowboy's laughing. Like a daddy, he gets all his greenhorns as
a good friend into a perfect dance formation. At home he has 80 CDs
with Country music and about 700 choreographies. He taught more than 60 different
dances to his students until now. The advanced class is mostly dancing
dances with 48 to 64 counts. They are training every 1st, 3rd and 5th friday
each month at the church hall of the old catholic church St. Willibrord which
they share with the gay bavarian folk dancers.
The line dance fever started in april 1996 at the club "The
Stud". Eight to ten men had their first dance lesson there. In 1998 the
group was dancing on street festivals or MLC parties with already 20 dancers.
Today they are 50 members and Richard is always looking around for new dancers:
"The gay scene is my home. I have to recruit my new dancers. I ask everyone
I like. Mostly everyone." This are guys he's looking for: "I don't have to
go to "in-people" or to tiny young boys, they are uninterested." The advertising
for the LAD's can be found normally at the country-, jeans and leather bars
like "Bau", "Tabasco", "Pop As". Many bar keepers support the dancers.
At the "SUB" (gay center) the LAD's do the bar on one thursday each month,
at the "Pop As" they have a monthly country evening.
Since the founding Richard Lootens is the motor of the group.
The educated landscape gardener, living in Munich since 30 years, is bursting
with power. He's laughing: "I'm dancing with my heart and soul." The greyhaired
man filled with power is a sensitive person too: "My sign of the zodiac
is pisces. I'm an active man and I had a lot of lovers for sure." He is very
proud about the new outfit of his cowboys which was produced in Donauwörth.
American style, made in Germany: 28 more western shirts are ordered. The
LAD's are on the way to expand. Yippee yea!