11,967 Line Dancers in Singapore
Set New Guinness World Record

by Bill Bader

UPDATE Feb. 20, 2003. It's OFFICIAL. A letter from Guinness World Records has just been received by the head of NTUC Income Cooperative in Singapore, the main sponsor of the world record attempt. Guinness now recognizes the Singapore event as the world's largest group participation of country line dancing.

The line dancers of Singapore showed up en force on May 1, 2002 at the huge Expo Center, and with this choreographer leading the crowd from the stage.  It was an awesome sight.  That word "awesome" is overused nowadays, but it could not be more appropriate here.  Imagine 6 or maybe 8 football fields worth of dancers quite closely packed. There were sections with school kids who learned to line dance in their P.E. classes.  And many seniors were present. Just about every instructor brought almost all their students.  Now imagine looking out on that crowd and counting a dance that you choreographed.  The dance they chose to use was Singapore Swing (linked here as a script and below as a video).  In Tamworth I could not see everyone when we set the record.  Here I could see all 12,000 to 15,000 dancers moving together to the music and with the huge video screens alternating between those of us on the stage and those thousands on the main floor.   Now imagine line dancing being front page news in your country... The following morning, on the front page of Singapore's major newspaper, the Singapore Straits Times, we were given a big photo spread and very nice article -- except I am not British just because I live in British Columbia, Canada!

The Guinness World Record of the World's Largest Line Dance official number was 11,967.  Ticket sales, however, showed that there were actually 15,000 dancers in the building. Not all the dancers knew the auditors did their count PRIOR to the announced time of the event, so they were eating or chatting elsewhere, etc. (Imagine how hard it is to keep 15,000 people in place for 30 minutes - ain't gonna happen!) But whatever the official numbers were, it was certainly successful as a fundraiser for charity... at $2 a head, a whopping $30,000 was raised for the Heart Fund!   

I am so honoured that my dance Singapore Swing was chosen for this event, especially after the Australians were kind enough to use my Boot Scootin' Boogie for their string of records and Doris Volz recently reminded me that Cowgirls Twist was used to set the record prior to that. I am a thrice-blessed man! The record prior to Singapore's was in the mid-6,000 range, set in Tamworth, Australia. This is the first time in 5 years that any group has managed to better the amazing Aussies who broke their own record year after year.

As part of the full day's line dance entertainment which included the genuinely BRITISH band The Glenn Miller Experience, I had a one hour workshop where I taught two of my dances: Little Squirt for the many beginners who bravely stayed around for a while, and then I asked "Do you want another easy dance, or do you want me to teach something more challenging?" Thousands of responses of "More Challenging!" prompted me to teach my latest dance, Mama Jazz. Possibly 6,000 (maybe 8,000?) dancers mastered both dances in only an hour! That says so much about the progress of line dancing around the world!

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Click here for PHOTOS OF THE EVENT


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