BRIAN AND CHRISTINE BEAN - RED HOT ROCKABILLY
Brian and Christine Bean are well known to most of us in Newcastle and the Central Coast, “Red Hot
Rockabilly” dance school has taught literally thousands of people the art of Rockabilly dancing, along with some swing, cha cha and other 40’s 50’s styles.
I asked Brian & Christine to look back on their early dance days and share with us some memories. Brian tells that they took their first ever dance lessons at Arthur Murrays dance school – their teacher was a gentleman called
Clive and he taught them some ballroom, latin and general dance styles. “It wasn’t until we quite by chance decided to go and see a band, Tezza and the Twistops, that we decided to learn to dance to that style of music.
We did a few rock n roll lessons, but shortly after starting, we went to a Rock n Roll –v- Rockabilly dance at the old Gosford Golf Club.”
The club is now the Blue Tongue stadium now, and Brian lamented that it had the most wonderful dance floor now gone as have so many others. . Christine said she remembers how scared she was at her first rock n roll lesson – she and Brian ended up facing totally the wrong way. You wouldn’t think it now, but Christine was all set to chuck it
in as just being way to hard and complicated. However she says the lesson learnt was to teach things nice and easy, slow and steady because she will never forget that first terrifying lesson.
Anyway, the rockabilly band started and Brian tells they ‘fell in love’ with the music and the dance style. “The
music just felt ‘earthy – not showy or aggressive – just something that grabbed
you.” From then on they concentrated on Rockabilly lessons, learning with Adam and Georgina Parker when
they started teaching on the Central Coast. Brian recollects that they were in Adam’s very first dance class.
Brian also worked as a DJ for Adam from time to time, and after flying through the lessons – Brian confided to Adam that he and Christine would like to start teaching. Adam’s response “ I wondered how long it would
So the journey continued in a different direction – getting accreditation to teach and helping out Adam in classes and with the DJ work. First ever Rockabilly lesson was Monday at Wyong golf club, then on the
Tuesday night, classes started upstairs with a big six people at Speers Point RSL( I wuz one of them!) Within 12 – 18 months Red Hot Rockabilly was firing! Moving from Speers Point RSL , the first lesson night at Cardiff Workers Club had 140 beginners. In the end, Red Hot Rockabilly had 11 venues going under their name, with Lauren,
Rachel and Gavin all lending a hand. At one stage over 1000 people were being taught weekly.
Dances at several venues were packed out and the fashion was unbelievable; everyone frocked up every night. Vintage clothes were still easily found in op shops and the girls all took sewing lessons to run up skirts, dress’s and blouses. Swaping and selling items was common at most weekend dances.
Red Hot Rockabilly constantly promoted music and dance in the area. One of the most successful events was when over 9 bands were put on at Mingarra – it was huge and packed to the rafters with dancers.
Stalls with clothes and all sorts of goodies were on show, the first time this had been done at a dance. The Rockabilly Jamborees at Morisset were fantastic events also – along with many of the regular events when Brian and Christine would bring up different bands to entertain the dancers.
Brian’s best music memory is he says, “seeing Brian Setzer and Stray Cats in America – a highlight to last forever.” Other great bands that were around ten to fifteen years ago were the original line ups of Rock Cat Rock, the Bell Hops, the Sonic Aces and Reb Baker and the Houseshakers.
Would they do anything differently? The answer not at all – except to wish they had started 20 years earlier. What do they hope for the future? “Well”, said Brian, “I still love rockabilly because it tends to attract the younger people and we need the youngsters. There is still a huge rockabilly culture, but the kids don’t dance. What we need is young teachers, the same age and generation as those out there listening to the bands. I hope that some youngsters will come to love the dance as much as the music and lead a new generation on to the dance floor”.