Rockland Dancers Break Record

ON Sunday afternoon, July 20 in 94 degree heat, 312 men, women and children danced the same step in unison in one single line for five minutes and successfully broke the Guinness World Record for the single longest line of dancers at the Anthony Wayne State Park in Stony Point, New York."We actually did it," said Bill Lee, organizer of the event, proudly. "We were slightly worried all weekend that it would rain but it didn't and we are now the Guinness World Record holders for the longest single line of dancers," he told the Irish Voice on Tuesday. Lee, who owns Leeway Construction, got the idea from an Irish dance magazine a few months back where he read how 216 kids in Dublin had broken the world record for the challenge in 2007. He decided this also could be done in the U.S. and began organizing the challenge immediately. Lee teamed up with the Rockland State Feis, and before he knew it adults and children were signing up in an attempt to break the world record. Lee, 43, enlisted the help of Irish dance teachers across the county, including Kevin Broesler, his eight-year-old daughter Brianne's Irish dancing teacher. Each dancer, who aged from four to 47, had to sign their names before taking their place in the line of 312 people to ensure the Guinness Book of Records officials knew who exactly participated in the event and how many people danced. "The line was over 200 feet long and it went in order of height," explains Lee, who has never danced an Irish step in his life. After a few rehearsals and getting everyone in white custom made t-shirts, the five minutes began and according to Lee, the sight was just amazing. "I was in awe," he said. "Seeing everyone dancing at the same time was just wonderful."Music was provided by a young Irish music group called Girsa. Once the music began, the dancers were off and danced in unison for the required five minutes. "Even the little four-year-old finished. It was just a wonderful sight," said Lee. Due to the hot, sticky weather, a last minute location altering had to take place. "We were supposed to do it on the road but because the tar was melting we had to take the challenge up onto the grass," Lee said, adding that it worked just as fine. Over 1,000 people were there to participate in encouraging the dancers and, according to Lee, could be heard for miles around clapping and cheering when the time had passed the five minutes and the record had been successfully broken. Lee, whose parents Bill and Mary come from Co. Limerick, has now sent the challenge back to Ireland. "We have contacted a few radio stations and are hoping that people in Ireland will try to break it and have a little fun like we did."

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