13 December, 2023

Dancing up a storm at Merriland Hall

EVERY Wednesday night Merriland Hall turns into a hive of activity when dancers of all ages descend upon the facility.

Duncan Buckley is one of many dancers who enjoy weekly gatherings at Merriland Hall.
Duncan Buckley is one of many dancers who enjoy weekly gatherings at Merriland Hall.

About 50 dancers from Cairns to Innisfail join the Tablelands Social Dances weekly events, and every now and then you’ll find a number of visiting grey nomads also taking part. 

TSD secretary Laurel Eden said on any given Wednesday night, they have 30 or so dances. 

“If you do them all, you know you have lived,” she said. 

Due to its size, Merriland Hall can cater for set dances held in an outer ring while newcomers can find their feet on the inside. 

Mrs Eden said those still learning to dance were able to head on into the middle and move as they pleased. 

“It moves pretty quick. We have kept it modern. In the last year we have doubled the number of people coming along,” she said. 

From 6.30pm-7pm they hold a lesson and from then on, the music starts and dancers take to the floor for the set dances until 9.30pm (with a break in there, also). 

Cost is $5 each to take part.  

“We are catering to what the people want. I’m sure that’s why we are succeeding, while some clubs are struggling to keep their numbers up. It really puts the Tablelands on the map,” Mrs Eden said.

She said dancing was a lot of fun and “a good way to keep fit”. 

“I do not know what I would do without this in my life,” Mrs Eden said. 

Members of the group are also instrumental in giving lessons to the Mareeba debutantes. 

While the group doesn’t hold competitions, its weekly meets are something to enjoy. 

The group holds regular themed dances including 1943 post-war, a Christmas dance and an annual ball. 

“We are a pretty active and social bunch, we have a good committee that are creative,” Mrs Eden said.

It’s not too late to sign up for their New Year’s Eve Dance at Yungaburra Hall, either. 

With the 1920s Gatsby theme, dancers are encouraged to wear feathers and pearls for the ladies and suits and ties for the men. 

Book tickets, at $15 each, through Graeme at or phone or text 0467 895 170 - tea, coffee and supper provided. 

For more information visit Tablelands Social Dancers Facebook page.


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