Phyl and Kev. Stewart
Phyl started Square Dancing almost at the birth of the movement in Australia.
Over the years this passion saw a shift into the Rounds and Clogging.
For many years Phyl gave assistance to the running of the Carousel Round Dance Club that was headed by Elva Hoppe.
Short stints at running beginner Round Dance sessions at Square Dance clubs in the 1980’s, saw the evolution of her own Round Dance Clubs in both Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. For many years Phyl and Kev lead the clubs with the largest number of dancers seen in a long time.
Their forward thinking lead to a trip in the late 1980’s to the USA that was the catalyst to revolutionise the teaching techniques used in Australia. A second trip a few years later lead to the first of a string of high calibre US teachers making their way down under, and was instrumental in lifting the standard of the local dancers. For many years the PK Round Dance Club was one of the few clubs outside of the USA to achieve the Carousel status as a high level club.
Together they have poured a lot of their own money and resources into lifting the recognition of better techniques and better choreography to the local associations. From this knowledge, many regular afternoon sessions have been organised by Phyl & Kev with the thought in mind of providing teaching to the other teachers, the finest of these being the Compton Garden series spread over a number of years.It was during one of the International weekends known as “Focus on Rounds”, that the first minilab to be run outside of the USA was hosted. Run by Irv & Betty Easterday, it gave an insight into how Roundalab operated, issues that were driving decisions made in the USA, as well as insights into other teaching techniques. Through these international weekends, other dance rhythms like Paso Doble, Bolero, and West Coast Swing were taught with all the feeling of the rhythm for the first time. The dancers were shown that to achieve higher levels correct body mechanics were as important as the steps being made.
To date Phyl & Kev have run the highest level of dance displayed at a club level and continue to operate clubs aimed at both beginner and at the higher end of the dance spectrum.
QRDA is honoured to have Phyl and Kev Stewart as Life Members. The award was made at the AGM in Beerwah on 11 March 2006
Roundalab Distinguished Service Award
A busload of dancers descended on the retirement village home of Phyl and Kev Stewart on Wednesday evening 18 March 2009.
They arrived, unexpected, to surprise them at their Wednesday Dance. The purpose was to witness the presentation to Phyl and Kev
of a special “Distinguished Service Award” from Roundalab.
Warwick Armstrong, who read the citation from Roundalab, told how the Stewarts had changed the way that Round Dancing was now taught and danced. When they started dancing, rounds were a collection of easy two steps and waltzes. During a trip to America , Phyl & Kev came to know Erv And Betty Easterday, who introduced them to the new style of dancing that included body mechanics and diagonal directions. Phyl and Kev started to bring to Queensland, at great expense to themselves and their club, a series of well known American teachers, and were hosts to the first Roundalab mini-lab held outside America. The influence of the these teachers and these weekends have changed the way we now dance and teach Round Dancing.
A big thank you to Phyl and Kev for their time, money, and perseverance in bringing about this change. All dancers are indebted to them. Paula presented the award to them and read a letter from the Easterdays commending them for their achievements.