First of all, for those of you who want to know how to pronounce my surname, it's "H-rit-san". After years of "surname abuse", I felt the need to provide a pronunciation. My surname is Ukrainian and my paternal grandfather was from the Ukraine.
As most of you will know by now, my name is Liam Hrycan and I was an active line dance choreographer and instructor from 1997 to around 2005. I choreographed many line dances during this time, but the most famous is the worldwide classic Pot Of Gold, and it is this dance that has probably brought you to my website. I was born in 1982 in Hertfordshire. I lived the first 12 years of my life there and this is where I say I am from originally as I certainly don't have a broad Manchester accent. However, since moving to Stockport back in 1994, I've only visited Letchworth once, so now I call Stockport home.
I went to Marple Hall High School and finished there in 1998, and then went on to Ridge Danyers College and finished there in 2000.
However, in 1997 I discovered something that would change me as a person and also put me on track for something amazing. That was Line Dancing...
Now, when I tell people that I'm a Line Dancer, people usually smirk (which is expected and I smile about it myself), but then when I go on to tell people my story and where it's lead me, people are usually quite impressed.
Line Dancing in England has changed a LOT over the years, from its early days where it was all 100% country music and pretty much EVERYONE wore the good old countrywear, like Stetsons, frilly shirts and big belt buckles… Yes, even I used to look like a cowboy! However, nowadays most people are wearing caps, t-shirts and dance sneakers and dancing to a broad range of music including country, pop, latin, jazz, swing, funk, soul, rap and R&B. Line Dancing has strayed a lot from its country roots, which some people dislike, but I feel that the influence from other dance and music styles is a good thing as it attracts the younger crowd with which this dance form can truly flourish.
Line Dancing caught my eye at a friend's parent's party. There, some mutual friends of both our families (albeit adult friends considering I was 15 at the time), were dancing Tush Push to Swamp Thang by The Grid. Now I loved the music anyway, but the dancing looked fun, so I decided to go along to the classes with them and my mate Chris and try it out! We were great mates Chris, it's a shame we lost touch. I wish you all the best in life buddy.
I was immediately hooked to Line Dancing and went religiously every week from then on. It didn't really take me long to get into choreography after learning most of the basic steps in Line Dancing, and about 6 weeks into starting, I'd written my first dance. It was a 32 Step 4 Wall Beginner dance called Goin' Country. Nothing happened with the dance, but I enjoyed writing dances that much that I continued to do it regularly experimenting with new steps and combinations as I continued to learn them at the class...
I moved on from the original class and started attending other local classes. One class I started going to was run by a man called Michael, and this was where I started to realise that it wasn't all country music. By this time though, I'd grown to love country music and I still do to this day, but I would have to say that I prefer to LISTEN to most Country rather than dancing to it. Country music is so expressive and I think anyone in this world can relate to at least one country song, as it covers so many issues and everyday subjects that life throws at you.
My first choreography success at the time was with a dance called Shufflin To Victory. I wrote this dance to a track from the Lord of the Dance soundtrack. The reason it was a mini-success at the time was because Michael taught it at all 3 of his classes in Greater Manchester. Seeing my dance being danced by about 30-40 people on a dance floor was a great feeling, and it spurred me on to writing more. That was back in April 1998...
I didn't take long before my experimentation brought me to create one of the biggest line dances of recent history! Pot Of Gold has become a line dance classic on a worldwide scale and has been taught and danced in practically every dance class in the UK. It's also been taught and danced all over Europe, the Far East (Japan, Malaysia and Singapore), Australia and all over the USA and Canada.
Pot of Gold's success came purely by chance. I wrote the dance by recording the piece of music, Dance Above The Rainbow, on to a cassette tape from the actual soundtrack of the videotape for Michael Flatley's Feet Of Flames. The dance was written… it was just a case of waiting to see if the music would be released on the soundtrack music album. Thankfully it was, otherwise we wouldn't have Pot Of Gold today! That was in November 1998.
Now a little before Pot of Gold was written I had started using the internet at home and I was finding the internet and e-mail very useful in promoting myself and my dances. I quickly taught myself how to build my own website and it was on my first website that I placed all the dances I'd written up to that point. The success of Pot of Gold relied directly on the internet. In early 1999, people began reporting on the dance and furiously emailing the step sheet to each other by e-mail and on the LineDance UK Mailing List.
After this, it didn't take long before it entered the Linedancer Magazine monthly top ten charts. It hit the #1 spot in May 1999. Linedancer Magazine is a professionally run and published magazine, which covers everything to do with Line Dancing all over the world, and has helped massively to promote and encourage line dancing on an international level.
By this time, pretty much everyone in the UK was either dancing or teaching Pot of Gold. It was also gaining speed travelling the world, with people teaching it over in the USA, Canada and Australia. Word eventually came through that it had been taught in Japan, Singapore and Malaysia too, where Line Dancing was in it's infancy and thriving. I have Jo Thompson to thank that as she originally took it over there. Thanks Jo, hope you keep going from strength to strength with your recovery!
Amidst Pot Of Gold's success, I started doing something else I love… and that is teaching people to line dance. I was pretty much "forced" into teaching because dancers at the various classes I attended wanted to learn Pot of Gold! The first time I taught was at a local class in Romiley, near Stockport, and I realised that even though I had NEVER done anything at all like this before, I had a skill and a knack for delivering clear and precise instruction, as well as being entertaining and not experiencing any nervousness. As a teenager, I was pretty quiet and introvert… but teaching dance and learning to dance better both technically and expressively gave me an air of confidence I'd never experienced before. I owe everything I am as a person today to line dance choreography and instruction.
Over the summer of 1999, I was invited to teach a number of workshops at the Tarheel Dance Classic weekend event in North Carolina, USA. Without hesitation I snapped up this offer and went with a good friend, June Deakin (The Lady In Black). June had recently enjoyed success with a dance she co-choreographed called BLACK IC3 and was already an established instructor in the West Midlands. We had a blast, the Americans loved having us Brits over there, and all my workshops were full. We've not been in touch for a LONG time June, I really hope you're doing well. I taught Pot of Gold, amongst other dances I'd written. The weekend was a huge boost for me, and being my first time in America, it made me fall in love with the place. I'll never forget the feeling of driving on the right hand side of the road (it was my first major trip outside of the UK), and everything around me being so HUGE! Thanks to Scott Hucks for the invite!
By Christmas 1999, I'd been nominated for Dance of the Year and UK Choreographer of the Year in Linedancer Magazine's Crystal Boot Awards, which is a fantastic award ceremony and dance weekend at the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool, england. The awards are nominated by the national and international readers, who then go on to vote for the winners.
Christmas and New Year came and went, with the votes for Pot of Gold being taken over this time. I was invited back to America again, which was great, and I attended two dance weekends in Jan/Feb 2000. I spent the week in between with my good American friend, Pepper. We visited New York City, which I'll never forget! Respect to the Americans and New York City… what an amazing place! Hope you're well Pepper and Jim.
After coming back from the USA, it was time to go to the Crystal Boot Awards to find out who the winners were. It was such a buzzing atmosphere when Pot of Gold won the Dance Of The Year Crystal Boot award for 1999. I can't really remember much of my acceptance speech… I know I thanked my mum for her support and for naming the dance and I'm sure I thanked all the dancers out there for voting for it. I'll never forget dancing on a projected stage in front of 1500 people dancing the steps that I'd put together in my bedroom. The dance floor was PACKED to its limits.
Pot of Gold immediately threw me into the public eye, and after the success of a dance which everyone loved, people wanted to meet me. I was busy with workshops, with at least 1 or 2 a month, travelling the length and breadth of the UK teaching on stage and loving every minute of it.
In the summer of 2000, I went back to America and arranged a 6 week tour of the Eastern states teaching at about 4 big dance weekends, and teaching locally arranged workshops at classes along the way. I thank Pepper, Joanne Brady (my American Mom!), Linda Vine, Mike and Betty, Jean and James, John Robinson, Brian B, Staci and Jen, Bill and Linda all for their parts in that tour, from housing me; to driving me around and ensuring I had workshops arranged. I had a fantastic time! Maybe one day, I'll meet up with you all again!
Then the autumn of 2000 it was back to the Tarheel Dance Classic in North Carolina. Thanks for having me back Scott, it was great! Hope you're fully settled after the hurricane all those years ago!
After returning, I decided to start up a weekly class with Aiden Montgomery. I'd become close friends with Aiden while attending Rob Fowler's weekly classes in Kirkby, Liverpool. He studied at Manchester University, so I would regularly travel with him there and to Rob's class in Harrogate. We also regularly travelled to other events up and down the country. It was great having a class to teach every week and we concentrated on intermediate/advanced dances. We even brought John Robinson to Stockport for a workshop when he was on a tour of the UK.
The year 2000 saw the end of my time at Ridge Danyers College in Marple. I didn't get what I wanted, mainly down to the fact I concentrated more on dance than studying, so I decided not to go to University. In retrospect, I wished I had put the time into my A Levels and gone to University, because the experience would have been good. However, I continued to teach at the class with Aiden and teach workshops in the UK as and when they came.
In February 2001, I returned to the Linedancer Awards in Blackpool, though this time as part of The Fun Four. This line dance quartet of well-known faces consisted of me, Dynamite Dot, Stephen Sunter and Daniel Whittaker. Over the previous couple of years or so, we'd taken part in several workshops together and realised we worked very well as a group. So in April 2001, The Fun Four travelled to teach 4 workshops in the UK and we kicked it off at the Awards by teaching a workshop dressed as Noddy (Steve), Dennis the Menace (myself, Looby Lou (Dot) and Andy Pandy (Daniel)! I'm still good friends with all four of them, though aren't in touch as often. Maybe one day The Fun Four will get back together again to do a workshop or one of those crazy cabaret demos we did! Great times!
In 2000, I started talking to a girl on the internet called Jolena from Casper, Wyoming, USA. We realised there was something between us, so after talking practically everyday, we decided to meet up in the summer of 2001. I flew to Denver, Colorado and then took a night bus to Casper. I'll never forget the journey, as it was quite scary being somewhere completely on your own, going to stay with a family I'd never met before. I stayed with Jolena and her family; her older sister Angie, her mum Reva and the family pets. We had a great time and did lots of fun things. I got along well with all of them and was made to feel part of the family.
As part of my visit, I planned to teach at the Rocky Mountain Dance Festival, also in Casper. This used to be an annual event where line dancing was the main part of the event. Machelle, the event director, gathered line dance and couples instructors to teach for a long weekend. Considering the location, this was a popular event. It gave me a great chance to work with my very good friends John Robinson and Jo Thompson, and I was received very well at the event by everyone there. I taught a few of my dances, though Pot of Gold was the most popular workshop.
After the event, I took a journey with John back across to Kentucky to his apartment, and then we headed to New Orleans for the Country Dance Mardi Gras I'd taught and danced at in 2000 on my 6 week tour. It was as fantastic as before, but this time I was there to just dance, socialise with everyone I'd met before, and have fun!
After coming home, me and Aiden wound the class up and stopped it. This was a shame as everyone that still attended really enjoyed it, but the number of people dwindled and it began costing money to run. Plus Aiden had graduated from University and had to start looking for work, and I needed to get some kind of job too as I was getting old! Not long after, Aiden found a job and moved down to the South of England. We're not as in touch anymore, but I do feel he's one of those friends that will last a lifetime despite this. I'll never forget some of the long journeys we took in that car, some in the middle of the night. KFC, Pasties and Dr Pepper!
Over Christmas 2001 and New Year, I visited Jolena and her family again. This was a really special time and it was so warming spending it in America with people I had grown to care about from my last visit.
I decided to start work at Subway in Stockport as a "sandwich artist" in March 2002. I figured I spent that much money there eating, it would be better to work there, get paid, and get free sandwiches too! Within 6 months, I was a team leader and became very good friends with Andy, a guy from Calgary in Canada, who was my fellow team leader. We became pretty god friends and spent a lot of time going out drinking and playing pool/snooker. Lots of memorable nights out with James and Louise!
In summer of 2002, I was back in Casper, Wyoming to see Jolena and the family. During this time, I lost my passport and ended up being there for 10 weeks waiting for a new one to arrive - I was only supposed to be there for 5! What a horrible mess! I taught at the Dance Festival, and this time Jodie Binsteed and Rachael McEnaney were there too! We performed a couple of demonstrations as a group with Jo and John and had a blast! John, I hope you're okay. Not talked to you for ages but I hope to meet up with you again in future! Rachael, thanks for being a brilliant friend… pass my love on to the family, who for a long time were like my own family. I'm glad I was able to help you in the early days on your way up the ladder. Jodie, well done with all your success! Thanks to Machelle of course for inviting me to her event twice and giving me the chance to teach dance in Casper.
Towards the end of 2002, I moved in to a flat in Stockport with Canadian Andy and his girlfriend Louise. This was the first time I've lived away from home and it was a good experience, which gave me a lot of independence. Jolena and I decided to go out separate ways. We'd known each other for 4 years, but as we were both at changing times in our lives, we'd both changed as people and felt it was probably for the best. I wish Jolena and her new family all the best for the future.
In March 2003, Andy and I were ready to move on from Subway and we applied to the Cooperative Bank to work as Customer Service Advisors. We were successful and trained together. We eventually ended up working at the Pyramid in Stockport. Louise stayed on at Subway, but by the spring time, I'd moved back home with my parents. I'm not really in touch with Andy anymore, but he'll always be a good friend.
By the winter of 2003, I had started slipping away from dancing. But, that December, I attended the Masters In Line British event in Blackpool. I ran the website for MIL from 2001 to around 2005/2006. Attending this event made me realise I was missing out so much by not dancing regularly. Mum had fallen ill for the first time in September and that, coupled with seeing all my dance friends from over the years upset me and spurred me into starting to attend Rob Fowler's classes and travelling to Preston to Steve Sunter's class. I'd made new friends in Natalie and Dianne from Liverpool, and went to other workshops/classes/socials a lot with them. Me and Natalie quickly took to learning West Coast Swing and Hustle together and practiced pretty much all the time. It got to the point where we'd be couples dancing more than line dancing, but that was okay as it was something we both really enjoyed. I'll never forget some of the drunken times dancing and having a great laugh together. Yes Matthew, we both have heads! I'll always love ya Natty! And Dianne, you've always been like me Mum, love you too.
Work at the bank got boring so I decided to apply as a Technical Customer Service Advisor with smile, the internet bank, which is part of the same group. I felt I would fit this role well as I had always been good with computers. I stayed at smile for 6 months until September 2004 when I took another step in life, and that was to become a Casino Dealer. In the run up to the Casino training school though, I continued dancing every week at Rob and Steve's classes and couples dancing socially of course whenever and wherever with Dianne and Nat. I also attended many socials and workshops with dance friends which were really fun! Rob you're a good friend too… I enjoyed working the MIL website for you for all that time, I hope you continue to enjoy the major success you have done so far. Steve, you're like me older brother or something like that. Such great times we've all had in the past, with Carol, Pauline and Margaret too! Never forget Margaret's dropped gob in Scunthorpe and that policeman who asked if you were Steve Sunter. Or spelling "SHIT" with the chips at that crappy restaurant where the toilets stank of poo, and you spitting Coke all down the wall from laughing!
The training school for the Casino was tough going, but well worth it in the end. I made lots of new friends and really enjoyed the job, which proved to be a great challenge.
I spent a good 18 months at Grosvenor Casino Whitworth Street in Manchester and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I progressed in the position and became an experienced dealer. I also took the time to learn Reception and the role of Receptionist (which is quite an important role in a UK casino, with lots of different responsibilities). During my time in the Casino though, dancing dwindled a large amount due to the hours I had to work. Most work days were night shifts and my days off varied from week to week, which meant it was hard to maintain a regular attendance at the classes I'd been going to for years.
A little while after joining the Casino, Fraser (a cashier at the time) invited me to lodge at his apartment, which was an offer I couldn't refuse as it meant saving time and money living nearer to work. Fraser had a nice apartment in a nice complex in Salford and I lived there for almost a year. Eventually I had to move out because Fraser's girlfriend Lizzy was due to give birth to twins, so they obviously needed the space. Thanks to Fraser and Lizzy for their hospitality and I wish them all the best in the future with their family.
Instead of going back home, I moved into a shared terrace house also in Salford. I shared the place with Rachel for a while and then Kris moved in. It was a nice enough house, basic but comfortable in my room, etc, and an affordable all-inclusive price. I lived there for pretty much the rest of my time at Whitworth Street.
In October 2005, I'd decided to go on the cruise ships and work in the casinos there. After living in Salford for a while, I went back to live with my parents for about 5 months to save some money to pay for preparing for the cruise ships. I applied to Carnival Corporation with Michelle, Mark and Steve. We went to London in January 2006 for the interview and after a short wait, we all got accepted. However, Steve decided he didn't want to do it, so it was just myself, Mark and Shell on our way!
All we had to do was get a US Crew visa and do a full medical. It took a good 6 months or so to get all this done, but eventually it was time. Mark and Shell were off on a P&O Ship to the South Pacific/New Zealand/Australia, and I was off on the Holland America Line ms Amsterdam. Although a little sad to not be going with my friends, I knew that my time on the ships would create new friendships. The time got nearer, and 21st August 2006 came around so quickly!
I left Whitworth Street about 2 weeks before my departure date for a well-earned break and then it was off to Copenhagen, Denmark to join the ship! I felt lots of mixed emotions… leaving family and friends behind and everything I was used to.
I only stayed for one contract aboard the Amsterdam and decided that ship life wasn't quite right for me. That was a long 8-month contract where I travelled the world visiting places I'd only ever dreamed about before! I'll never forget swimming in the hot springs in Iceland, Icebergs and Northern Lights in Greenland. The peaceful sailing in Canada, and the hustle-bustle of New York City! Then, of course, the winter months spent in the Caribbean lazing on beaches. Christmas Dinner on a hot day by the ocean in Curacao! And last, but not least, the 3-month Grand World Voyage, visiting Easter Island, Tahiti, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, Dubai, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Spain! What a fantastic time I had aboard and I met some great people who I am proud to call friends. Thank god for Facebook, otherwise I don't think I'd be in touch with a large majority of those wonderful people!
After working on the cruise ship for 8 long months, I decided to return to work in the UK in April 2007. On arrival, I pretty much walked back into my job as a Casino Dealer at Whitworth Street and was promoted to Inspector within 6 months. At the end of 2007, I accepted the offer of a room living with Mark Nugent (who I'd applied to the ships with). I still live here as I write this (February 2011) and have enjoyed living here for all that time. We live pretty much on the fringes of the city centre and it's so convenient for work and travelling. Thanks to Mark for putting up with me for so long!
As for dancing, I've not choreographed a dance since 2005, and the only dancing I've done was a small amount at the World Dance Masters event that came to Manchester in 2010. Although I feel it would be hard to commit to a regular class due to work, Rachael has told me to try to make at least one class a month. Perhaps I shall try!
From 2008 - 2010, I decided to apply for a position as a Trainee Air Traffic Controller with NATS. After many rigorous tests and travelling down to Southampton several times, I was unsuccessful at the final stage interview both times that I applied for the job. A huge disappointment for me as I felt that I would be well suited to this job. I can only apply three times, so if I apply again, it would be my final attempt.
In October 2008, I started talking to the love of my life Mod online. She is a wonderful girl from Thailand who I fell in love with. She currently works as a computer programmer/systems analyst for a major company in Bangkok, Thailand. We decided to meet each other in March/April 2009 when I travelled to see her with my friend from Whitworth Street, Darryl. We had a wonderful 2 weeks together, travelling through Thailand and it was the start of something great between us. I also met her family, who were very welcoming to me.
Mod has since visited me and my family in England, in September 2009, where we went to London and the Lakes. I then returned to Thailand in April 2010 to see Mod and her family again. This time travelling there with my great friend Steve, his sister Clare, Darryl and his friend Adam. We all had a wonderful time together with many great memories.
In November 2010, I decided to leave Whitworth Street and move to Manchester 235 casino. One of the best decisions I've made in a long time. I enjoy working there so much; it's busier and some of the games are far more testing than at Whitworth Street. I look forward to my time there in the future.
That's about it really! You can keep up-to-date with me on Facebook, which has become a great place to keep in touch with people.
Thanks to EVERYONE that I've come across in my life, from the early days of line dancing, right through the years I was doing that. Working at Subway and the Bank, and then of course my great friends in America who I had the pleasure of meeting through dance or otherwise in the case of Jolena, family and friends in Casper, Wyoming. Then on to working in the Casinos; some absolutely brilliant people who I hope will keep in touch. The cruise ships and the many great people I had the pleasure of working with and knowing.
Thanks to my family for helping me with everything to do with Line Dancing. I wouldn't have been able to do it without their support. My dance career was always dedicated to my mum Jackie, I owe so much to her. I hope she can stay well for many years.
Thanks to Mod for loving me the past 2 years and keeping me strong. I hope our future together is beautiful, I love you...
I have such a great sense of pride with Pot Of Gold. To this day, so many years after I wrote the dance in the small space of my bedroom floor, people still flock to the floor to dance and enjoy something that I created. I dedicate my Crystal Boot to all of you out there who danced, taught or promoted Pot Of Gold, and brought it to dancefloors around the world. I also want thank all the dancers out there who nominated Pot of Gold for the Linedancer Magazine Dance of the Decade at the 2007 Linedancer Magazine Awards. Pot of Gold was shortlisted alongside 20 other "classic" line dances from 1997-2007! A true honour! May Pot Of Gold continue to prosper on line dance floors worldwide for decades to come!