Monday, 12 December 2011

Put on your dancing shoes

When I was young, I wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up. I nagged and nagged until finally I was allowed to go to ballet class. Naturally, I had visions of myself prancing around on points (pink naturally) in a pale pink, sparkly tutu with pristine white tights. The reality, of course, was somewhat different - plain white tunic and BLACK ballet shoes with white socks. Being a bit of a tomboy (despite the desire to be a ballerina!), I invariably had grubby knees - not quite the look I was hoping to achieve.
Miss Johnson's School of Ballet was in the centre of Edinburgh, which meant getting a bus by myself. The bus dropped me off right outside but coming home I had to cross a very busy main road to catch the bus. I had strict instructions not to try to cross the road by myself but to ask an adult to see me safely across. I must have been about 10 at the time - can you imagine telling a 10 year old these days to approach a stranger to see them across the road??!! Anyway, I survived - which is more than my ballet career did. Despite being an extremely skinny child, I was very heavy-footed and not at all supple and when I discovered it would be years before I could twirl around in the desired manner, I soon lost interest.
As a teenager, I loved going dancing but was always surprised that everyone was out of step with me. This happened in our Scottish country dancing classes in school too. What was wrong with everyone? My ex-husband used to enjoy dancing but his sense of rhythm was on a par with mine. We always looked as though we were dancing to totally different tunes. Story of our life together really!
When Gerry and I met, he wasn't at all keen on dancing. After a holiday in Malta watching couples who had obviously been to classes twirling effortlessly around the floor each evening, we decided that we really had to learn to dance. The only class I could find in our area was line dancing. Gerry wasn't remotely interested in that so I went by myself. At last I had found something I could do! I think I find line dancing easy because the steps are so precise, the music has a strong beat and, most importantly, I don't have to follow someone else.
Although I was really enjoying the line dancing, it still wasn't something we could do together so when we saw Swing-Jive/Lindy Hop classes starting up nearby, we signed up immediately. We both loved it from the start, especially since we love the music of the 40's and 50's. I have to say that we're not particularly good but we thoroughly enjoy it and we used to go to one or two classes every week and two or three dances a month.
Since moving to France, we haven't been able to find any classes or dances in our area. We've been to various parties and soirées where the odd Rock'n'Roll tune is played and we have been able to strut our stuff. However, more traditional dancing is popular over here, especially to accordion music so we're going to have to learn a whole new reportoire!


  1. As we seem to be running parallel lives will have to try that Lindy Hop - perhaps it is available locally to me!! Got a great sense of your childhood frustration there...!

  2. must b in th genes heather ive got twpleft hands and two left feet was once a barn dance and was dancing with dennis our older gardner . we though we were doing well till we realised we were going in the opposite direction from the rest in the gay gordons