Written anonymously – until I make it onto Strictly!
A fact about me:
- I LOVE dancing
As a child in the 80’s (I can’t remember the exact time frame), every Saturday between 10am-12pm, I would attend Latin, disco and ballroom dance classes. My clumsy and chubby frame very slowly learnt to stand a bit taller, hold my posture a little tighter and enjoy moving to the music. I was hooked and I don’t mind saying that I was actually quite good. Before long I was entered for ‘gradings’ and a few weeks after each one I would be given creamy certificates with my name on and some of them had stickers which read ‘honours’ and ‘distinction’. My favourite was the cha-cha-cha. We used to do this to the best Top of the Pops tunes of the time and I would smile throughout the routine as my endorphins and confidence soared.
In Year 7 of secondary school, it was announced that there would be a 12-hour sponsored dance marathon. My heart fizzed with excitement. I rehearsed the routines and I was ready to go. I would be dancing from 7am-7pm and it was going to be the best day ever. A day where I could do something that I was actually good at.
Wearing my new sparkly tunic top, teamed with my black ski-pants, I entered the hall. The music was fab, just what I was used to, but the atmosphere was all off. There were clumps of older kids slumped at various points around the wall. They were not dressed to dance! My eyes took in the myriad of colours as disco lights bounced off their fashionable shell suits and trainers. There were a few people on the dance floor, but they weren’t doing a dance that I knew, or that I had been taught and I knew for a fact that they wouldn’t be interested in my sort of dancing.
I couldn’t see anyone that I knew or even anyone from my year group. I had been dropped off, so it was too late to change my mind and I was absolutely not allowed to walk home on my own. Some of my favourite songs were played and I stood and bobbed and swayed to the beat, too scared to do my full routines. Judging eyes and scornful smirks continued to flow in my direction along with the silent mouthing of words ‘What is she doing?’, ‘Why has she come on her own?’
It was a long day. I never went back to the dance classes after that.
To this day, I still do not like being the centre of attention or being looked at. When I am out with the gals for a do or a party you will find me getting my groove on in my safe space – which is right in the middle of the gang, their taller limbs shielding me from the judging view of others. (Of course, I know that is probably not the truth – but it might be for one or two meanies and for that reason I am staying hidden, lest I appear on one of those meme-giffy things for eternity.)*
Going for a positive spin on resolutions this January 2022, I began thinking about things that I could begin to add in order to enhance my life in a joyful way. Thinking hard, there was only really one answer deep down.
I wanted to dance again and this time without fear, or worry, or caring a dot about what anyone else thinks of me.
And tonight is the night. Lesson number 1. Absolute beginners. I have paid upfront for half a term. My nearest and dearest have been told and are wholly excited and supportive of the idea (Well sort of. I asked the other half to come with me and he said he would rather pull his eyeballs out with a stick. I tried pushing, begging and blackmailing but to no avail. The furthest I got was getting him to say that if he had to do it to save mine, our daughter’s or the dog’s lives then he would).
As I type and the time draws near, I am flitting between nervousness and excitement. I am flakey. I could well go home and sack it off. I hope I don’t though.
I will let you know!
*There was one Christmas do where the festive spirit got to us all. Halfway through the disco, we thought it would be hilarious to go and get changed into our matching Christmas jim-jams and boogie-woogie back onto the dance floor. I am pretty sure that we are on the world wide web somewhere. Lots of sober party-goers half our age got their phones out to document the ridiculous display of tipsy lunacy. And I loved it. I was dancing without a care in the world happy and free and for that time I did not give a hoot about what anyone else was thinking – just like before.