In the middle of December 2015, Sarah sent a Facebook message asking if I would be interested in a dancing session. I agreed to it in a ‘life is to short’ moment, without really knowing what I was letting myself in for. Following this there was much discussion over what to wear and shoes.

 We recruited Amy during a drunken News Years eve party. It was only when we watched a youtube video of Charleston dancing that I actually realised what I had let myself in for. I was starting to get nervous at this point, dancing has never been my strong point due to lack of coordination.

After more emergency conversations on shoes we were finally organised to start dancing on Wednesday 13th January. We met at Morris Hall in Shrewsbury at 6.30pm for our first session. It was a great introduction to Charleston with beginner basic steps and the ‘swivel’. Knee slaps were the first steps fooling you into thinking you might be able to succeed in this dance. The scarecrow was an interesting move, and the itch needs no explanation! The swivel was the hardest foot movement, which I never mastered. As a ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ fan, Amy was amased at how quickly the stars learnt the swivel in four days of practice. Sarah became an expert at it, and I still did not manage to get it right. I concentrated more on learning all the moves and sequence rather than the technical bits; at least that was my excuse.

‘Cool Cats’ was the theme tune to the sessions, and it was played many a time at a volume louder than my surround sound. It is not a song I have ever heard before, or probably ever again, but it is now permanently stuck in my head.  

By week two we have convinced Rhonda to join, although it did not take much convincing. We had no idea how much she would out do us with her snazzy outfit, I mean, who else would have flowers on their leggings!?! Mine were straightforward ones from ASDA. There was a good mix of moves that got you going, especially when the music made it faster, and faster. It was decided we would perform our little moves to SYR on the Saturday night of the Snowdonia trip. However, the ‘mess around’ ‘Beyoncé’ move put that out of action. I am sure we will find some exciting film to watch on video instead.

The following weeks added more and more moves, which were manageable on a practice level but hard on a faster level. ‘Shoe shine’ was interesting, ‘watch the nails’ was a good move (would have been better if I had had any nails), and the catwalk was fun.

From week five onwards we practiced moves that involved partners. This was interesting, as there were only three of us on one occasion, with Amy stuck in the middle of Rhonda and me. The following ‘windmill’ is a difficult move to do without coordination, or falling over.

 The final week saw us in the earlier class due to Sean Lock. Unfortunately, this time was too early for Amy or Rhonda to make. I would have loved it if we could have all danced together in the last episode. The people in the class were different, and some of the routines changed which made it an extra challenge learning the final moves to the routine. It was fun, there was more partner work, shaking and kicking. On one occasion, either Sarah or me, got the direction wrong and we kicked each other. I am impressed we only kicked each other once out of the numerous occasions it could have happened. We successfully completed the whole routine to Cool Cats, and a couple of other times just to make sure we had grasped it. The routine was then recorded on an iPad and Sarah gracefully bowed out of it. I completed it without too many mistakes, although the ones I made were obvious, and it was entertaining watching me dance with an invisible partner. We ran through the routine a couple more times just for fun and then ended with a group picture. 

It was a thrilling two months for me, as before I had never heard of Charleston, let alone that I would dance it. I am proud that I accomplished the routine, progressing a little each week. I confess, I am still not great at dancing but it was an insight into a unique style. The thing I loved the most was spending time, and having fun with my friends.

I wonder what the next dancing challenge will be…. at least I have the shoes now….


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One Response to Charleston dancing

  1. Mum says:

    Brilliant Verity. I knew you enjoyed the dancing and I enjoyed reading your reminiscence so much. XXXXXX

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