For the past two years now I have been so keen to try out the moves we witness on the popular BBC One show, Strictly Come Dancing. After many fruitless attempts to track down a class in Belfast, imagine my joy when a space became available at the ‘Strictly for Beginners’ class in Crescent Arts Centre. Dusting off my dancing shoes, it was time to get my groove on!
Feeling more than a little apprehensive when the night arrived (yes I did sit in the car and contemplate not bothering going in) I’d paid my £80 so I decided to bite the bullet and at least see what it was like.
I was pretty taken aback at how many people had turned out on a wet Wednesday night in January hoping to become the next Anton Du Beke or Ola Jordan.
No sooner had we all sheepishly headed in to the dance studio, when the instructor Konrad Pawlaszek, started barking out his orders. This was a man who wouldn’t be suffering any fools.
With all the grace and elegance of a trained dancer, he told us we would be learning the basic, simple steps to two dances – the slow waltz and the jive.
Simple, basic, slow – all sounded easy enough. How hard could it be?
The answer to that is very!
As someone who thought of themselves as a pretty decent dancer (when a few shandies had been imbibed admittedly), I was shocked at just how bad my co-ordination was! I couldn’t remember my left from my right and was constantly told off by Konrad for looking at my feet.
Konrad’s idea of a ‘slow’ waltz certainly wasn’t the same as mine!
I also found it very cramped due to the amount of people in the room and several times, my partner and I had other couples bang into us, simply because of the lack of space.
So anyway we kept on practising until it finally started to make sense. I found coming up with my own instructions helped a bit more once I had got the hang of the steps. We learnt a simple box and then introduced a four step turn which felt pretty good to master. Heck, it was almost as if we were really dancing! The correct positioning of the hands and arms gave the dance the very formal feel I think the waltz has.
My new found confidence was short-lived however when we moved on to the second dance of the night, The Jive.
This is a dance which has never really appealed to me but it was what we were being taught so I had to suck it up.
However since last night I have a new found respect for people who can do this dance and do it well. It is THE hardest thing! The confusingly fast foot movements left the majority of the class scratching their heads and looking at each other in fear and desperation.
“Tap, tap, flat, spin”, my head was spinning before I’d even done the twirl!
Anyway, that’s week one done, just nine more to go. Even if I don’t become a Strictly star at least I can put a tick in the box for trying something new. Who knows, maybe I’ll find the harder dances easy?! I’ll live in hope!