My partner and I turned up just before 7:30pm, upstairs at The Mitre, to find the previous session still going strong, and everyone looking rather good. Now, I’ve taken part in dance lessons before, over ten years ago and on the other side of the world in Melbourne and Australia – I was travelling, I had to try these things – and I loved them. But because I was travelling, it became a subject of reminiscence: “ah, when I was travelling I learnt Ceroc…”, much like bungee-jumping and sky-diving. So, I thought it was time to dust off my dancing shoes, figuratively speaking, and have a go at Swing. My partner loves the style of music, so I dragged her along too, knowing that she’s got far more rhythm than me and would probably put me to shame.
However, you don’t need a partner for this class, and as nerve-wracking as it can be to walk into this sort of situation alone, there’s no need to worry at Swing Fix. We were greeted by the very welcoming and lovely Helen, who explained that today’s session would be slightly different - we were going to learn some animal dances from before the 1920s. This meant absolutely nothing to me but it sounded fun, silly and rather energetic - what’s not to like?
We were treated to a fun (and definitely energetic!) 45 minutes of Turkey Trotting, Mr Peadbodying, Squirrelling and Texas Tommying. I discovered that I don’t know my left from my right and am particularly unable to move in the same direction as everyone else when attempting the Texas Tommy move. We trotted around the small room, swapping partners and having a jolly good, somewhat sweaty time doing so. Yes, yes, this is called Swing Fix, but can I clarify that, despite all of the dance-partner swapping, it has nothing to do with the ‘other’ kind of swinging that involves the swapping of partners…This was all very above-board, good, innocent fun.
The teachers (Helen and Ray) were excellent at breaking down the moves, and despite there being a lack of ‘leads’, by the end of the session I felt as though I’d had a good work out and a good time. I didn’t get to dance with my own partner as much as I would have liked, but that’s where the social session at the end comes into play – you get to practice what you’ve learnt and ask anyone and everyone to dance, should you wish. Just the thought of it makes me nostalgic for a time that I was born years after, but would love to have lived through, where partner dancing was the norm.