I’m a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing. Call me an old woman but that is how I like to spend my autumnal Saturday nights; getting far too emotionally invested in a group of lesser known celebrities being paired up and learning to dance. Unashamedly, something I’ve dreamed of doing since I started watching it as a very small child. Not because I think I’m a particularly good dancer but what young girl doesn’t want to make a new friend, be dressed up in sequins and twirled around a dance floor?
However, it turns out, like a lot of things, it’s probably not always quite how it looks on the telly. Our university run a Lancaster does Strictly Come Dancing as part of an annual Charity Showcase where people with no idea what they’re doing are paired up with members of the Ballroom Dancing Society for a one night and one night only Strictly extravaganza. This year, my friends from the Christian Union nominated me. It’s harder than it looks.
Meeting back in November for the first time, my partner and I decided to try our hands (and feet) at the jive. Looking back over my diary from that time my progress reads something a little like this:
Donald Trump was elected president today, but I met my Strictly partner – it was like going on a blind date.
First jive rehearsal today for Strictly, I have to spin round 8 times so quickly I fall over every time.
Ben elbowed me in the face but I stood on his foot so I guess it’s fair game.
Took me and my housemate half an hour and internet assistance to work out how to put my Latin shoes on today.
Finally got from beginning to end of the jive.
Pulled a muscle I didn’t even know I had and have anonymous bruises everywhere, swear this jive is going to kill me.
Friends came to watch me jive in rehearsal today – turns out Ben can’t cartwheel.
Got the expert ballroom opinion from other pros in jive rehearsal today and got to watch their pro waltz and a Strictly Cha Cha Cha – not long to go now!
I feel slightly like I’ve been run over by a heard of rhinos after our last jive rehearsal today.
We may have only had one dance to learn but it was a challenge, particularly learning to cartwheel in heels. Dancing to You Can’t Stop the Beat, from the fantastic Hairspray, the choreography was insanely quick and more than once I ended up on the floor in rehearsals. Nearly every time my partner showed me what we were doing next I simply thought I will never be able to do that. But we persevered. My partner was 10/10 and I had the most amazing time. Choreography; ace, teaching; so encouraging, banter; top notch, results; we’ll see. Can’t thank him enough. After being filled with dread and fear, particularly in the lead up to the night itself, we had so many laughs and it was always so much fun. We were all in it together, meeting other ballroom couples, giving us tips, all just having a great time, stumbling along learning to dance (at least in my case).Maybe it was just the idea of doing something new; even through the busyness of CU events, music commitments and university deadlines, jive o’clock was always the highlight of my week just going and trying something completely different. One thing I can say I did with my time at university, I learnt to jive and I’m proud. New experiences, new friends, new bruises and yes, I did get a new love for dancing – fab-u-lous.
It was really incredible, and as absolutely terrified as I was, I’m so glad I did it, just remember, keeeep dancing. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so nervous in my life than I was on that morning but the atmosphere and buzz on the night was so great. Support from everyone else involved, audience cheering, friends all gathered in the bar watching the live stream, getting to see all the other dances. We got (relatively) dolled up, my partner and I 50s style, and gave it all we had.
STRICTLY SHOWCASE! This is it! SO much fun, loved every minute – Amazing! Really going to miss this ! And our jive was only 1 mark of first place in judges scores with 9 9 8 – Can’t believe it. 😀