Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published August 5th 2013
A Place to Dance, Chat, and Share Tea & Cakes
Jeanie & David
I'm very much a tomboy; you will find no dresses or high heels in my wardrobe. So upon arrival at the South Mitcham Community Centre in shorts and an oversized blouse, I was probably not what the Social Dancing Club had in mind for a new recruit. Fifty years their junior, it is fair to say that I looked a little out of place. Despite this, everyone greeted me with open arms, and were thrilled to have fresh blood on the scene.
The Social Dancing Club takes place every Saturday evening between 8pm-10.30pm; it is run by Sheila, a lovely lady who told me they are always on the lookout for new members (especially men, of whom they are always in short supply). I can see why; the usual turnout is about ten, and on the night I went, there were only seven because the others were not feeling well. There used to be a lot more, and while newcomers have shown an interest, they were people who wanted lessons. The Social Dancing Club is really aimed at those who already know how, and focusses on ballroom, sequence, and line dance. I expect that this is why all the members are currently over sixty, but Sheila said if younger people came, they would be happy to add disco to the repertoire.
The club is just us much about the chat as it is about the dancing, and everyone was all too keen to talk to me and tell their stories. It is only £2.50 to attend, so why not pop down and give it a try? You may just make some new friends.
They have a large selection of music.
When the lady with the music arrived, things began moving. She had a large case of CDs with her, so the music varies every week. Among the collection was The Best of Dennis Haywood, Richard Keeling's Souvenirs, and Ryan Smith & His Happy Piano. There were also various compilations that included singers like Doris Day.
They started off with ballroom, and everyone took to the floor in their own time. There were no specific steps to follow, you just improvise to the music.
Among the different ballroom dances they do the waltz, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, and tango. For those concerned about whiplash, don't worry, this is a square tango, with no sharp head turns.
The boys gave line dancing a miss.
If you do not have anyone to go with, you shouldn't feel uncomfortable about arriving alone. Most of the members come by themselves, and everyone switches partners throughout the evening. There is also line dancing, in which you dance by yourself. This was lucky for the girls, because none of the lads felt like doing that round.
Tea & Cakes
At nine o'clock, Sheila went to the kitchen to prepare snacks; they invited me to share their tempting tea and cakes, for a short break, before heading back to the dance floor.