Having had a few lessons now I can say with great confidence that dancing is HARD!
I like to throw a shape every now and again, and feel I am not too bad a mover, in a dad dancing sort of way; but this is sooooo different.
The team at Wright Rhythm dance are marvellous – they have a clear approach. Get the steps right first then build on that. Well I am struggling to even remember the steps. Then when they recap what we did before and my mind is a blank – oh dear!
Happily some steps are being retained by the fuddled mass that passes as my brain, and I feel triumphant when I get the sequence of steps right. To put this in context, this is a sequence that lasts 10-20 seconds only – a tiny fraction of what I need to learn.
Then they try to improve the quality of the steps. I should just step but go heel first, or maybe toe first, dependant on the dance. Oh, and bend the knees more, or less. Or move the hips more, or less. Try to “not be in contact with the floor for too long”!! I know they are trying to get me to be light on my feet but I am over 16 stone and I have not yet mastered levitation (all advice gratefully received!).
After this they work on the arms, posture, head, shoulders – well, pretty much everything else. Like squeezing the proverbial balloon – I think about one thing and the other things get forgotten. I am a mess!
Then last night they added music. Even when they slow it down, a lot, the pace is terrifying. The limited ability I had seemed to dissipate in a melee of random legs and arms. It was of no reassurance when they then showed me the dance at “normal” pace. They look wonderful and elegant, and terrifyingly fast!
So last night there were 6 of us Strictly contestants having lessons. When taking my lesson it is almost impossible to get a sense of what is happening around me as my brain is totally pre-occupied. However, I did get a sneaky peak and the other 5. Suffice to say I am feeling I have got my work cut out as my competitors look like they are doing so much better than me.
The picture is of me and my fellow competitor the lovely Jane Gardner – Wright Rhythm wait till you have nearly died of exertion before taking a picture – so I am, at best, ‘glowing’!
So my tactic now is to cram in the lessons and practice. I am having lessons at least weekly and will escalate that to twice weekly as soon as diaries allow. I am also being a tad more disciplined on the waistline – I need to drop some weight if I am to be light and elegant!!
All that said – it is great fun. When I am not gasping for breath or grinding my teeth in frustration at my inability to remember stuff, I laugh. Lots! I can also say I am enjoying dancing, even when I am clearly at the beginning of a very long journey before I can not only say I can dance, but show at least 600 people at the competition!
And let’s not forget that I am doing this for a great cause, to ensure some young carers get a well needed break. So if you have not already sponsored me then please visit my JustGiving page and give generously!