Ballroom Dancing – Why don’t we do it now?
Once upon a time…………….I feel I should start this post with these four words. I recall events of a long time ago. When I was born, it was a time that is quite different to what we experience in the 21st Century. I can remember when at school we used pencils and pen and ink, had outdoor toilets, the milkman delivered milk and the iceman delivered ice. Oh, there are so many memories…………….
One thing I remember well, is what we teenagers did on a Friday or Saturday night. (What our parents did too!)
We went to a dance. The regular dances were held in the local hall – perhaps a town hall, or community hall. We girls dressed in our prettiest outfits (after all, we were hoping to meet a nice boy!), we had our hair done, and often our parents would take us to the dance and collect us later. Not many young people had cars in those days, but even if they had, protocol would be such that the younger girls would not go home with a boy. There were certain etiquettes!
I don’t recall where I learned the dances, The Fox Trot, waltzes, quick step, cha cha, jive, jitterbug, Lambeth Walk, polka, rhumba, rock and roll, swing, salsa, Viennese Walz and more that I cannot remember. There was always a band at the front of the hall, and someone announced the style of dance that we would have to move to with the next piece of music. It started around 8 pm and finished before midnight.
I remember going to balls in Mt Gambier, when I was studying to be a nurse. One really big event in town was the Nurses Ball, but there were others. Every Saturday night though, was the dance at The Barn. It was some distance from Mt Gambier and when a group of us wished to attend, we would often get a taxi out to the Barn.
(The Barn is now a huge place – not just the old hall of those times.)
Getting home was a challenge. Often we would meet up with a young man, and sometimes we would return to the Nurses Home) before curfew with him. Occasionally we missed curfew. What we did then was for another story.)
Over the years since those days, different dance styles have become popular and nightclubs are the place to go to “dance”, though I don’t really call the jumping and waving of arms etc dancing as I knew it.
Ballroom Dancing in China
When I went to China first in 2009, I was surprised to see a lot of ballroom dancing. The dancing I remembered from my teenage years.
First of all it was in Shanghai. People were dancing in the street at the far end of Nanjing Walking Street. They were older people and danced with great confidence and fun. I loved it.
I was to learn that ballroom dancing is very popular and there were dances in parks, under bridges and other places. Even when I went back in 2014, there were people with DVD players setting up and then dancing in the busy part of Nanjing Street. Amazing.
They do it at evenings, they do it for fun and exercise.
I often wonder if we should return to regular ball room dancing as a method of exercise. I am sure many senior people would be happy to recall those days and enjoy a dance. And it is good exercise. I wonder if we could get it going like this in Australia. Somewhere. No need for a hall. Just a battery operated CD player and a space in a park.