The time we learnt to dance!
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
So I have never been able to dance. Both my sisters did ballet when we were younger, but it was never something I had any inclination to do. I'm not really sure why I signed up to Ultra Ballroom, I think I was maybe bored and just spasmed. Also, unfortunately for Ian you need two people to ballroom dance... I waited till he was in a good mood to tell him!
The advert for Ultra Ballroom basically said you would learn to dance for free and raise money for Cancer Research at the same time - at least that was all that I read. It wasn't until we went to the first actual meeting that it dawned on me (and again unfortunately Ian) that we were signed up to a strictly style competition, and would end the 8 weeks of training with a performance in front of a live audience!
At this point I think Ian said something to me like 'shall we leave now before anyone sees us'. But I really hate giving up on things, and it was for such a good cause he agreed to stay with me.
So we went to our first lesson and it was so much fun! Ian may have a different word for it, but he was really good at it!
(I have yet to find anything that Ian is not immediately good at. The other day I was describing to him a yoga pose that I found impossible to do, and he got down on the floor and just did it! I am not aware of him ever doing yoga prior to that so it was very annoying).
The lessons were once a week every Wednesday. After several weeks of learning some general ballroom dancing moves, we were given the choice of learning either waltz or jive for our final dance. We chose the waltz.
Alongside our lessons, we set up a Just Giving page to raise the money for Cancer Research. We were overwhelmed with how much support we had. The Newark Advertiser and local news platform the Southwell Scoop both featured us, and we were interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham!
The night of the final performance was just before Christmas, and the song we chose for our dance was the theme tune from 'The Titanic'. Mainly because it isn't too fast... As the time got closer we got more nervous! Especially as Ian went into an extra busy period at work which meant we couldn't get to a few lessons, and I could not get my feet right for some of the moves - In the end we had to switch parts so that Ian did some of the moves I was supposed to do!
We kept practicing though! And we couldn't back out at this stage, so we just decided we would do what we could and try and not think about all the people who would be watching us...
When I look back at some of the pictures now, I am slightly amazed at how we do actually look like we know what we are doing. At least Ian did anyway, he generally whispered to me throughout the dance to tell me what I should be doing next, and if I didn't get it quick enough he would just shove me to the right place - in a romantic way.
On the night we were down to go on exactly halfway through the show - the last couple before the half time break! But there was some confusion when we went to go up, and they then said we would go on just after the break, so we went to go sit back down - but then they called us up again. It did not help our nerves! As we went to make our way to the stage, we asked the guy in charge of the lighting if, for our dance, he could turn the lights down and make everything blue. This had the effect of making us look like we had cleverly turned the dance floor into an ocean scene for our piece, whilst also hiding us slightly from the spotlight!
Before the curtain went up for us I was so so nervous I didn't know how I would remember anything. But Ian said it would be okay, and if you know Ian, you know he is always right (most of the time).
It felt like a slightly out of body experience walking down the steps as they announced our names! But once the lights went down and we started dancing, although I wouldn't say the nerves went away exactly, it just didn't feel so scary.
We made it through the whole dance with nothing terrible happening! It was a really good feeling when we finished.
The lights went back up and the judges gave their comments. We felt like some of the other couples had done such professional looking dances they wouldn't think much of ours. But they seemed to really like the dance! Not least because they thought Ian's beard was really cool.
We then made our way back to our seats to watch the rest of the couples before we had to go back up and hear all the final results.
The second half of the show was much more relaxing! I loved watching all of the other dances - especially the jives which were extremely energetic looking. I was really glad we had chosen the waltz.
All of the couples had to line up again at the end of the show and the final results were announced. Ian and I came pretty much in the middle - we were really happy with this as the top four had to do their dance again!
Ultra Ballroom was such a great - if nerve-wracking - experience to have, I am so glad we did it! In the end we raised over £400 as a couple for Cancer Research (not including ticket sales), and money raised from the night as a whole was well into the £1000's. I can't say that we kept up dancing afterwards... A lot of people might think that is sad, but for us, neither of us have an interest in dancing (although I will always be impressed by those who can do it!). It was the challenge of doing something new and seeing what we could do that appealed - at least, it did for me, Ian made me promise never to sign him up for anything like that again.