17. Jive o’clock

One o’clock, two o’clock, jive o’clock rock.

Tuesdays are great days for me. I love work on Tuesdays, and Jive in the evening makes it a brill day. Jive hasn’t always been in my life. In fact, it only started in January this year, but it has quickly become an addiction/obsession/love affair; what ever you want to call it. I’m not sure what I’d do without it now. It’s a brilliant way to meet new people, and when you start going to dances outside of lessons, it’s a whole new underground world unknown to many. If you really wanted to, you could find a 40’s/50’s night happening somewhere in London or Kent every night of the month. Granted, most people including myself don’t have the time, money or energy to do this, but we (me and my jive class pals) do make it to a few a month. London has some great nights, and Kent have a few smaller ones too.

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The beautiful Rivoli Ballroom, Lewisham. An original 50’s dance hall, now grade 2 listed.

Yes, the red lipstick, big bands and polka dot dresses are a large part of the fun. Getting dressed up with a big quiff fringe and looking a bit different to usual isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it appeals to the ‘fancy dress’ streak in me. The music is brilliant; energetic, and I’ve heard some great live bands. Check out the Jive Aces for some brill stuff (it’s a cute kid at the start, but the song takes about a minute to start). But for me, it’s the dancing I love. It was a new years resolution for a friend and I to learn to jive, but we didn’t think we’d enjoy it this much, and properly get in to it! Very quickly we’ve made friends with lots of the others at the class, and it’s become a great social part of our lives. The dancing is tons of fun, often ending up in hysterics when we forget moves, spin the wrong way or just freeze when we don’t know what to do – much to the bewilderment of the guys we’re dancing with (though they’re used to it now and tend to just push us in the right direction). I have to say, it is a lot easier being the girl and following – the poor guys have to think three steps ahead (which I can’t cope with) and be able to lead well enough that the girl should know what to do. I on the other hand just have to follow and be thrown around a bit. Brilliant! It’s definitely helped build my stamina (you try boppin’ to a song for 3 and a half minutes and then tell me you don’t need stamina!), and probably helped prepare me for starting marathon training. Well, I like to think so any way. I love learning new things, and being able to keep improving and working at it; there is always more to learn with dancing. When a friend gave me a list of ‘fun moves’ for us to start learning and eventually be able to use, I wasn’t quite prepared for ‘neck breaker’ or ‘the upside down’ to be in this category. They don’t sound fun, more ‘life or death’. Let’s take it one step at a time.

I’m glad I’ve progressed from having to hang my head out the window on the drive home incase I vomit from dizziness of constant spinning – that was the elegant ending to our first class eleven months ago… Strictly Come Dancing is still out the question though.

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