I have to admit I really enjoyed this year’s season of Strictly Come Dancing and am pleased that the best couple won, doubtless helped along the way by their budding romance and tabloid and internet gossip. I can’t blame Ms Tointon one bit for falling for hunky Mr Chigvintsev – I’ve talked before about the proximity effect and I think the intensity of training together for months, not to mention creating some pretty hot routines is a rather intoxicating recipe for romance. Well, it did it for Baby and Johnny anyway. I wasn’t so impressed by James Jordan’s ‘homage’ to the Dirty Dancing finale – it seemed a bit like lazy choreography to me.
I loved Ballroom dancing at school. Our girls’ grammar school offered a few after school clubs jointly with the linked boys’ school and Ballroom dancing filled most of my Monday afternoons after school when I was in the fifth and sixth forms (that years 11-13 now). Our teacher, Mrs Didi Monzani was an absolute legend aged 73 when I started (not 82 – I was misinformed. RIP Mrs M 1920-2015). She called everyone darling – I’m not sure how long it took me to realise this was not just showbiz but mainly because she couldn’t possibly remember everyone’s names. We learned basic steps in ballroom, latin and ceilidh dances and got dressed up for balls at Christmas and New Year. The winter I was 16 I got asked to the ball by two lads and was suddenly gossip-worthy myself. This was a bit of a change for someone who had generally just been one of the brainy girls and I think I rather liked the attention.
The lad I went to the ball with that year and I remained a couple for almost four years. It’s great to go to a dance with someone you know wants to dance with you. Being a wallflower or just dancing with another girl is a rather poor second – no offence to the girls I’ve danced with over the years! Ceilidhs in Scotland were fun as I generally went with a big enough group with a few spare men. Men in Scotland are generally more up for dancing I think. Also there are some dances which work fine with one man between two women – The Dashing White Sergeant was a favourite of mine partly for that reason. Sadly most of life doesn’t work out quite so easily and I doubt that Kara would be willing to share Artem with any single girl who felt a bit left out. Heigh ho.
I’ve not heard yet what my young nephews thought of the Strictly result – they are both fans of the show and I look forward to chatting about it with them over Christmas. My guess is that they will have enjoyed Matt’s fun acrobatic routines (as did I) and that the more gossip laden details about who is in love with whom or whether Pamela is the oldest Strictly finalist to date (didn’t she do well) will have passed them by. I actually wonder if I could have enjoyed the show just for the dancing, without wondering about gossip or the engineering behind the scenes – the way the couples were chosen or the voting was announced all felt a bit manipulative.
In contrast, dance competitions with my nephews are purely for the fun of it. Well, the fun of it and the scoring. We had a great silly dance contest a few months back and I loved feeling totally free of inhibitions watched only by two boys aged 3 and 5 who were very prepared to be impressed at my antics. ‘Dance like there’s nobody watching’ might be the saying, but they were much better than nobody. Nobody doesn’t give you 9 and cheer. And in the absence of another special someone to dance with this Christmas, they’ll be the next best thing.