CHATTING recently with my friend Yvonne, she happened to say how much she had missed her dance pupils over the past few months.

You see, Yvonne had been running a very successful dance school for many years, and due to lockdown restrictions, all her dance classes had been cancelled.

“Some dance schools are trying to conduct lessons on the screen when pupils are at home,” she explained.

“But it’s nothing like the atmosphere and enthusiasm you get in a real class.”

And I could resonate with that – because a few years back, after realising my good friend Christine and I needed to up our exercise routine, she came up with a brilliant idea.

“Why don’t we try some dance classes, Janice? It’s great all-round exercise and it’ll be lots of fun too.”

Enthusiastically I agreed and, dressed like extras in Saturday Night Fever, we headed to our very first adult dance class.

Being much taller than me, my lanky pal settled on being “the guy”. We paired up ready to begin.

“Do either of you have any dance experience?” asked Pauline, our young professional dance instructor.

“Only from our school days or after a few drinks on a Friday night,” I said in an attempt to be funny.

“And we weren’t very good then,” Christine echoed my thoughts.

Pauline was having none of it.

With a room full of wannabe dance stars, it was all systems go.

“Right, ladies and gentlemen,” ordered Pauline. “Get into position. Tonight, we will begin with a dance created in the Dominican Republic called the Bachata.”

“Eh?” queried Christine.

“Never heard of it.”

And neither had I. However, 10 minutes later and having given it our best efforts, Pauline suddenly changed the music and the tempo slowed down somewhat.

“Watch me please and I’ll show you the basic steps of the Lambada which, for those of you interested, originated in Brazil,” she informed us as she exhibited her professional dance skills.

“She makes it look so easy,” Christine said, exasperated. “And it’s anything but.”

We were now into week three of our classes and things didn’t seem to be getting any easier.

In fact, it was getting much more difficult as we were given the task of learning five different dances within the hour.

“It’s a lot to take in,” we admitted to our dance instructor.

The Bachata, the Lambada, the Cha Cha, the Merengue, and the Argentinian Tango! We literally didn’t know if we were coming or going.

Ignoring us and turning to her star pupils, we took our positions ready for another hour of humiliation.

But, just as we seemed to be getting into the swing of things, the music jumped from one tempo to another and the dance would change, which meant Christine and I were literally going round in circles and bumping into other pupils.

“My feet are killing me,” I moaned to my clumsy dance partner.

“Is it... is it... is it those new shoes?” she puffed out of breath.

“You should have... worn an older pair.”

“Naw,” I narked back at her. “You keep blinkin’ standing on my feet.”

We were nearing the end of another torturous hour.

“At least we’ve mastered one of the dances,” Christine grinned when she got her breath back.

“This is actually good fun. Cha cha cha,” she sang to the beat.

“Oh aye. It’s great. Cha cha cha.” I smiled.

“Who would have thought we would ever be this good?”

Cha cha cha.

Cha cha cha.

However, our perfect rhythm came to an abrupt halt when suddenly the music died, and we looked up to see a red-faced Pauline staring at us.


Her shrill tone echoed around the silent room.

“What are you doing?” she inquired loudly in front of the class full of bemused and smug would-be dance experts.

“The Cha Cha,” I replied, thinking it was obvious.

“Well...” she puffed exasperated.

“Everyone else in the class is doing the Merengue.”

We felt like scolded five-year-olds. Shaking her neatly coiffured head she continued: “Could you both wait behind at the end of the lesson, I need to have a chat.”

And chat she did.

Only to politely suggest that it would be better for the progression of everyone else in the class if we started our lessons from scratch again at the beginners’ session next January.

Obviously over the years we had hope that we had acquired some basic rhythm but....

“What a blinkin’ cheek,” I said to Christine, my now former dance partner.

“Imagine at our age being thrown out of a dance class.” I turned to my pal.

“Oh well,” Christine responded in submission.

“I’m happy to just shuffle around the dance floor like we’ve always done anyway Janice.”

“True,” I replied as we put on our coats.

“And we’re both great at the slosh, so what else do we need?”