Every morning I do 15-minutes of disco-dancing in the privacy of my own home, says Elaine Kingett. I turn up the heating, thrust my limbs into Lycra and throw myself around to The Village People and Gloria Gaynor. With any luck, I build up a bit of a sweat and most certainly feel a hell of a lot happier. Then I have a nice lie down and do 15 minutes of yoga-ish stretches. I love dancing, I adore dancing, but I so rarely get a chance these days. I have learnt to go anywhere on my own, even to a restaurant in the evening, but I draw the line at going alone to a club or a dance. Thank God for the season of Christmas parties and a chance to wear something other than thermals and walking boots. The chance for older people to get down, but not too far.
My granddad taught me ballroom dancing on our family escapes to a holiday camp in Devon; how to Roger de Coverley and Gay Gordon. Every episode of Strictly has me longing for an acre of shiny parquet and a glitter ball. In my teens, I discovered the delights of dirty dancing: the opportunity to get up close and personal to a boy I fancied and the euphoria of dancing with someone who read my body and my mind. Then it was Studio 54 in NYC, Zanzibar in London and Divina in Milan. Now reports are telling us that dancing is the best kind of exercise for warding off dementia, but where the hell do we go? Zumba classes? No, I want the lights dimmed, both sexes, and a gap for a drink every now and then. There’s a new night in Stoke Newington called Mind The Gap for folk, ‘too young for Wetherspoons and too old for Dalston’. I’ll go if you’ll come with me. In the mean time, I guess we have to warn the neighbours, roll up the rug and invite a few friends round. Happy Christmas!
Elaine Kingett runs creative writing holidays in Spain and Wales and workshops in London; for more information check out Write It Down.