Saturday, 16 August 2014



My friend Susan is a great dancer. She has long legs and a good figure, so all she really has to do is shake her hips to look good, although she could in fact more than hold her own on Strictly. My parents were good dancers and went ballroom dancing twice a week until well into their eighties. I think it accounted for their longevity. My mother always said that it was because he was such a good dancer that she fell for him. I can believe that, they didn’t have much else in common.

I was a pretty good dancer when I was younger. Not everyone is; not everyone can be bothered learning and practicing.

Every year we travel to Billingham to see the International Folk Dancing Festival, in the open air. It has become a little tradition.

We went there today. There were dancers from Russia, Korea, Chile, Holland [clog dancing!], Mexico and Cyprus. The dancers all wear versions of traditional costume and whilst the dances are all choreographed and probably bear little relationship to the original village festival dancing they are supposed to represent, you can still see and appreciate their cultural roots. The Russian men all do that individual Cossack squat dancing, kicking out their legs or doing acrobatics. All the East European troupes we have seen do the same thing. I believe it is called Hopak. It is intended to look improvised and is based on traditional Cossack virtues of heroism, manliness, speed and strength. The pretty girls go round and round like Russian dolls.

The Cypriot dancers all hold arms like the Greeks and again, whenever we have seen southern European dancing, or Israeli dancing, they all do that. The dancers from Chile dress like Gaucho’s and the smouldering young men carry scarves and wave them at one another. The seditious women slink.

You forget actually, that music is made for dancing as well as listening [see previous Lucinda Williams post] and how life enhancing music and dancing can be when done well.

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