Rain, no balloons, and problems with the music - how could it have gone so well?
The Big Dance Class was a world record attempt by the BBC and Arts Council England to create the largest dance class in multiple locations. On Saturday 22 July people across the country gathered together in their cities and towns to break the record. The attempt, which involved making sure that everyone started dancing at exactly the same time, had to be carried out to time with the precision of a military operation.
I was in Warwick with BBC Coventry & Warwickshire where I was one of the many volunteers that helped with the preparations. At the time I just hoped that the other events across were having more success than we were because things didn't get off to the best start.
|Big Dance Class, Warwick|
After a week of glorious sunshine the morning of the Big Dance Class brought with it torrential rain and thunder. The roads to Market Square, the location of our dance class, weren’t fully closed off when we arrived two-and-a-half hours before the event. The bottle of helium for the balloons didn’t want to work, and the balloons we did manage to inflate flew away.
As the morning progressed our luck hadn’t changed, and the first dance rehearsal was hindered when the CD skipped just an hour before the record attempt. The question was how could we help break a world record under these conditions?
But fortune did finally smile upon us and within half an hour the sky had cleared and the sun began to shine on the square. What had at first been a small collection of people turned into a 281 strong crowd of all ages thanks to the tireless work of everyone involved with registration and they were all eager to dance their way into the record books. As this year's Blast reporter it was suggested that I joined in. And why not?! I could manage a big dance class after all.
Amongst my fellow dancers were plenty of Morris Men who switched from their traditional act to a series of funky dance moves to the likes of Gnarls Barkley and Elvis Presley. The world record should have been set for that alone!
Check out pictures from the day by clicking on the link below:
Zoe Ball counted us in bang on time and like many other people across the country we began to jig with much jingling from the Morris Men around me.
|Registering for the Big Dance Class|
Help with the dancing which had been choreographed by Luca Silvestrin was given by dance group the Coventry Crew and dance leader Amanda Lewis. The dances were influenced by their music, with a Latino flair for Buster Poindexter’s Hot Hot Hot and a contemporary vibe for Gnarls Barkley. The moves were simple and repetitive, but halfway through I felt myself flagging. The attempt lasted for 10 minutes and in a complete contrast to the morning’s weather, the sun's heat beat down relentlessly with water and first aid on standby if anyone struggled.
So, after all that effort, did we break the record? You bet we did. we were part of a group of 8,962 dancers that set a new world record.
The Big Dance Class is part of a week-long scheme set up by the Arts Council nationwide. The week, beginning the 23 July, includes a wide range of arts events across the country.