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13 November 2014

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Dancing Partners: Gary and Chris

Dancing Partners: Gary and Chris

A vertical learning curve

Chris Penhall is dancing with Gary Curtis and they've been training for a week. Chris has some previous form as a salsa dancer and as she tells us, it's proving a lot harder than what she's used too...

I've been addicted to salsa dancing for six years now and all the new steps, and all the new moves I learn weekly become instinctive quite quickly.  After six years of salsa I can strut, stride, shimmy, spin, laugh, scream and smile all in the space of one dance.

"Gary proved to be kind and very patient, which helped me relax into the dancing quickly"


But six years learning one dance does not necessarily mean that other dances will come easily. So, yes, I have a sense of rhythm, yes, I can follow a lead.

But, but, but… How on earth do I remember to step back with my left foot with my toe leading during the waltz, and then step forward with my right, heel leading. Smile, and then look left? 

I’ve had six years, two to four nights a week, stepping back with my right and swaying my hips a lot.  I hope this will stand me in good stead for the cha cha.  But maybe a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

I met my dance partner, Gary for the first time on Saturday, and we had a good two hour practice to set our dance journey off to a good start. 

Gary proved to be kind and very patient, which helped me relax into the dancing quickly.  He bought his lovely wife and dance partner, Carole with him, as an extra pair of expert eyes, so I knew where to put my feet and and arms, and how to turn, and when to turn my head… 

Chris and Oliver trying to cha cha

Chris and Oliver trying to cha cha

I have only had one cha cha and one waltz lesson so far, so my learning curve is very, very, very steep… I now carry the 'Rabbit Caught in Headlights' Look with me onto the dance floor, the same one I had when I started to learn salsa way back when.

However, I am having a brilliant time.  I love to dance and the chance to learn something new is too good to miss.  Anyone who dances can relate to the heady rush you get when you a finally get a new move.

To this end, I have sought advice outside the ballroom circle. I nabbed my friend, salsa teacher Sharon Asquith the other night after a class.

She’s been dancing ballroom and Latin since she was a little girl, and still teaches the occasional cha cha class when required.  So, she taught me a few extra moves, and has been recruited as my dance “consultant” (although I haven’t told her this yet!!)

I also take every opportunity to practice at work.  Poor Oliver Rogers has been grabbed more than once in the tea room so I can keep my cha cha moves topped up. This has led to a few quizzical looks, but I am used to men asking to practice their moves on me when I’m out dancing! 

Chris Penhall and Oliver Rogers trying out a new routine!

Chris and Oliver trying out a few moves

And when I say moves, I mean always, always, always their dance moves.  It’s an addiction you see …..

And this dance addiction is slowly starting to insinuate itself into BBC Essex, with people dancing in the studios and everything.

As Brucie says, “Keep on Dancing.”

Because, actually, once you start, you can’t stop!

last updated: 23/10/2008 at 13:06
created: 23/10/2008

You are in: Essex > Children in Need > A vertical learning curve

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