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Dancers In Need - Blog

The BBC Norfolk Dancers In Need event on Sunday, 9 November, 2008 is rapidly approaching. But how are the 12 BBC dancers getting on? Will it be tears at bedtime or will it be heels on fire?

With help from the Miller Dance Centre in Norwich, 12 BBC Norfolk presenters and reporters have been training for Dancers In Need 2008.

On Sunday, 9 November, 2008, the Forum in Norwich will be packed to the rafters, with an audience ready to cheer, or boo, their favourite dancer, all in aid of Children in Need.

So how have the contestants been getting on?

BBC Look East's Amelia Reynolds

I'm loving trying to learn to dance, but it's not as easy as it looks. I used to enjoy watching 'Strictly' on the TV, but now it sends shivers of fear down my spine!

Amelia Reynolds

My partner Martin is very encouraging and patient. I'm trying to put the work in, as much for him as for me. Last week David (Whiteley), my husband, fellow competitor and I bought a Strictly Come Dancing CD to practice in the kitchen.

What we didn't realise is that all the songs are sung by Bruce Forsyth. It's difficult to keep a straight face, let alone remember the steps while listening to it. No offence to Bruce though, I think he's great!

BBC Radio Norfolk's Stephen Bumfrey

When I left the first group dance lesson three weeks ago I was not best pleased with my performance, or overjoyed at the prospect of having to attend future tutorials. For me, that afternoon was enhanced only by the expressions of horror and disapproval upon the faces of my colleagues, as they too stomped and staggered their way across the treacherous parquet.

Stephen Bumfrey.

After being introduced to my teacher, Sam, everything changed. She has the patience of a saint, moves as if she was on casters and is slightly mad. Suddenly I'm enjoying it all. That's not to say I'm particularly good at ballroom dancing, but at least I now know what I'm supposed to be doing.

One of my biggest problems is having a limited attention span. Once around the dance floor, or indeed the goldfish bowl and I'm forgetting what my feet are up to and ponder instead on things like the quantity of sequins I could sew onto my trousers before they begin to chafe or slow me down.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Karen Buchanan

He's tall, dark, handsome, takes the mickey and says that he dances better after half a bottle of wine. I have no idea why the 'powers-that-be' thought I'd get on with my dance partner Aaron!

Meeting him a couple of weeks ago was worse than going on a first date - I've NEVER been that desperate to impress a guy before or so pathetically keen to win his approval. We've had two lessons now. At the first, fishing for compliments, I asked Aaron how I was doing. "I've had worse," he said.

A week later, we met again. "You're getting there," he says. Not exactly a shower of compliments.

Apparently I have a lop-sided wiggle on the Cha-Cha. I can wiggle to the left, but not the right (or is it the other way around?). We add the arms in and the wiggle completely disappears. Oh God. I'm so bad at multi-tasking, I must actually be a man!

Will we get there? Well, it's lots of fun, but I think a career as a GMTV presenter beckons!

BBC Radio Norfolk's Graham Barnard

When something goes wrong at work, we generally comfort ourselves by saying, "It's only radio, nobody dies". For those wise words, please now read, "It's only dancing, nobody dies, although you might look a bit naff on the night".

I much prefer the 'slow, slow', to the 'quick, quick'. I can almost cope when things are at a steady snail's pace, but as soon as I have to pick up speed and do it in anger, my mind wanders and I lose the beat.

I've only had two lessons, so maybe I shouldn't be too hard on myself. However, my hectic "showbiz" lifestyle means I'll have only clocked up eight hours worth of tuition before the big night. Come the hour, I'm prepared to be there for comedy value and I don't expect to be as good as Gary Rhodes, but you're paying good money to watch me do this.

BBC Look East's Jenny Kirk

What a nightmare! This seems to be getting harder rather than easier. The goalposts keep moving, the routines get even more complicated and we haven't done anything more than a little fancy footwork. No throws and lifts like you see on the telly.

Jenny Kirk

Still, my partner, Bruce, is very patient. A saint bearing in mind the number of times I've stamped on his feet. The bets are on Amelia and Nanette, unless they award points for grinning inanely. In which case, watch out, you two willowy blondes.

As long as the audience don't expect anything other than amateur, yet enthusiastic  stumblings, I'll be fine.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Matthew Gudgin

How can you progress through life and not realise that you have two left feet?

I seem to have managed my 38 years without mastering the skills of the Pase Doble or the Quick Step, but before now it was not a problem!

My blissful ignorance has proved to be the wrong policy, however, as I have been lassoed into the Norfolk version of Strictly Come Dancing and have been found badly wanting.

I know it is all for charity and dancing is a social skill that every man about town should be cognisant of, but decades of sitting on the sidelines and avoiding dance like one would avoid opening an Icelandic bank account, has left me a dancing dyslexic!

My partner, Lisa, whose patience would put a saint to shame, has taken me through two practice sessions and I admire her perseverance and sunny optimism, but quite frankly avoiding any embarrassment on dance night at the Forum will be top priority.

A respectable dismissal by the judges, followed by swift retirement from the dance-floor is my only aim.       

BBC Radio Norfolk's Becky Betts

After missing the first group dance practice due to illness, I was, as usual, in major panic mode to catch up.

Becky Betts

I then found out my lovely dance partner Matt Cox lives in Cambridgeshire and will be travelling to Norwich especially for the sessions, so we decided to book in some extra meetings.

My lovely grandma offered to pay for the hire of a village hall between Norwich and Cambridge so Matt and I could meet up and we've had two rather gruelling sessions so far.

There has been lots of moaning (from me), lots of laughing and sighs of disbelief from Matt and lots of panic stricken moments because I can't seem to remember any of the steps! I hate to think what will happen on the night.

BBC Inside Out's David Whiteley

I have to say, I AM a dancer in need and REALLY in need of some fresh underwear.

When I first volunteered for this, I thought it would be a bit of fun. Oh no. This is SERIOUS. With everything I've done in my career and life, this is one of the toughest.

Amelia Reynolds (the wife) is loving every minute of it and when I see her practicing at home I shut the door for fear of seeing her routine and forgetting my own.

Don't get me wrong though. In some twisted way I'm really enjoying it, but I don't want to let myself down. Actually, Scrap that, I don't want to let my dance partner, Sadie down. She's been brilliant and incredibly patient, and she needs to be!

Sadie is very supportive, but I have to say, very strict, which is probably what I need to get through this. I've been having anxiety dreams and apparently I've even been dancing in my sleep.

So there you are. It's taking over my life!

BBC Radio Norfolk's Nanette Aldous

I've only got two rehearsals under my belt and for the first one I was minus a partner.

I've been a little nervous but I now have an extremely enthusiastic dance partner who has some special moves for me to learn!

The dance I'm struggling with is the Foxtrot. It's the heel-turny-righty bit (and that's the technical term for it) that I can't quite nail, but hopefully it'll be up and running for the big night.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Andrew Turner

It's the aching hips, knees and ankles. I can cope with getting to grips with my lack of rhythm, failing co-ordination of feet and even wriggling my bum, but intense training on the dance floor has me in aches and pains every time.

My (patient, kind and gorgeous) dance partner Ayshea says joints hurting is a clear sign I'm doing things right, but I'm not convinced.

We've been putting the hours in and she's been planning some fancy routines, which I have to confess has left me confused at times.

However, I feel that things are coming on and while I'm not at all confident to the showdown at the Forum, I am enjoying the (long and slow) process of feeling better about dancing.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Nicky Price

I confess, I'm one of the millions who feels strangely lost between January and September without a weekly helping of Strictly.

I also like a challenge, so I was definitely up for this one from the start.

Nicky Price singing

Having subjected listeners to weekly reports of my singing lessons earlier this year, I thought dance lessons would be less painful on the ear. However, I didn't consider the pain on my poor feet. After years of playing netball, my ankles are in no fit state to wobble on high heels. Now I have to learn to stand, smile and dance in them!

My dance partner Peter is a great teacher with bucket-loads of patience - especially when my mind wanders from the task in hand. I find myself thinking things like "Isn't this a nice piece music", "I wonder how the opposition, sorry, colleagues are getting on?" "Is all this dancing making me slimmer?" ,and then we have to start the dance from the top.. again..

I had tap and modern dance lessons for a couple of years when I was younger. I particularly think my appearance in Snow White as a Purple Devil will help me with this task ahead (we couldn't get red catsuits, only purple ones). Funnily enough my dance teacher always put me at the back of the stage.

I think I'm getting the hang of the Foxtrot, Cha-Cha and the Jive. I'm really loving the rehearsals and I'll definitely be ready to perform for Children in Need 2009. Oh it's this year? Ah. Back to the rehearsals then.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Phil Daley

As I now work on the website, I chose to write my little blog last, with the hope that you wouldn't make it this far down the page.

In my job, people only notice your mistakes and never seem to see the hard work you put in. It seems, dancing and websites have quite a lot in common!

My dance partner is brilliant. We laugh, talk, laugh some more, and very

I think if we had all the time in the world, we could actually be rather good. As it is, I think we will be rather run of the mill.

I'm keen to do lots of throws and spins (on her obviously), but for some strange reason she's not so keen. All I can say is, if you're in the front row, you might get more than you bargained for!

last updated: 23/10/2008 at 16:02
created: 23/10/2008

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