When I was eleven, I fell in love with the idea of ballroom dancing.
The glamour, style, music and the feeling of freedom as you glided around the room. My Mum and Grandma (Former members of the UK ballroom sequence dancing circuit) took that dream and turned it into a reality.
My Great Grandma and my Grandad, Cira 1950’s
In small town New Zealand, my pals and I every Saturday morning, armed with 50 cents and our smooth souled shoes would learn how to dance, from the wheels cha cha to the snowball waltz. Learning to dance can have a profound effect on your confidence; from self esteem, etiquette, grace and posture.
In my life now, I often draw my confidence from the lessons I learned during those Saturday morning dance classes.
My Grandparents, Cira 1969
Rise and Fall
Dance isn’t just about the steps, it also encompasses a sense of etiquette as you learn to manage social situations, dealing with people of different abilities and personalities. Respect plays a huge part in dancing; respect for the teachers, other dancers, the music, the history and the ballroom floor.
My Mum and my Uncle, early 1960’s
Dancing opens your mind and helps you to understand your own spacial awareness and the awareness of other people around you, how to navigate the ballroom and avoid any potential “crashes”. Being able to hold my head high and with confidence walk into a room and introduce myself to other people, is drawn from confidence from learning to dance when I was eleven.
My parents, Otaki Dance Club Ball, 2006
One, Two, Change your feet
Sometimes there are those phrases which stick with you forever, and one Saturday morning, learning the Cha, Cha, Cha my Mum realised my pals and I where struggling with the steps, so she changed the instruction to “One, Two, Change Your Feet”.
At the time, this was simply a dance instruction, now, I use this when I need to reset my thinking, when I need to understand a working situation differently or simply need to change my attitude. A simple dance instruction when I was eleven has now become a personal mantra I carry with me.
Me and my dance partner, the first Otaki Dance Ball, 1988
Now, on the 30 year anniversary, Otaki Dance Club is going strong, evolving over the years, it boasts over 100 members, with beginners classes and an annual ball. Giving a new generation of dancers the same confidence I was able to gain as an eleven year old.