Five reasons learning to dance like ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ isn’t as easy as it looks
It’s easy enough for any of us Strictly Come Dancing devotees to turn armchair critic when Dave Myers is showing off his finest dad dancing or when Fiona Fullerton accidentally boots Anton du Beke in the shin.
However attempting those dancefloor moves is another matter entirely, as I discovered when I had the chance to try it out for myself, under the tutelage of former Strictly favourites Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace.
The tango-ing twosome recently did their bit for Breast Cancer Awareness month by holding a dance class in aid of the lesser-known Coppafeel! charity which aims to raise awareness of breast cancer among younger people – with lucky patrons having the chance to bid for a place in the line-up via the website Groupon.
Little did the pair realise of course that while they were doing their bit for a good cause they would also end up attempting to teach this particular writer – whose last dancing triumph was passing Juvenile Tap in 1984 (and I still have the award to prove it) some steps.
So complete with willing dance partner – in this case friend’s husband and Strictly superfan Dan Grocott – I took to the floor myself. And the results gave me a whole new perspective on just how much effort goes into the show itself. And taught me the following:
Dancing is actually very hard work.The illusion: You see Abbey Clancy wafting gracefully across the dancefloor on a Saturday night, looking like a princess in her floaty white frock as she gazes romantically into the eyes of partner Aljaz Skorjanec.The reality: Having realised that you’re stuck to the dancefloor because you’re wearing unsuitable footwear you proceed to stomp elephant-like all over your partner’s toes because one of you goes backwards when you’re supposed to be going forwards. There’s no chance of you looking soulfully into your partner’s eyes because you’re too busy staring at the floor to check your feet are doing the right thing, and you’ll tape cushions to your ears on a permanent basis if you hear that song you’re cha cha-ing to ever again.
It’s an exhausting process.I like to think of myself as relatively OK on the fitness front, thanks to my tendency to walk several miles every week (whispers silent prayer of thanks to school run). However 20 minutes worth of cha cha practice and I’ve turned the same colour as my purple T-shirt, while the iced water on the other side of the room has never looked so inviting. Vincent and Flavia, however, have barely even broken a sweat. How on earth is this possible?
Grand gestures won’t workIt might all look sweeping and epic on Strictly but in fact the secret is in keeping your steps as small as possible. As dance partner Dan and I discovered when we attempted a striking tango move across the floor and ended up careering into the couple next to us (if you’re reading this btw, we’re sorry). That never seems to happen on telly.
A lot of effort goes into being Strictly-readyUntil you actually take to a dancefloor yourself you don’t really appreciate how much work must go into getting the steps perfectly honed for live TV. Suddenly all those talks of injuries, strains and dropping a dress size all start to make sense because if one hour of this kind of thing is enough to leave you a quivering worn-out heap in the corner imagine doing it several hours a day for several weeks. I am now looking upon those contestants with a new found respect.
Certain people should never be allowed near a dancefloor again. Ever.Well I’m guessing that goes without saying.