23 July 2012

Seeking Dance - Swing Dancing at Stern Hall

There's only one thing I miss from home as much as I miss the food, and it's dancing.  I spent my last few years in Ohio learning and teaching ballroom dance.  Some of my friends have even gone on to be dance teachers, and I envy that they're able to do what we all love so much, every day.

Super awesome UK visa laws say that I'm only allowed to work in my main profession so I can't work my 9 - 5 and then teach dance on the weekends in a local gym. Irritating, but I suppose I shouldn't be trying to 'take' anyone's job that they're definitely 'qualified' for. 

Taking jobs. Yea, OK.

Anyhow, occasionally I do find small ways to feel closer to home.  One way was when a friend from work invited me to a swing dance night!

Jitterbugs at Stern Hall

I imagine it's the same in every city. There's a group of dancers and once you know them, they seem to be the only group you see.  It was so much easier at home because most of my friends were dance friends, whilst I only know 2 dancers here.  It seemed no different with the Jitterbug bunch, most of whom seemed to know each other quite well!

If you're a first time dancer they do lessons at both beginner and intermediate levels every Wednesday from 7pm.   It's definitely worth a go, if not for the dancing at least for the very retro atmosphere and interesting people that you can meet.  The woman in the image below is a 'couture milliner'! piphackett.co.uk 

After all of the lessons have ended, the grand dancehall becomes an open dance session where you can try out your new moves with anyone you choose to lead you.  It's amazing how universal the language of dance is. While I may have learned how to Lindy in a small dark room in Columbus, Ohio, the 65+ year old man in London was twirling and whirling me as if we'd been dance partners for years.  Dance is a beautiful thing.

My only bit of advice: bring a spare top and prepare to sweat.  It is insanely hot in this room, and kicking up a few steps does not help at all. 

Stern Hall can be found out:

West London Synagogue
33 Seymour Place

Nearest Tube: Marble Arch

Class prices vary, from £6

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