Friday, 15 June 2007


At some stage, I think I was about 14 or 15, my mother decided I ought to learn to dance properly and sent me to lessons with a teacher friend of hers. I'd been through the ballet class phase when I was very little and I don't recall disliking it, though not actively liking it either. That was with a friend of my mother's too. Was it her mission in life to keep her friends in business?

Anyway the dancing lessons came to an abrupt end when the teacher, and I can still picture her, sighed and said she couldn't see how I was so lacking in rhythm while my mother was so musical. The little confidence I had was completely shattered and I avoided dancing thereafter.

All this came back to me last week. When the dancing at the wedding started, the very first person on the floor was a young woman on her own, rapidly followed by most of the others, some couples but mainly women - one very pregnant. It was somehow a party within a party with everyone enjoying themselves tremendously. But not the British contingent, oh no. Indeed it became so obvious that I felt the need to make sure all our family were joining in too.

Everyone's enjoyment was total and they had no qualms about dancing around, and with the singers and the professional belly dancer, and nor were the singers or dancers put out by this in any way. Perhaps it's usual in Mediterranean weddings, I don't know (yet).

I was talking about it with one of my sons who maintained we can't dance because we do lack rhythm whereas some people are born with it. I argued that we can't dance because we are full of inhibitions resulting from our upbringing and culture. There may however be another element. I noticed that the little girls from a very young age were joining in and being shown how to move by other female relatives. Anyone can undoubtedly be taught to sing and paint to a reasonable level, so I am sure they will be good dancers before they are old enough to feel in any way self conscious.

Perhaps if I had been taught to dance from that sort of age I too could have done this.

Well, I can dream ....


  1. Instead of "lacking in rhythm" I was told "you can't dance" by a 12 or 13 year old boy. That comment made me extremely self conscious and inhibited my ability to dance. When I got older I tried to be able to move my body naturally once I begin to think about it, I get spastic.

    Great pictures.

  2. I grew up in an Irish American community where dancing was a big part of our social lives, both the formal dancing popularized by Michael Flatley, and the kind of dances which were the forerunners of American square dancing. I enjoyed it tremendously, even though I was told, as you both were, that I had no ability (by my mother, in my case) because, luckily, skill was not a requirement, and enthusiasm was. Now that I am long out of that community (and it pretty much does not exist anyway anymore)the only situations in which this experience can be duplicated is at functions like weddings. I sure miss it.


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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