Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dance Yourself Clean

I don't think I've ever felt as happy or as free in London in recent times as I did on Saturday.

What exactly was it about that day which made me so happy?

Maybe it was the awesome Britney dance workshop I took, maybe it was the alcohol I drank, maybe it was the great venue that is Bloomsbury Lanes, and maybe it was just meeting fantastic people with whom I clicked and just ended up talking complete and utter rubbish with. Any of these things would have made me mildly happy. The combination of all of them, I suspect, led to my being incredibly, deliriously relaxed.

Let me talk a little about the workshop. As always, it was conducted by my favourite street dance teacher, Elliot, whose class never fails to leave me happy. He'd decided to teach us the routines to Slave 4 U (probably my favourite Britney song because it's just so durrty) and Toxic. And, of course, as it was Elliot's class, it wasn't easy. As it'd be quite some time since I last attended one of his classes, it was time for me to re-learn the lessons that I'd learnt a while back:
  1. A class is meant to be difficult. If it's not hard, you're not learning. If you're not learning, it's not good.
  2. When in dance - and in all else - if you feel you can't do it, put on a character who can. Leave all your inhibitions behind and just be that crazy creature who can do it all, and has the attitude to match. 
And you know what? I may not have killed it, but there was a moment when I nailed it and the grin on my face was so incredibly huge, you could have spotted it from a mile away.

What I didn't expect was Elliot to get us all into a dance circle at the very end where everyone was expected to dance in the middle while he played a Britney mini-mix. I'd half expected someone to turn all professional on us, but no one did, instead opting for cheesy dance moves, much to my relief!

I had a short break between the workshop to get ready for a friend's birthday whereupon I ran into a lady whom I'd met over a year ago. It turned out neither one of us really knew that many people there, and we had several things in common and ended up chatting for the remainder of the party while nursing some rather unusual beers. As she was leaving to meet up with her friends at Bloomsbury Lanes, she invited me along, possibly because I'd said I'd heard so many great things about the venue but none of my friends wanted to dress up and go.

I'm not sure why I decided to go as, usually, I'd feel strange about gatecrashing someone else's event, and not knowing anyone else there, but it was just one of those nights when I'd thrown all caution to the wind quite some time ago. Quite possibly, I was still in my Britney character as I knew I was looking good, if not quite in an appropriate outfit for bowling (read: short dress).

Off I went. It turned out to that We, Like You featuring Norman Jay (MBE) was happening that night, so double yay! I ended up bowling and boogie-ing all at the same time. I really sucked at the former, not even breaking 50. Fortunately, I was much better at the latter. I think it's the first time in a while I was busting out crazy dance moves in front of almost-perfect-strangers. The music was wonderful, ranging from Paul Simon - You Can Call Me Al to Major Lazer - Pon Di Floor and everything else in between.

They even dropped a techno remix to an Irish tune which sounded a lot like one of the tunes off Sid Meier's Colonization, one of my favourite computer games ever, and, yes, everyone on the floor was doing an Irish dance. How cool is that?!

We finished bowling just about the time Norman stepped up to the decks. He dropped a combination of funky house and drum 'n' bass tunes, and I've got to say it's a bit of a relief to find out that no one really knows how to dance to d 'n' b. Everyone pretty much just tries to move as fast as they can!

What completed that great night was that the lady who'd invited me along? She loves to dance too, so, there we were, both of us, just showing off some moves. It was awesome.

As the clock struck 1 am, which then turned into 2 am as the clocks moved forward, I decided I needed to make a move as I had to get up early the following morning. I pretty much bounced back home, so happy and relaxed I was. It's been a long time since I had a proper dance (and, by that, I mean a challenging dance routine) and a proper clubbing session (and, by that, I mean just strutting my stuff with fellow dancers).

So, yes. Spring has officially arrived, and I have found another reason, another memory, as to why I love London so much.

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