I first wrote this ‘poem’ way back on 12 February 1979. It now has a new life with additions. I hope you enjoy it. Comments are very welcome.
I had had my first lessons when we lived in Cirencester. I had those ‘alone’ so that I could reach a sufficient level not to stamp too much on Doreen’s (the wife’s) toes. My work base then changed and we moved to Tewin in Hertfordshire. After a while we decided to go dancing together and joined the Sylvia Lewis Dance School at Barnet . Doreen & I were one of three beginner couples who joined about the same time. Jeanette & Dereck were a young married couple; Beryl and Jeff were friends. We all got on well together. Esmé was our really great teacher and persuaded us to take up the challenge of medal exams. We all agreed – ‘why not – it could be fun’. It was – but it was also darn hard work. Esmé might be sweet but she was also a hard task mistress!
The following records our process to our first success.
Last Summer time the six agreed
To try for dancing fame,
To get a Bronze in Ballroom
Would be their total aim.
Then the six themselves decided
To be called SUPERGROUP
And gave themselves to Esmé
To be put through the hoop.
To learn the steps became quite hard,
A full routine was built,
Through winter cold they battled on
They just refused to wilt.
Vital parts of the Waltz routine
All became household names.
Whisk and chasse, drag and turn;
Their interest must not wane.
The quickstep; that has other things
A lock step, drag as well;
But no matter how hard they try
The twinkle step is hell.
The six of them keep working hard
‘Neath Esmé’s grip of iron.
Jeanette, Beryl, Doreen too
Dereck and Jeff and Brian.
Now comes the time, their test is here
To Barnet they all go.
All the steps that they have learn’d
The tester they must show.
Jeanette goes early, Dereck too;
Jeanette, she shakes with fear.
Dereck is confident: it shows.
He glides, as if on air.
Now come the rest; J.B.B.D.
They know their time is here.
Keep their nerves, relax, that’s all
They’ll soon go get a beer.
Esmé is shattered, tired, puffed;
Her long night’s work is done.
They must now just sit and wait
To see if they have won.
Sylvia stands up, their time has come
The scores for all to hear:
One by one she reads them out.
Brian can’t wait, where’s his beer?
It’s over now, the world’s gone flat
Nervous energy’s all gone.
They tried their best and everyone
Has safely passed the test.
Five out of six have done quite well
They each commended get.
The odd one out is Jeanette,
Her score is higher yet.
The nerves she had did her no harm
Highly commended she.
Rounding off the groups success
They’ve done it. Shout “Yippee!”
Now the torture all starts again
The Latin Bronze come next.
They will all keep at it now;
Now they have had success.
We did go on to do the Bronze Latin: and then Silvers for both styles and finally, and much to my amazement, we got Gold in both styles as well! I still have my dancing shoes – but they haven’t been used for the past 30 years.
The one style I still appear able to do – I did a bit of it in my Rock/Jive tests – is a sort of heel & toe tap dancing. Every so often now I do a little of it in the Great Hall at Burghley to entertain little children who have been round the house with their parents or grand-parents.
The children think it’s fun but I don’t think Esmé or Sylvia would recognise it at all.