The Day of Dance in Saltaire is exactly what it says it is… An entire day dedicated to all things dance. From Morris to Ballroom, West African to Lancashire Step Clog. There’s something for everyone and it’s all aimed at beginners, so even if you’ve never danced a step you can still definitely join in.
My first class of the day was Eastern European and Gypsy Rom Circle Dance. I had zero idea what this would entail and I was very nervous. Dancing is something I enjoy privately, usually in my kitchen whilst I’m cooking, and I love it, it is not something I do in public very often. I’m unsure of whether or not I’m any good at it, nobody has ever told me that I’m a good dancer and usually if you’re good at something, someone will tell you, therefore I draw the conclusion that I’m not great…doesn’t stop me enjoying it though.
This does make me rather nervous about getting up and dancing, especially on my own and sober.
The steps for these dances were very easy to follow, I’ve never done circle dancing before so everything was new to me today. It’s fair to say I have fallen in love with it, there is something so therapeutic about the dances, it was quite sensual and romantic, almost seductive. You fall in to the rhythm, eventually, and just become quite peaceful and in the moment.
My next class for the the day was Vinyasa Yoga. I’ve practised Yoga for many years at home, I’ve never attended a class so I’ve never really known if I was doing it right. I’ve always done a series of poses, breathing exercises and meditation, coming out of each pose to go in to the next one.
Vinyasa loosely translates as “arranging something in a special way”. The sun salutations are co-ordinated with your breathing as you flow from one pose to another to create something beautiful. I have honestly never felt more calm or relaxed. It was such an incredible spiritual experience, where all of my stress, worries and anxieties just melted away. The only thing that needed my focus and attention was my breathing and the rest just becomes a natural process.
If I said to you,
“How about learning some dances for a long ago princess? A long ago 16th Century Italian Princess?”
You’d be excited right? Well we were excited but unfortunately this class was just not what we expected. I’m sure the dances were wonderful to watch in 16th Century Italy but this taster class was very ‘history heavy’, too much talking and not enough dancing…
We most definitely saved the best ’til last! West African Dancing! This is definitely one of the most amazing things I have ever done. There is so much energy and passion in this dancing, it was an exhilarating experience. Certainly not for the faint-hearted. It was very fast paced and tribal. You really have to give it your all and just throw yourself in to it, we certainly did. If you’re looking for something to make you feel alive then this is it.
Day of Dance is an annual fundraiser organised by the Yorkshire CND who are “working for a world free from nuclear weapons”. This was their 46th Day of Dance and it may well have been their last due to dwindling numbers in 2017. Attendance was up this year though so it’s looking promising that they will be back again! If anyone thinks they can help out in anyway to keep this event going you can contact them via the Facebook page or website.
“The reward for conformity is everyone likes you but yourself” Rita Mae Brown