25 people, a mixture of couples and singles, attended the Strictly Cookham Beginners’ Dance course. 26 is a good upper limit, 30 would be too many for a beginners’ class. Three people who had attended the dance class at the last Cookham Festival came along for a second go! The cost of the course of four classes was £24.00 per person. The dance course was held at the Pinder Hall on four consecutive Friday afternoons 2.30-4.00pm and was run by Penny and Peter Bysshe under the auspices of David Allwood.
We opened the Festival two weeks before it officially started so that we could fit in four classes. This year the classes lasted for an hour and a half which gave the dancers a welcome break after the Ballroom section of the class. The dancers were refreshed with tea, biscuits and social chat and came back to the dance floor with renewed energy and enthusiasm for some Latin dancing.
The aim of the taster dance course was to get everybody to learn the basic steps of a number of dances so that they could dance confidently at the Tea Dance held at the Odney Club on the last Sunday afternoon of the Festival.
In Ballroom the dancers learnt the Social Foxtrot, the Waltz and the Quickstep. In Latin they learnt the Cha-Cha-Cha and the Jive. They also learnt a Sequence Dance, the Barn Dance, which they enjoyed dancing progressively. They made very good progress in a short time and by the end of the third week nearly everyone had achieved the aim of getting round the dance floor confidently. Many people remarked on how good dancing made them feel and how it all came together when they danced to music. Several said that the concentration required to learn to dance made them leave all their worries behind when they were dancing. One busy couple said that the dancing classes had given them the opportunity to become reacquainted with each other! In conclusion a great deal of fun was had by all in the acquisition of a new and useful skill.