If you head down to the Great Ayton Town Hall on a Thursday afternoon, you’ll find a great party going on. It’s a huge ruckus of stomping feet, sensational rhythms, ringing laughter, and you’re invited. With the catchy tunes echoing around the building and the enthusiasm of all the participants, you’re guaranteed to be getting on your dancing shoes gliding across the floor with them in no time.
For those of you who aren’t sure what a tea dance is, they originate from afternoon dances that were held at English countryside garden parties in the 1880s. However, as time has moved on, the dances have started to draw upon different styles as the eras have gone by, such as the Charleston from the 1920s. They are all sequence dances, meaning they are a series of repeated patterns which pull moves from different styles, to create an amazing, flowing dance routine which are still recognised to this day.
To help guide you through these dances are a wonderful husband and wife duo, with a huge love for dancing and oodles of patience when it comes to helping people. They announce the name of the dance, before taking to the boards, sweeping the floor with their fancy footwork and graceful movements. Couples are encouraged to join in, along with people who aren’t that sure of the dance. But learning the moves is simply a matter of jumping out of your seat, copying the instructors and remembering. However, if there are dances you’d particularly like to do in the next session, clients are able to put in requests.
It’s a very informal activity, with many people there “to dance and to have a laugh,” and to meet up with their friends. This makes it such a social session, with people chattering away during dances and over the tea and biscuit break. Many clients attend each week, building up there dancing repertoire, but new faces are very warmly welcomed! Not only is the tea dance a social affair, it’s also a really great way to keep in shape. One instructor said “it’s a little bit of fun really, but it’s exercise without being exercise.” You end up having too much fun, twirling and swaying away, that the dancing just doesn’t feel like exercise anymore!
This really is a very friendly and invigorating activity, and people of all abilities are welcome. It’s held in the Great Ayton Town Hall on the high street, from 1:30pm-3:30pm, every other Thursday. Each session costs £2, and you are provided with tea and biscuits in the break. For any further information, give Phil Henderson a call on 01642 710085.