Rock around the clock for 60 min­utes

Re­porter Joanna Grif­fiths con­nects with her inner rock ‘n roller for this week’s 60-minute chal­lenge.

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE -

I don’t mean to boast, but I have al­ways thought I was gifted with a nat­u­ral rhythm.

At al­most any op­por­tu­nity I will crank the mu­sic and bust a move – be­hind closed doors.

When my work col­leagues sug­gested I give rock’n’roll danc­ing a go, I was qui­etly con­fi­dent that I was Elvis in fe­male form.

On re­flec­tion, I may have been a tad over­con­fi­dent.

When I ar­rived at the In­ver­cargill Rock ‘n’ Roll Club, Karl Her­man led me to a rack of 50s dresses and handed me a pet­ti­coat – be­cause what is rock’n’roll with­out the 50s clothes?

Ten min­utes later, primped and prepped to the best of my abil­ity, with a vo­lu­mi­nous pony­tail, cropped cardi­gan, yel­low polka-dot dress, lace-trimmed socks, and flat lace-up shoes, I stepped onto the dance floor.

We started slow and, fac­ing a mir­ror, prac­ticed the ba­sics.

It was good ... un­til I tried to dance with some­one else.

Karl stood in front of me, held on to my hands and at­tempted to dance with me.

It re­minded me of go­ing to the blue-light disco in my youth. De­spite the fact we were hold­ing hands I could have sworn there was a me­tre be­tween us, as I sud­denly be­came self-con­scious of my per­sonal space.

I stared in­tensely at my feet, as if that would help.

Even­tu­ally, after pleas from Karl to stop try­ing to lead and to re­lax, I started hav­ing fun.

Ap­par­ently men HAVE to lead on the dance floor.

Ba­sic step mas­tered, we moved onto the cool moves, learn­ing a sin­gle turn, dou­ble turn and the rock’n’roll waltz.

Yes, I still oc­ca­sion­ally took a wrong step, but it was noth­ing my ex­pe­ri­enced part­ner couldn’t fix with the tug of a hand.

The mu­sic lulled and Karl stopped. ‘‘Right, time to learn a jump’’. I laughed ... ha, ha, ha, very funny.

He led me to the dance floor. Oh heck, he was se­ri­ous.

I pleaded for the safety of ev­ery­one in­volved. I am not Baby, you are not Pa­trick Swayze and this is not Dirty Danc­ing.

‘‘You will be fine, we do this with the 8-year-olds – they love it.’’

The move was called a jump, but no jump­ing was in­volved. He would sim­ply swing me around on the floor, he ex­plained.

The con­cept was sim­ple enough: I had to fall on my side. Karl would sup­port my weight and swing me around on the floor, then pull me to my feet so we could con­tinue danc­ing.

After ner­vously shuf­fling on the spot, I bit the bul­let and fell.

He swung me around on the floor and pulled me back to my feet. Suc­cess.

After an hour I was hooked on rock’n’roll. It is def­i­nitely some­thing I would do again.

SAM SMAILL

Re­porter Joanna Grif­fiths learns about rock ‘n roll dance as part of a 60-minute chal­lenge.

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