Rock around the clock for 60 minutes
Reporter Joanna Griffiths connects with her inner rock ‘n roller for this week’s 60-minute challenge.
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.
Reporter Joanna Griffiths learns about rock ‘n roll dance as part of a 60-minute challenge.