Danc­ing queens

Danc­ing is fun, healthy and good for your mind too. Which is why Nikki Spencer set up a disco night for grown-ups…

Woman & Home - - New Tech -

Since my teens I have al­ways loved danc­ing, but when I hit my mid-for­ties I re­alised that I just wasn’t do­ing enough of it. There was the oc­ca­sional bop at a fam­ily wed­ding or sig­nif­i­cant birth­day party but that was about it.

I was sep­a­rated from the fa­ther of my kids and they stayed with him every other week­end, so I could quite eas­ily go out to night­clubs. But where could I go where I could dance with­out feel­ing like I was gate­crash­ing one of my teenage daugh­ters’ par­ties? my friends and I would of­ten end up danc­ing round my kitchen ta­ble in­stead.

I had my “eureka” mo­ment when Haven’t Stopped Danc­ing Yet, the 1979 track by Gon­za­lez, came on the ra­dio late one night. The idea of start­ing an event for peo­ple like me started to come to­gether. Those words – haven’t stopped danc­ing yet – just summed up what my friends and I were feel­ing. We could still dance to all those feel-good 70s and 80s soul, funk and disco tunes – so why the hell shouldn’t we?

It was nerve-wrack­ing plan­ning my first event. I had or­gan­ised a few fundrais­ers for my daugh­ters’ school, but this was new ter­ri­tory. I fixed a date and booked a venue, and per­suaded a friend who was a vinyl dJ to come down from Birm­ing­ham for the night. I en­listed the help of my daugh­ters’ dance teacher to lead some flash­mob-style dance line-ups to clas­sic tunes like Disco In­ferno by The Trammps, and Blame it on the Boo­gie by The Jack­sons, to get ev­ery­one up and danc­ing right from the start.

An­other friend de­signed some posters and then all I had to do was get peo­ple to come. That was the stress­ful bit! I had more than a few sleep­less nights but it helped hugely when the lo­cal pa­per ran an ar­ti­cle about it. my phone didn’t stop ring­ing with peo­ple say­ing, “This is bril­liant! I have been wait­ing 10 years for this and I’m bring­ing a bunch of friends.”

Over 250 peo­ple turned out for that first night back in 2010, and the dance floor was packed with happy peo­ple. I reckon that if you could bot­tle the at­mos­phere, you’d have world peace!

Eight years on, the de­mand has grown – although it hasn’t been with­out in­ci­dent. Two years ago a burst wa­ter main and flood near the venue meant we were faced with hav­ing to turn over 700 peo­ple away from our Christ­mas party, but thank­fully

it was fixed with only hours to spare.

We now run a dozen events a year in Lon­don, and have launched this year in Croy­don and Brighton too. We also do pri­vate par­ties and fes­ti­vals as well.

There have been so many great sto­ries over the years. There are cou­ples who have met af­ter meet­ing on the dance floor; the group of women who have come to party in mem­ory of their best mate, and the widow in her for­ties who got her groove back af­ter find­ing Haven’t Stopped danc­ing Yet.

The mem­ory that will stay with me for­ever is of Hazel, a friend with ter­mi­nal bowel can­cer. She came to our first night and a few years later, just be­fore Christ­mas, she dressed up in her favourite colour pur­ple, nail var­nish and all, and left the lo­cal hospice for a few hours to have one last dance.

Can­cer hits us all, so as soon as I broke even I started giv­ing 10% of my prof­its to Can­cer Re­search UK. I love that while we are all danc­ing our socks off we’re also do­ing a small bit to try and beat the dis­ease.

It’s great that I now get to dance reg­u­larly, but for me the best bit is when the night is in full swing and I stop for a mo­ment and watch ev­ery­one else hav­ing a ball. You can’t beat it.

at Nikki’s hsDY nights the dance floor is packed with peo­ple hav­ing fun

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