Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 22 May 2015

The Dancing Years


These two photos were taken in April 1965 and show my parents and friends attempting the dance craze, ‘The Twist’, which hit the headlines in 1960 with the song of the same name, performed by Chubby Checker. It remained popular for several years, enjoying several updates, including country and rap versions.

When these photos were taken, at a local dance, my parents were in their mid-forties and clearly weren’t the teenagers the original song was aimed at. Mum is in the centre of the first photo, looking very chic in her Little Black Dress, and to the right of her, Dad appears to be staggering backwards in surprise, but in reality is probably throwing himself wholeheartedly into the dance. My godparents are entering stage right, with my godfather taking the prize in that shot for achieving the position nearest the floor.

In the second photo Mum appears to be sensibly opting out of the ultimate knee-crushing bend that the dance was famed for, whilst Dad and two others go for it.

Mum and Dad were very good ballroom and modern dancers from their youth and were still dancing, whenever the opportunity arose, until a few years before Dad died in 2012.

Whilst The Twist doesn’t look very dignified, it was always a pleasure to watch their waltz and quicksteps.


 Here they are again, four years later at the Sherwood Rooms in Nottingham, at a dance held by the local Art Group, of which Dad was a founder member. At first I thought they were doing the Conga, but the chap behind isn’t joining in, and their two friends on the right appear to be executing similar moves to my parents. I believe they were ‘line dancing', although it wasn’t called that in 1969.


In July 1992 at their Golden Wedding celebrations, they were demonstrating it again; they also took to the floor to show that they hadn’t lost their touch in the ballroom moves either.

















 Ten years later, at their grandson’s wedding, they were surprised by the band 'playing their song’ - “Only Forever” by Bing Crosby - and dedicating it to them, as it was also their Diamond Wedding that month - and they were up on their feet again showing everybody how it was done!


It’s not a very clear photograph unfortunately, but what is clear is my own memory of dancing with Dad on many occasions. He was a wonderful dancer, and even though I never had any lessons myself, Dad was so skilled that he was able to lead me and make it look as though I’d been doing it all my life. Somehow I just fell into the rhythm of the moves and enjoyed being twirled around.When I was young he would stand me on his toes and my feet hardly touched the floor!

They were to have yet another ten years together, celebrating their Platinum Wedding in July 2012. Dad was not very mobile by then and he died later that year. Mum misses him very much of course but she has great faith that they will one day be dancing together again.


Take your partners for the Strictly Sepia Saturday, visit other Sepians and post your own old photographs and memories for all of us to enjoy.



13 comments:

  1. I don't recall ever seeing my parents dancing, with each other or anyone else ... I must have inherited the knack from them.

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  2. The twist is just about the only popular dance I ever learned or liked. Currently, I do it fairly often in my exercise class. I never learned to get down low when doing it though.

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  3. Great pictures! Isn't it wonderful with age comes the freedom to not care what other people think & just have fun! I think they might be doing the Cha Cha Cha in the 3rd pic, & probably line dancing in the 4th. I was directing a county-wide Jr. High honor choir in a performance of "Land of a Thousand Dances" one time with a small combo accompaniment & in the middle of the number the combo took over & the kids were supposed to dance doing all the dances they'd been singing about - the twist, the jerk, the pony, the mashed potato, the swim, & whatever else. I'd taught the kids the steps to the dances, but they told me I had to dance with them if I wanted them to do it, so at the age of 45, I turned around & did the twist, the jerk, the pony, the mashed potato, the swim, & whatever else with the chorus in front of a couple hundred of their parents and grandparents. And it was so much fun! And the parents loved it. And why not! It was all from 'their day'. The '60s were so cool. :)

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  4. Lovely photographic memories of your parents. Mine too loved dancing, but I have no photographs of them at all on the dance floor. and cannot remember them doing the Twist. They enjoyed the old fashioned dances such as the Military Two Step, and the St. Bernard's Waltz. Here in Scotland my favourites were the Gay Gordons and the Dashing White Sergeant, plus the energetic Strip the Willow/Drops of Brandy. Unfortunately in my part of the country., weddings seem to be the only occasion when there is chance to dance.

    Susan at Family History Fun

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  5. Lovely memories and photos to go with them. I remember dancing on my father's feet and then my girls dancing on their father's feet too.

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  6. This was a beautiful memento story of an activity that once meant a great deal to our parents and grandparents. Like Brett, I have no dancing skills but prefer to be in the band, hence my wife and I have never twisted or swung on any dance floor. (...Why does that not sound right? :-)

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  7. Kuddos to your parents doing the twist in their 40s...I was much younger at the time, and loved it for many years...but want to keep my knees more or less in line with my feet these days. I loved dancing to everything back then!

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  8. Great photos. They look like they're really enjoying themselves too. How wonderful to dance with your father and for him to make you feel you could dance. What a gift.

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  9. I have two left feet but I enjoy watching graceful dancers.

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  10. Great photos of your parents, so enjoyable to see, they bring back my own parents used to go to dances all the time, and many of those dances for them would be time to have a sleep over at my grandmother's house for my sister and me! Double fun!

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  11. I especially appreciate the third photo with its '60s atmosphere. The sneaky look at the lady at the right, and I wonder what the man at the left is doing (dancing on his own?). And in the background there is a lady in a folklore dance costume? My parents also loved ballroom dancing, I think it's an universal hobby of many people.

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  12. I've never been a dancer but always wanted to be able to dance. Now with my bad knee, not likely in this life.

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  13. You are lucky to have that series of photos. I never saw my parents on the dance floor.

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