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.