In primitive societies there was a need for people to live in groups, as survival depended on a high degree of co-operation, and so humans developed as social beings with a real need to belong to and interact with other like minded people. As modern society developed there is less need for the ties that once held us together. Sure you will meet other people at work but you can get by with little contact with your fellow human beings. However the human spirit did not evolve to sit watching TV all night, or live in a virtual world where our only friends are on Facebook, so into this void have come numerous clubs and societies where like minded people can once again be in groups which have a common purpose. The Modern Jive Beginners’ Class is not unsurprisingly a place where new bonds of friendship are made, after all the participants have a common interest – to remember the moves to get through a three minute dance track. They can not learn to dance on their own and if they are to make progress on the dance floor they will need to support each other.
To read the previous chapters in my tale of a fictitious group of beginners click here
You are ushered in to another room at the side of the main hall, for the Beginner’s Refresher Class, and are greeted by a member of the dance crew. You look around, there are six others – four women, one of which is Ellie and two other men. You pick out the nervous looking one, you now know to be Robert and thankfully the other guy quickly introduces himself, ‘I’m Andy. Is this your first time?’ ‘Yes, you too?’ ‘No I think its my fourth.’ ‘Well I’m Peter. I just had a bad experience on the dance floor. I have to admit I nearly gave up.’ ‘You’ll find this refresher lesson will help.’ ‘Let’s hope so.’
Everyone was paired up with a partner. You introduced yourself to a woman you remembered from the main lesson. ‘ So how did you get on with the moves?’ ‘I think I did OK, but I struggled a bit with the moving on to a new partner thing.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘It was a bit like speed dating to music and some of the men were a little forward.’ ‘Well I’m Peter.’ You couldn’t help wondering if she might think giving your name was a little forward, but she offered her own seemingly quite willingly. ‘I’m Mandy.’
There being one woman over Ellie stood out as the crew member went through the first move again. Once the move had been practised, the women were instructed to move up the line to the next man. Mandy moved on to Andy and you heard her exchange names with him quite readily. In the meantime Ellie took her place as your partner. ‘So Peter, have you got it?’ ‘Hopefully.’
That night as you lay in bed you felt pleased that you had promised your fellow beginners that you would be there next week. You had made a lot of progress in the refresher class and by the end you had danced the three moves quite confidently and reasonably smoothly. But your thoughts went beyond the actual dancing to think about the men and women you’d met in that second class. You’d got to know the names of the other two women as they had moved up the line to be your partner. They were Janice, a first timer like yourself and Paula, who had started the same time as Andy. You couldn’t help but think how friendly your fellow beginners had been. Was it because you were all in it together, all still lacking in confidence but all determined to give yourselves a fair crack of the whip.
You thought about Robert, who even after four lessons, was still struggling to properly connect with the beat of the music. You’d chatted with him on the way back to the main room. ‘I know I’m struggling but some of the women are really patient with me. Paula always asks me to dance in the freestyle sessions and Ellie’s gives me plenty of encouragement. ‘We all need help Robert.’ ‘Yeh, I hope they don’t give up on me.’
Then you smiled to yourself as you remembered Mandy, the girl who thought she’d mistakenly walked in to a speed dating singles night. She had seemed quite relaxed as she had danced with the three men in turn and on the second time round she had been quite chatty. Perhaps they were not perceived as threats, after all they had to focus all their mental energy on getting their moves to flow and there was none left to get over friendly with her. Whatever the reason she and the other three women appeared to be very comfortable with him and his new found dance friends. Your last thought was of Robert again. You thought back to your reply when he had hoped that the girls won’t give up helping him. ‘Don’t worry Robert, they’ll keep helping you, remember we’re all dance buddies now.’
to be continued…