Dance It Off

Those who have been following my recent posts will know I’ve been working on losing weight for a couple of months.

I just asked Alexa (other smart speakers are available) for dance music in a bid to work off a cheese muffin (I did mention my approach to dieting was haphazard, didn’t I?)


The first number immediately galvanised me to action. Do you remember something called Sandstorm? (By Darude, apparently. I had to look that up.) I can never keep my feet still when it’s playing. I have several such triggers, but Sandstorm might be the most addictive.

Before I met my second husband, I would go with a group of girlfriends to ‘over-thirties’ discos (otherwise known as grab-a-granny’ evenings; I don’t think many of us were under fifty). Sandstorm had me skipping around with demented animation every time.

Another dance activity I enjoyed before I retired, although quite different, was Scottish Country Dancing. This wasn’t so much physical as cerebral exercise, although some of those reels can get lively. There would be a walk-through before each dance, and the challenge was to remember the sequence of moves once the music started. Get it wrong and you’d mess up your entire group. And, of course, I never remembered any of the sequences from one week to the next.

These midweek sessions were held in a local rugby club. At the end of the evening, when I felt obliged to leave and get back to my dogs at home and get some sleep before work next day, the mostly-retired members would decide on ‘just one more’ and I’d leave them still dancing. Sadly, there are no Scottish Country Dance groups near where I live now.

accordion player

For a while, after I retired, I joined a local Zumba class. From those sessions I added a few newer numbers to my party playlist, but somehow the choreographed routines were never as satisfying as actually moving where the beat takes me. I stuck with it until the teacher changed her daytime Zumba class to a different kind of workout, but it was only the music that had kept me turning out every week.

Where pop music is concerned, my husband is firmly stuck in the fifties and sixties. His sister was six years his senior, which I think influenced his musical tastes. Over breakfast, we listen to older rather than dancier numbers, but it’s been worth revisiting hits I didn’t appreciate properly at the time.

How did I not recognise those blows in the backing to Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer? the punches become more relentless as the final chorus repeats and repeats and repeats. . .

I’ve always loved Leonard Cohen’s growly voice, but I never appreciated the poetry of his lyrics. Hallelujah didn’t register with me at all until the film Shrek.

Back in the day, I was indifferent to Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross, but now when I sway to its surges, I chill out. It reminds me of winding down watching our tropical fishtank, back when we had one; I once read that fish-watching can bring down blood pressure. I think Albatross does something similar, but the synchronised movement (mine) offers more of a whole-body experience.

I have my selected playlists, named ‘Party’, ‘Relax’, ‘Simply the Best’. and ‘Jingle Those Bells’, but I rarely open them when I’m working at the laptop. I can’t concentrate on writing when I’m swaying or bopping or singing along. (I love to harmonise; bring on the Everly’s.)

Away from the computer, it’s taken me a while to get into using the smart speaker my daughter bought us for Christmas-before-last, but I’m getting there. (Although I can do without it asking me to rate my Amazon purchases before I’ve even read them. . . or used them.)

My husband’s enjoying the music, but he still looks at me oddly when I talk to Alexa.


Photo by Belle Co on


What do you appreciate more now than you did in your youth?

20 thoughts on “Dance It Off

  1. I’m very much an armchair rocker these days and I have perfected ‘dance moves’ for most songs, I’m with your hubby on the 50/60’s music x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He rather stopped dancing in the ’70s when he joined the Met. He was too engrossed in the job. i married (hubbu no. 1) in 1972, but we didn’t start our family until 1979 (to my mother’s annoyance) so I didn’t stop dancing through the ’70s.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, well, I was era-hopping rather… (I’m quite a bit older than that…) The Everley Brothers were massive in the age of harmonisation (multi-channelled Brian Hyland, Bobby Vee,
      Skeeter Davis…)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Reminded me of when my daughter and I briefly joined a line dancing group. It was a good laugh but the others didn’t dance too well. They were all going to the right when we were going to the left and when we were working our way up the room they were coming back down.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I think the sixties for me were the best period for music, not that there hasn’t been good stuff before or since but that for me was the pinnacle.
    I preferred Soul and Motown, the backing was better, and there was more going on than in most contemporary British music. I used to listen to a lot of orchestral Classical music before migrating to pop.
    Dancing for someone with at least three left feet wasn’t something that was ever going to go well for me, I could manage a slow cuddle around the dance floor when I could find a willing partner, to Otis Redding’s My Girl or Wilson Picket’s When a Man Loves a Woman.
    I did enjoy watching the girls dance, there used to be one girl who would come to the local youth club most nights, put sixpence in the Juke Box and dance by herself to, Going to a GoGo by the Miracles.
    In some ways, those were the best of times

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s interesting working my way through the decades. By the nineties, there was plenty to dance to but dance music had become anonymous and same-y. Similarly now, pop music seems so bland. Occasionally, something original pops up, but most of the rest sound so similar…
    I suppose our parents thought the same back then.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve always loved to dance, but my body doesn’t co operate any more. Well, it doesn’t have the energy. We have 80s music on when we’re all together and in the car on holidays. Strange my kids all listen to music I played, even the much younger daughter. But I like earlier music too. We had the Beatles on in the car this week and I was gaily singing all the words. I am quite happy dancing on my own, was always first on it the dance floor.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’m with Phil in the Motown and Should era, but I also love listening to Glenn Miller and Ed Sheeran (a very talented and likeable young man, generous with it), Lindisfarne (the only group I’ve seen live back in 1972 when I was at College), Manhattan Transfer, and you can’t beat the Beach Boys for the ‘sound of summer’. For a little light relief, I like Flanders and Swann, and their modern equivalent of Stilgoe and Skellern, who used to do concerts and I saw them in Shrewsbury. Brilliant. Peter Skellern was a sad loss. And, of course, I have choral music from the Choir at Magdalen College, but all those discs were given to me, and I seldom listen to them if Steve is in the house because he can’t stand it!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Now there’s an eclectic mix.
    I, too, have my classical playlist, but mostly the commercial classics, I’m afraid.
    And a ‘Relax’ playlist (Enya, Libera, Ray Charles, will Young, Nat King Cole…)
    The possibilities are endless


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