“You don’t have to be any good to join in the air-step competition” says the organiser, Rena, two months beforehand! Well that settles it, we’ll do it just for fun.
This was our first Beach Boogie, second dancing holiday and our repertoire of air-steps came from baby ones taught by Andy and Rena and the odd attempt to replicate what we saw on some videos. But it’s just for fun! So we signed up on the day we arrived.
“What music do you want?” asks Rena at lunchtime on the appointed day. Music? We have to choose music? But we were told that there will probably be a knock-out with lots of couples on the floor and the music would be chosen for us – something like Rock Around the Clock. No – one at a time – whole floor to yourselves. So we proceeded to borrow 3 CDs from next door and a player and after an hour’s deliberating, chose “Wild Child”. It seemed in keeping with the theme of “child’s play” and was not too long and about the right tempo.
“What have you choreographed?” asked another couple. “Choreographed”? We are just “free-styling” it. “Brave” came back the comment. O dear, I suppose we could at least decide what steps we might do and in what order. So we managed to find 10, however many were drops – more like “floor steps” than air-steps! I was quite worried about forgetting to do some cool move so I chose the order that generated the least unmemorable word from the first letters!
I just happened to wander over to the main hall and saw one couple practicing. Whoops! I think we’re out of their league. Better put some effort into this. It’s one thing not winning; it’s another being a disgrace. “Fun”! B**gg#r fun, its survival from now on!
I reported back my findings and we decided that a practice session was in order, even if just to discover how many steps we could get in the 3 minutes 15 seconds of music time.
We thought that we would start with a “Crossed hands, through the legs”, immediately into a “lady hand-stand and invert”. Sock it to them – first impressions and all that. That worked fine. Then followed a few basic moves and a candlestick. Oh dear – far from vertical. At this point Anita declared her success criteria: i) the candlestick had to be vertical and she should not “disgrace herself” (whatever that meant). We carried on and within a minute, we were two exhausted sweaty bodies in a heap and had only done half the moves. “But we only normally put an air-step or two in a track of music” stated Anita. Too true! Ten in one track was 5 times our normal rate. Could our 40+ bodies cope with this? Well, we never got through the routine that afternoon – we just did not have the stamina. “It will be all right on the night”, we thought and “it’s only for fun”. But should we give up? Then came in an organiser and checked up “you are entering aren’t you”. It was the way she said it. I sort of felt that I was letting her down it we did not – I think they were short on numbers!
Now we had decided to go as a schoolboy and schoolgirl, St Trinian’s stuff. Oh was it fun when Anita asked me to rip her tights with my bare hands from her body! We then had a little discussion about ladies going upside down with skirts on and the opaqueness of tights. I assured her that I would be the last to get any benefit! We hovered around the back more looking as if we were warming up than actually achieving anything. We managed to collar Rena, declared we were hopeless and needed to go first – which was great! We need not see others’ performances before ours. “How do you want the music to start”, she asked. Questions, questions! Apparently one can have silence before you start (posy) or just start sometime after the music begins. We chose “pose”. An incredibly long wait occurred as panic set in for me…and then we were on.
What surprised me most was the atmosphere – the cheering and clapping. I had never experienced this before. They were all WITH us. Fear flew away. First two moves – excellent. The Candlestick – vertical. Where was all our strength coming from? There seemed to be no limit to it. But where had my brainpower gone? My thinking speed had dramatically reduced. I could only think of basic steps and “man-spins” at that to join up the moves. And where were the judges? I realised that I did not know which direction each move faced at the critical point and I wanted the judges to see the best angle.
I always believe in safety first. I shout out each move and we usually have a particular lead anyway. “Pretzel drop”, I shouted. “No” came back the reply. “No”? But who is leading here? Why does she not want to do that one? Another few man-spins while I think up the next move. “Legs” she shouts. Well it’s all right for her. She’s just following. No wonder she has some brainpower. But what does “legs” mean? I knew that “legs” meant something and I knew that I knew the move, but I could not think what it was and how it started. So I carried on and even thought of an intermediate move, the “gate”. Now we had pulled out all the stops with the choreography here by putting our tongues out at each other whilst rotating round! Cool or what?
“Legs” she shouts. No “over the arm” I shout. Landing was a bit wobbly, but things still going well. More man-spins. Floor-sweeper went quite well, followed by a nose-bleeder. “Legs” she shouts yet again. Oh yes, I remember and…crash – splat, she hits the floor! “Legs #3, as planned, not legs #1” she shouts! She gets quickly picked up off the floor and I repeat the move with total brilliance and, just as the music was ending and there ought to be some sort of drop, Anita just seemed to wrap up into a first class curtsey!
We got such a buzz from performing and really enjoyed watching the others. There was one other couple like us, two entertaining father-son acts, a brilliant double male St Trinian and two others that clearly outclassed the rest of us. They were choreographed to the music and had been practicing for months and they fully deserve the reward from all that hard work.
I think that the most memorable aspects were the electric atmosphere to dance to and the supernatural strength that sheer terror can provide one with! We had given it no thought until the afternoon, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. We managed to get hold of a video of our performance and it did look a bit flat compared with the best. However, for us, it was a challenge overcome and we’re proud of it, indeed we made it look so effortless and easy on the video – but we know better.
I do think that we better still keep our day jobs!