‘We should be dancing! Memories of jiving and twisting to old time rock ‘n’ roll’

Aug 28, 2021
Julie writes about our love of dancing. Source: Getty Images

We should all be dancing, even at our age. In the not-so-long ago, there were old time dances, rock ‘n’ roll nights, and ballroom dances. Many young people danced in nightclubs, some still do.
But it is a pandemic world. We are all hoping for a post-pandemic future, so we can reunite in social interactions, if we feel the need. Still, currently, we cannot be too cautious.

I attended both a rock ‘n’ roll and an old time dances in past years. The rock ‘n’ roll night was at a local RSL club. It was for the older generations, the music was great! This sagging senior arose to jive again. Gee, it was fun.

One enthusiastic Boomer couple were ‘into’ the authentic American Jive. They were show stoppers, there was lots of applause for them. Dancing and loving music is something innate in us all, from the very young to the elderly. Foot tapping music is a favourite pastime.

That will set me off down nostalgia lane again. I recall one of my not-so-good days as a teacher in a ‘po’ folk’ parochial primary school. We had to make our own fun. The sports teacher, standing in a drizzling quadrangle in her shorty-short skirt, tried to teach an entire school population the Mexican Hat Dance.

Well, my lively 12-year-old lads had their considered opinion of compulsory folk dancing. It was a truly cross-cultural experiment. Even my dutiful girls and some of the juvenile Lolitas in my grade looked suitably horrified. “Ole!” called the sports chick, beautifully coordinated. My boys were trying to look up her skirt. Typically, we teachers were expected to participate.

“This is fun!” I told my class. “Ole!”

That was futile. Following their non-participation, I hustled them upstairs. “Well, if you won’t dance, you can do Maths.” That was the plan. On most days that year, uncooperative was my grade’s middle name.

I quickly deduced the Maths teacher who wrote the problems page in their Maths book, did, indeed, have deep-seated problems. For example, Question One. “Little Bennie brought home 12 watermelons.” (On his pushbike?) “He sliced them into quarters and segments after measuring the radius and diameter of each watermelon.” (Who wrote this? Not on your nelly with my boys here!) “Little Bennie shared the watermelons with six of his friends.” (Who wiped down the surfaces? While Little Bennie’s mother was doing what?) “How many slices were left over?” (Not one of my class cared.)

I soon abandoned that Maths is fun learning experience. Time for Art. Teaching painting with no Art room was one way to liven up my inexpensive spring skirt ensemble, as well as the existing classroom décor. “Ole!” I thought. “I cannot believe it is 3:30pm already,” said no primary teacher on Earth ever.

The Mexican Hat Dance disaster had set the tone for the day. Maybe my students took up dancing in discos or nightclubs as they matured, if ever. Dancing is innate in us all. Keep tapping those toes to your most beloved music. “Ole!” in my jaunt down nostalgia lane.

What were the popular dances you enjoyed in the '60s and '70s?

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