Perhaps you have a memory from your childhood when mum and dad insisted you took lessons and you hated it. So much so that the very thought of gliding around a dance floor brings you out in a cold sweat, and anyway, that rather bizarre hopping up and down dance routine that you have been using since 1976 has always stood you in good stead when forced to dance at weddings, certain types of funerals and fiestas.
All that has changed now, yes it’s official, Ballroom Dancing is sexy. It is all to do with a dance programme first introduced on British TV but now franchised right across Europe. Strictly Come Dancing or Dancing With The Stars has been a phenomenon. I’m told by people who know about these things that the show’s success is down to a number of elements, namely celebrities having to come to grips with the intricacies of the Quick-Step or the Rumba, the sheer effort and concentration involved and the sweat and tears that all this involves. Then you have the beautiful dresses that the women wear, or in he case of Latin American Dance very nearly wear! Combine this with elegance, grace, and men and women in very close proximity to each other trying to impress bitchy judges, and you have a sure fire winner.
I have to confess that I am truly and totally hooked on ballroom dancing, indeed my partner and I beat a path to Pickles Dance Studio on a Friday night for our beginners class and trip the light fantastic with a gang of friends who suffer from the same strange affliction. Ian Pickles and Anne Mawson the dance professionals who own and run the studio are endlessly patient and great fun.
Both Pickles and Mawson before arriving here in Mallorca were in the UK top-ten of ballroom dancers. The Yorkshire born Ian and Londoner Anne started their business in March 2005 and they have now become a fixture on the islands social and dance scene.
Their busy studio is buzzing with folk of all ages; a young couple of sixteen years old are moving around the floor next to people more than three times their age. All nationalities are represented Spanish, British, Germans, Dutch, you name the nationality and they are represented at Pickles Dance Studio.
In preparing this piece I have been pondering why has dance become so popular.
Apart from some of the more obvious and glamorous reasons I have already outlined, I think the need, if not the ability to dance is buried in our DNA. It is cultural, social and in a very polite and restrained way, sexual. We should also not underestimate the joy and pride that it can give you when you have mastered a particularly tricky manouvere after hours of treading on your partners toes.
For men, the physicality needed to dance properly is akin to competitive sport and that competitive edge is both challenging and exhilarating. Trust me, after an hour or two of trying to master certain dance routines you certainly know you have done it, and after a few drinks at the bar at the end of your session you will fall asleep as soon as your head hit’s the pillow. The next morning aching limbs and sore calves don’t in any way put you off your new and all consuming past-time and unlikely passion.
At the Pickle Studio they have dance classes that cover beginners, intermediates and tutorials for those who are at an advanced level. Maybe, someday, I will get to that level but I rather think I will need to be able to tell the difference between my right and left feet before I reach those “giddy heights”. What I like about it is that whatever type of music you like there are dances that fit them like a glove. Ballroom, Latin, Latin-in-line, Salsa, Jive, Tango or Rumba; Pickles also have Hip Hop sessions, but with my back I don’t think I should attempt it!
My favourite dance? That has to be the Argentine Tango, it’s all about gauchos dancing with ladies of ill-repute, and requires you to wrap your legs around each other whilst flicking your feet; this dance is so sexy it should require a government health warning. Unfortunately the last time I tried it, my partner laughed so much at me she fell over.
Pickles Dance Studio,
Tel: +34 606 672 419