I get to witness a lot of world-renowned dancers, at the peak of their game and physical perfection, making beautiful, if transitory, works of art. People with a level of fitness I never had, bending in ways I never could.

I love this.

I also love to dance myself, on the rare occasion I do it, whether round the bedroom to the radio in the morning, whilst pushing the Dyson round the living room or, rarer still, at a Christmas party. This is not breath-takingly beautiful but it makes me happy!

There are few people who are not tempted to move by music, so why is the general view that one needs to be classically trained, young, beautiful, fit and bendy to be able to produce something that other people want to see you perform?

This week was proof that this is not the case and not only that, but that dance is, and should be, accessible for all. On Bank Holiday Monday, “Cakewalk Revival” was held at Alexandra Palace, in the Palm Court, hosted by Sally Wood AKA The People’s Palace.


This was a fabulous event, with participants ranging from Baby Daisy in her pram to people who I’m guessing were in their 8th decade or so. A swing band and a swing DJ provided the music, Gaia hosted a pre-dance swing lesson and people had a go, whatever their level of experience. To see a variety of people, of all ages and wearing a fabulous variety of costumes, from everyday wear to 20s, 30s and predominantly 1940s clothing, clearly having a fabulous time, by the big grins on faces, was wonderful!

“Sum of Parts” was the next highlight of the dance week on Tuesday. It is a new work from Sadler’s Wells Creative Learning department, Connect. Bringing together the illustrations of Betsy Dadd, the choreographic skills of Sadler’s Wells Associate Companies, the music of Nitin Sawhney and a cast of 130, the whole truly was greater than the sum of parts! All ages were present, from 9 to 90, professionals, amateurs, able-bodied, people with physical and learning difficulties, in short a truly diverse, inclusive and community corps. If the audience entered with an impression that this was not going to be up to the Wells’ usual high standards this was quickly dispelled. The work was professional, compelling, moving and uplifting! Not words I’ve heard bandied about for the later event in the week at that venue, involving naked people, in long blond wigs, crawling all over the audience!

Next up, “The Merchants of Bollywood”, an adrenalin-fuelled and fuelling blaze of bhangra and bling at the Peacock Theatre! I could barely keep still whilst shooting, my feet were dying to dance and my hands just wanted to twist that lightbulb! Another uplifting and motivating production, and completely different again to the two prior events. I wouldn’t be surprised if the audience was dancing in the aisles for this one!

To round off the week of accessible dance, it was back up to Ally Pally, this time for a picnic, where entertainment was provided by an Electro Morris Dancing duo and a 1940s-attired lady with a gramophone. And yes, they were playing together! The Electro Rhythm Sticks picking up the beat from the swing tunes. Wonderfully anachronistic and full of fun, smiles and laughter. They were also generous enough to let people have a go with their sticks!

What a great week!

Electro Morris - their usual, performing attire is a neon twist on the standard Morris Dancing costume!

To round off, just for The Wire fans, but nothing to do with dance (unless you count verbal dexterity as a form of dance?), here’s Dominic West in the role of “Butley” at The Duchess Theatre.

Dominic West as Butley and Martin Hutson as Joseph Keyston.