Here it is , an austere and solid building. I ask myself, what am I expecting from this day of circle dancing ? The circle dancing group in my home town is such fun, world dance tunes – Macedonian, Israeli, Romanian, Greek music and more. It’s hypnotic and calming being joined in a circle, sharing the same dance steps and rhythms . Today it will be a new teacher, new Iberian dance tunes and another group of dancers.
Let’s go in. We are late, so the music is already playing. Some people are already in a circle and dancing. I like the Spanish music. The group members are welcoming and have warm hands. It’s a large group of dancers, around thirty people.
For the next few dances, I work on learning the new dance steps. Gradually it becomes easier, so I tune into the style of the teacher (male). And notice the presence of the event organiser (female). He is soft spoken, a slightly built man, he seems professorial. He is interested in exactly where in Spain the music comes from, how there are different versions of a tune. He has choreographed some dances himself and is keen to tell us. As a teacher, he has a quiet authority and makes dry jokes. He demonstrates with minimal steps, his upper body wooden. I get no sense of him responding to the rhythms of this beguiling music.
At first the event organiser chips in with little suggestions – ‘We could do the announcements now’, and I think, how supportive she’s being to the teacher. as the day progresses, I realise the organiser feels she is the ‘chatelaine’ of this place, as in, the woman in charge of a large house. It’s her house, he’s the visitor, she must point this out to him. She’s in charge of ‘housekeeping’, food, drinks, the whole enterprise. And she knows all about circle dancing, has a non-stop smile and upward gaze.
So it becomes an uneasy duet between them : he makes a point to the group, she makes a remark , ‘don’t you think it would be a good idea if…?’
I find this duet fascinating – perhaps he could ask her to co-teach the session with him ? or she could say, it’s ok, you can go home at lunchtime. Unlikely !
We repeat the dances from the morning, this time no need to think about the steps, so it’s pure pleasure. The session ends, it’s time to go home. What will I take away from this day ? That I love the soulful passion of the music, the rhythms turned into steps, being joined in a circle.
One last look at Malvern, then we climb into the car and gossip all the way home.