Thursday 22 August 2013 Danced along the beach. Three teenagers (about 17 years old, I would say. 2 girls one boy) approached me from behind (which is what lots of people do) -what are they doing? Are they making rude signs? Planning to mug me? About to hit me and run away? Throw water over me? (I have had sand thrown at me, but by a 8 year old girl)
I turn pull back the phones and say, “Hello,” to which I recived a awkward teenage grunt and they all turn away a bit in, what I assume is, embarrassment. Just teenage angst or were they plotting something? (Just my paranoia?) I turn to speak to the young man. “Do you want to do this for real?”
“No, I’m okay,” he replies while backing away and turning.
As I have no idea what that reply means I continue dancing. They are jumping around behind me. I don’t know exactly what they are doing, but I spin around often enough to keep partial track of their activities. With three teenagers behind me there is an avalanche as all those little boys and girls who wanted to join in now see there opportubity and the next time I turn around there is a chorus of 15. The teenage girls have gone leaving the surly boy and 14 enthusiastic bouncing boys and girls. After a short while I address my class, “Would you like me to show you something simple that you can all do?”
So I start with a side step, I explain how to point the toes to make it more elegant then I add some arm movement and I call out “In-out” repeatedly and they all start calling it out in unison. I look aropund the beach and there are mums staring and smiling and dads with cameras. We do this for a while and I tell them they are doing well, and I am reminded of the gulf there is between what I do (which I regard as nothing much) and what they do when trying to copy me. We do this for a whole song (3 mins or more) then I asked them if they are getting bored and one of the boys said, “Let’s do something complicated.”
“Okay.” So I launch into a fast version of my usual stuff and the kids are jumping and bouncing everywhere and I say, “I am getting scared.”
The surly teenager who seems to be a bit more relaxed now asks me why and I explain that I am concerned about stapping on someone or knocking them over he tells me that everything is okay. At the end of the next song I tell them that the music has stopped and that they should head back to their parents. One of the girls asks me if I have a pen. “No, why do you ask?” “Because I want your autograph.” (That is the second autograph hunter.) I tell her that I have something for her and I give her a flyer which creates a clammer. I give one to the surly brute, but explain that the others will have to share and write it down. I also tell them that I am going to be on the radio talking about dancing. The surly asks, “Why you?” which I don’t reply to. As I dance away I look back and many of the children are jumping in the air and posing and turning. For the next 20 or 30 seconds I am rushing and turning and leaping with extra vigor. Odd, because I say repeatedly that I don’t like teaching a dance class.


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