Do I like rock and roll music? Definitely. Do I want to get up and groove? Without a doubt.
This week, rumours of my rock dancing turned in to a reality when I headed to Palermo’s La Viruta for my first class.
I arrived to the informal class a fledgling rock and roller, and while there are three levels of competency, I was directed to the beginners section of the floor. Standing beside me, in ‘beginners block’, was anyone from 20-year-old students to 70-year-old grandparents.
Myself and 13 other novice dancers were taught by two teachers, one male and one female. The class size was ideal, big enough for my dodgy footwork to go unnoticed, and not so small that I couldn’t sheepishly hide from the teacher’s glare. It was hard work though, as energetic as an aerobics class but much more refreshing, and a fun type of sweat-inducer.
First we learnt the four basic steps of rock and roll, which weren’t too complicated to grasp, and when we’d mastered these, we were allowed to dance with a partner and the turn was introduced. And this was when things turned tricky and feet were trampled upon.
“Cambien la pareja!” the teacher would shout frequently, prompting us to sidle over to someone new, and escaping the embarrassment of the last turn, when moves went slightly haywire.
Pablo Orellano, a regular dancer at the night, told me: “The most important thing with rock dancing is self-confidence, and not being embarrassed to loosen up and just have a good time dancing. It’s much more relaxed than other dance forms.”
But even for the rhythmically challenged, these classes are more fun than complex. Smiles and giggles are commonplace, and afterwards there’s still time to practise any newly acquired moves with whoever takes your fancy!
Perhaps, best of all, is that the music bestows the feel good factor on everyone. Ranging from the 1950s to the 1980s, and including hits from the likes of Bill Halley and his Comets and the Beatles, as well as some typical Argentine rock, it’s the type of music that demands at least a knee tapping when listened to. And the extensive menu of La Viruta’s bar is always on hand for when the rock and roll takes its toll.
Am I still a fledgling rock and roller? Very much so. Am I improving? Well, it may take a couple more classes to reach acrobatic rock and roll standards, but I’m on my way.
So how about trading tomorrow’s gym class for a glass of wine and joining me for some infectious rock and rolling?