Holly Philipps introduces us to her Strictly Come London dancing experience
If you’ve ever wondered how great a dancer someone is after taking, and passing, their grade three ballet, then I can provide the answer you’ve been looking for: not very.
Nonetheless, this is the only qualification I have going into UL Dancesport’s Strictly Come London competition, and boy do I feel under-qualified. The idea is that a ‘professional’ from the UL Dancesport Society will pair up with a ‘celebrity’, well representative, from another London University society, teach them how to dance, and then perform the said dance in a perfect and draw dropping finale before Christmas. Riiiiiight. I guess we will have to see how it goes…
I was somehow persuaded to represent Pi Media. Okay, I wasn’t persuaded, I volunteered. Very loudly. But I refuse to believe that anyone can genuinely say they’ve never dreamed of being on Strictly – this is my (kind-of) chance!
Even though it isn’t the real Strictly, in true Pi fashion, I’ll be keeping you updated via a blog/random articles with my progress until the big finale in December. I might even get a few of the other participants to contribute as well, adding to the community spirit and all that.
Let me fill you in on what has been happening so far.
First things first: partnering.
Being quite tall myself, I was a tad worried that I’d be paired with someone considerably shorter than me. Then the fears crept in that I’d be forced to play the man’s part due to the discrepancy in height and potentially have to lead the dance, which is possibly the only thing I know how to do less than actually being led in dance.
‘Oh no!’ I hear you cry, ‘she couldn’t possibly!’
Fear not – meet Jelle van Dijk, my wonderful, and wonderfully tall, partner from the Netherlands! At 6”5, I have no chance of standing taller than him, and I can even wear heels. It’s like we were meant to dance together.
The dance: The Tango.
I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% sure what a tango is… I’m not even 20% sure. I do know, however, that it’s pretty cool and looks amazing when done right, so, no pressure! Luckily for me, the Internet is a wonderful thing and has lots of videos. So I’m going to skip MIC for a week and brush up on my tango knowledge instead. First place, here I come.
To introduce all the couples and as a way of getting to know all the contestants, the organisers, Adam Dyster and Nollie Kernot, arranged an informal meeting session. It basically entailed us all standing in a circle, passing round some very yummy popcorn, and sizing up the competition. Oh and taking photos! Jelle quickly taught me a few basic steps in some borrowed shoes, and I now know that the ‘dancer pose’ is actually called ‘a line’! Hence the above photo – looking pretty pro already right? (p.s. I am not standing on Jelle’s foot, my foot is in the air, although it probably shouldn’t be there either … I’ll work on it.)
I have my first proper practice coming up soon, so watch the space (and the dance floor) for an update to follow!