Twelve days ago I stubbed the middle toe on my left foot while rushing to get my daughter's bath ready before bedtime. It was a pathetic injury but hurt so much that I couldn't put any pressure on it at all, had to cycle my child to school instead of walking for the next few days, and could only hobble around the house. I applied Arnica religiously and watched as the bruised swollen toe became a bruised swollen foot before fading a little and hurting less. By the eleventh day I was confident I could put both feet through the paces of a Charleston dance class...
The morning of Graeme and Amanda's Solo Charleston Workshop I gently squeezed my feet into the only shoes I have without a grippy sole (a flat smooth sole is recommended for Charleston) and excitedly set off for Brighton. Meeting Wukulele Harriet on the train as arranged, we arrived in Brighton early enough to fuel ourselves with excellent coffee at Small Batch Seven Dials, then headed for the dance venue upstairs at Good Companions pub. It was a packed and mixed class – male and female dancers, first timers (like me) and regulars.
The dance was broken down into manageable stages and we marvelled at how effortlessly Graeme demonstrated each sequence to us. We also admired his fabulous swing pants and co-respondent shoes! The enthusiasm in the room was infectious and an hour and a half flew by. The great thing about the Charleston is it's a dance you can improvise to, and make your own – when in doubt I remembered to smile and made with the jazz hands. Watch the short films below to see the results of our morning workshop.
I left the class elated and buzzing with joy and didn't notice my throbbing foot until I got to Western Road (en route to buy bobbins). I limped on regardless and just couldn't stop grinning for the rest of the day. Luckily lots of people smiled back!