Strictly Come Dancing: BBC One show is back, but I'm not allowed to watch it, since I live with a dancephobe
Not everyone in my household is a fan of the glittery BBC One show
Strictly Come Dancing is back, but it’s banned in my house.
That increases my desire. It’s like chocolate cake on a Monday. You crave it more than you ever do at the weekend.
I say the series is outlawed, but it’s not quite as hardline as that.
After all, my beloved knows that I wear the salsa pants in our relationship. It’s just that I enjoy watching it, while he does not.
He says rum-ba, I say room-ba, he says pa-so doo-ble, I say pah-so d-oh-bley, let’s switch the whole thing off.
Anyway, I’m keener than usual, as the postponed return of this BBC One programme feels like a sign of normality in what has been a strange few months, in a year that we hoped would be the same as pre-lockdown ones. But it isn’t, is it?
At least on the telly, we can follow the familiar weekly trail of sequins, leading us right up to Christmas.
I want to be reassured by the glitterball and Claudia’s shiny black pelmet fringe, which, though seemingly dandruff free, has managed to make her the face of Head & Shoulders. Perhaps it’s only when she whips her hair that you get the full snow globe effect.
We’ve survived the always-slightly-boring launch show, and I’m excited for them to rattle through the competitors. I can’t wait to cringe at whoever turns out to be this year’s equivalent to Ann Widdecombe, who was always being dragged around the floor like a wet mop.
I don’t want to dis a fellow Scot, but television presenter Kaye Adams has admitted she can’t dance, so maybe she’ll be 2022’s squeegee.
I’m sure Craig Revel Horwood is primed to wither the rubbish movers down to the bone, with his hydrochloric strength scorn, while Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and Shirley Ballas, will stick to their damning-with-faint-praise technique.
I’m especially attracted to watching such a sparkly programme, since it’s dusk by 5pm.
My night vision isn’t what it was, so, in an effort to save power in a cost-of-living crisis, I will navigate round the darkened flat using echolocation. As long as I can click my way to the sofa, and press the green button, I’ll be fine. Then the Strictly technicolour will light up the screen, while we’re back in Kansas.
Unfortunately, I cannot have these fluffy things without Toto spoiling them.
He will invariably walk in, just as I’m engrossed in a Z-lister doing a hammy tango, and say “who are these idiots anyway?” And I will have to explain, though I can’t identify many of them either. That is, apart from the better known Helen Skelton, Ellie Simmonds and, obviously, Matt Goss, because I am of the demographic who remembers the teenage trend of Grolsch bottle tops threaded onto laces.
Then, wait for it, there will be an iIs there anything better on?” And I will have to switch to Netflix and the latest gritty noir, when I really want Charleston, hip swivels and fake tans.
Perhaps he’s not a fan, since he’s always been a wallflower.
In contrast, I enjoy a freestyle interpretive session. I’m always quick onto the dancefloor, though it’s been a while since I was near one.
Still, if I’m feeling cold in my flat, I’ll often whack on any Chaka Khan, Bob & Earl’s Harlem Shuffle or Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite, and break it down in the vestibule. I know how to push a pineapple. Nobody puts Gaby in the corner.
However, I’m a bit shonky when it comes to following proper steps.
That’s despite the fact that I had to do the obligatory ballet classes as a child. It’s so Victorian, isn’t it, that small girls are expected to work on their grace and poise? Ridiculous. Krav maga would have been a more useful life skill.
Anyway, it wasn’t all bad, as I loved my leotard and the little pink shoes, with the shiny satin ribbons to twist and cross around the shins.
Unfortunately, I was never going to be a pound shop Margot Fonteyn, since I didn’t understand the French names for the moves. The teacher probably explained, but the words wouldn’t sink in. I’d spent the whole time staring at the other tiny people. When the teacher said something like “frappe derriere”, I’d copy what the others were doing. I was utterly bewildered and would count down until it was time for mum to rescue me.
That put me off dancing for, oh, nearly four decades.
Relatively recently, I tried flamenco at the excellent Dancebase in Edinburgh.
It’s one of my favourites to watch – powerful, passionate, evocative – but the rhythms, or compás, are so unbelievably complicated.
This is mathematics, not dance. Again, it was murder on the dance floor, and I regressed to those childhood ballet classes.
Since then, I’ve been to the occasional ceilidh and also tried Zumba – the hugely-popular Latin-inspired cardio fitness class.
Unfortunately, it’s all in the hip action, and mine are completely rigid. I can’t wiggle, and am repulsed by watching my sleazy attempts, while reflected in dance studio mirrors. I resemble a stick insect attempting to hula-hoop.
So it’s freestyling for me. In the hallway, in my house. Dancing the cold away like nobody’s watching, because they aren’t.
There’s no need for any scorecards, I know that Craig would eviscerate me.
NB. Don’t worry, I will find a way to watch the show. He can’t stay indoors forever.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.