When Are You Too Old To Dance In Public?

Film screenshot from the trailer to Flying Down to Rio (1933) announcing the screen partnership of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those inspirational memes about the joys of ‘dancing in the rain’ are getting on my t*ts.

When you dance in the rain you get wet, blisters and risk breaking a limb or two.

And after what I saw this week, if you’re over sixty, I strongly suggest you stop dancing in public altogether.

I’m talking about you, disco queen pensioner in the seat next to me at the Roger Hodgson concert on Tuesday.

Now I do realise that the suggestion that there should be an age at which you should stop dancing in public will be a contentious issue, (not unlike the question of when it is pertinent to stop wearing a bikini publicly), but it needs to be raised. There’s a reason retailers don’t sell many bikinis over a size 12.

So in the words of George Michael, if those ‘guilty feet ain’t got no rhythm,’ it might be time to stop dancing publicly.

The last time the old man and I had a public boogie was at the school Trivia Night a few months ago, when even my own dancing embarrassed me as I spotted the pained expressions of the thirty-something younger parents out of the corner of my eye as we strutted our best tango to Bon Jovi .

And after that night I swore (to my kids) that I was ‘never gonna dance again’ in public. I can’t allow myself to turn into one of those old people who fall all over the dance floor flashing their Bridget Jones undies and are satirized on home video shows. I obviously need to retire my ‘dad dancing’ partner at the same time.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, we’re not. Nor, unfortunately, was the disco queen.

As soon as Rog walked on the stage on Tuesday, the disco queen pensioner began strutting her stuff. (I’m assuming you know Roger from Supertramp? Maybe not. To be honest, my reaction as the old man handed me the tickets was, ‘who the fuck is Roger Hodgson?’).

Even I was initially a teensy bit reluctant about going to see Rog. I mean, I loved Supertramp twenty-five years ago, but could I actually be f*cked to see him now when I could just as easily listen to him on my iPod? Not so much. Especially on a week night when ‘The Good Wife’ was on, there was a full bottle of wine in the fridge begging to be opened and it was raining.

The old man and I were the youngest in the audience by at least ten years. In fact I was pretty much the only spring chicken amongst a yard of old chooks for the first time in a very long time, (relatively speaking), and it felt good. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many bald heads and blue rinses in one theatre).

So there I was, seated next to this hyperactive ageing disco queen, (because I always have to sit next to the stranger in the theatre due to the old man’s social anxiety) and she began behaving like some love-struck teenager from the minute ‘Rog’ walked out on stage. There’s something quite embarrassing about a woman in her sixties fawning over a celebrity, hanging on to his every word, taking photo after photo, knowing all the words to his songs. Even Rog looked decidedly uncomfortable as she waved and whistled at him on the stage.

I can’t decide whether she was doing some sort of chair-dance, was having an epileptic fit or simply had a bad case of Thrush as she bounced around in her seat. Whichever it was, it was f*cking awkward and hard to ignore, sitting in her immediate vicinity, and I spent most of the evening trying to remember the steps of the resuscitation process (and had to lock my finger on the emergency button of my phone). When she accidentally knocked the bald patch of the gentleman in front of her as she was trying to pull off some armchair Gangham move, I shuffled along to the next seat and hid.

The Maltesers calmed me. As did the three glasses of sparkling wine. But it did make me question when is the right time to stop dancing in public?

Nevertheless, Roger was a master. Who doesn’t remember Fool’s Overture, The Logical Song or Breakfast in America?

And when he finally played Give A Little Bit, which he had been teasing us wrinkydink die-hard Supertramp fans with all evening, I was hoping that thought the woman next to me might actually self-combust.

I suppose it’s vaguely reassuring to know that you can still let your hair down in your sixties.

Time to put those dancing shoes away in public though, methinks.

When do you think that you are too old to dance in public?

Related articles

  1. Live Review: Roger Hodgson @ State Theatre (03.04.2013) (nataliesalvo.wordpress.com)

#RogerHodgson #oldpeopledancing #middleaged #Supertramp #Music #dancing #BreakfastinAmerica #GiveALittleBit

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