Strictly Come Dancing was the one show my mother and I demanded the “big telly” for when I lived at home – without question.
Audible groans could be heard from around the dinner table from my brothers, step-brothers and step dad when we firmly announced that tonight was Strictly night – and that for the next 15 or so weeks the big telly would be showing ONE programme, and one programme only. Anyone who wanted to enjoy the living room with us was under strict instruction to stay quiet and not make any sassy comments.
I do think we deserved it though, me and mum. Growing up living with so many boys meant action movies were nearly always voted for over chick flicks. And the SPORT. It was everywhere. Once the football season finished (and I’d breathe a heavy sigh of relief) suddenly the golf/cricket/rugby/darts/snooker season would start. It was never ending.
Even when me and my two brothers were at our dad’s house, it wasn’t any better. They’d all put Predator on the TV and fast forward to their favourite bits. I did once got them all to sit and watch Mean Girls with me though (serious achievement).
So, if you’re not already thinking it, me and mum definitely deserved our Strictly Come Dancing nights.
When I was younger I used to dream about becoming a little bit famous so I could appear on the show. I wanted the glitter, the tan, the dresses, the handsome man to dance with.
Yet, bizarrely, I managed to get all that anyway.
It’s been more than a year, but entering Strictly Oxford 2016, a charity competition with a very similar theme to the popular BBC One show, was the best decision I ever made.
Cliché but true. It really was.
I got the glitter (dusted on my face), I got the dress (one bright orange with the swirliest skirt you ever did see, and one scarlet with a billion tassels), I got the tan (I REALLY got the tan – man was I brown) and I even got the handsome man to dance with – who still, today, is sitting next to me in our home. (Yep, I even had a real live Strictly romance – but without any scandalous adultery claims thankfully).
And, following Brucie, Tess and Claudia’s words to the letter, I even did “keeeep dancing”.
A year and a half since learning my first ballroom and Latin routine and I’m still doing classes.
Only yesterday I received my double bronze medal award. And I have no plans to ever give it up.
Dancing makes me happy, it makes me feel graceful, and it makes me feel like I’m achieving something all the time.
I never felt like I had a real hobby growing up. Brother 1 has opera singing, brother 2 is a runner, brother 3 plays rugby, and brother 4 is a bit of technological whizz.
I was good at English, but never counted that as a hobby. I tried running, playing the flute, even went to a hockey club for a while. But none of it stuck, until dancing.
I’m still very much a beginner, but I don’t mind one bit. At the end of the day, it makes me happy, which is enough for me.
Sure, I’d love to do a show or competition one day – but I also love driving with David to Blackpool to watch him compete. My absolute dream is to become good enough to one day be able to dance with him properly.
If you’ve ever even slightly entertained the thought of dancing, don’t hesitate. It’s never too late to start. Go along to a class and see if you enjoy it.
It might not be for everyone, but it might be for you. I’ll never stop being thankful for turning up at that Oxford dance studio, walking into a room full of 40 strangers, and attempting to bob about to music.
I’ve finally found my hobby. What’s yours? Why is it so important to you?