The Charlston Ardècheois

Last month I realised I had an extra morning of L’Homme-at-home, a morning I hadn’t banked on. QUICK, I thought, I must get out there and DO something while he looks after the kids. But what? Too windy to go running. Not enough time to get to Avignon and back. So I made myself a coffee while I pondered what to do and while cleaning up the breakfast explosion debris I picked up a leaflet about one-off dance classes that week-end. There happened to be an introduction to the Charleston that morning, from 11 to 12:30, just a ten minute drive away. Hoorah I yelled, grabbing a pair of high heels (you can’t do the Charleston in trainers, it’s illegal in France), jumping into the car and speeding off euphorically in the way only a stay-at-home mummy can understand, ignoring L’Homme’s cries of “But you already know how to dance the Charleston! Come BAAAAACK!”

When I got there it turned out I was the only one who wasn’t part of the amateur orchestra group who were being forced into the class to learn the original point of music – ie: that you dance to it. They shuffled into place reluctantly, in trainers (I considered calling the gendarmes), eyeing up my shoes as if I was a total wierdo. Which I was; throwing myself into the moves like a dance-starved prima ballerina, shimmying and shaking my booty in the fashion of the 20’s, simply euphoric not to be at home sorting washing. The teacher, a stout little woman in her 50’s, was great. But slightly put off by my enthusiasm when I started teaching those behind me two different Charleston steps as a sort of finale cherry on the cake. Then the orchestra’s singing teacher arrived and got the singers amongst them lined up, ready to sing a Charlston piece for the rest of us to dance to. Quite a complicated one. Acapella. Well, I don’t have words to describe the piece but the singing teacher gave up at the piano after two goes and tried to direct them by singing all the parts at once. And when their voices kept fizzling out so did we ‘dancers’ so she shouted  “DANCE!! DANCE!!” at us which was very frightening, so we kept dancing and then someone popped in and took photos and I thought it was one of the orchestra group but it turned out to be the local press (not a lot happens around these parts) and a few days later the farmer down the road proudly told me had cut out and saved the article of me and my ‘dance company’ (I tried to correct him but he was having none of it and asked when we were next performing). Here is the article. I feel this says more about where my career has got to than anything else. You can see all my pent up energy channelled into dancing a few steps in a small village hall, alongside a load of slouchers who couldn’t care less and wanted to stop for lunch. But there I am: eyes front, chin up, poise and kick! So sad. For my next post I’m going to photograph all the reviews and photos in Le Monde and Libération that I featured in oh so many years ago, just to show off a bit and offset this pitiful state of affairs which is my (ex – but hopefully back on its legs soon, albeit shorter legs) job.

Guess which one I am ...
(clue: the only one who chose to be there and thus the only one enjoying herself

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