Friday, 12 September 2008

Cours de Dance

Oh look, I said to my husband on our recent holiday, you can do dancing lessons here.

And indeed you could.

We sat one evening (after the circus debacle) watching a group of French people being taught how to dance.

Now I was tempted, I sorely was, but... it's hard enough to follow instructions in English let alone in French. All I could understand was something about your left pieds back and your right pied forward and then the instructor would bark, "Recules, Recules," which I think means go back because that's what everyone did.

The children were very keen (apart from the ten year old who was the only one who ditched ballet early) as at every available opportunity they put on the karaoke machine and work out dance routines. But when I pointed out the French problem, they demurred and agreed that perhaps it wouldn't be quite so easy.

During the first week of our holiday the entertainment (barring the circus) seemed fairly tame, but as the second week progressed it seemed that an aspiring DJ was in our midst, as every night we were listening to a mixture or rap and heavy metal (rather a strange combination it has to be said), which got later and louder as the week progressed. The kids were all desperate to go, but being as the disco seemed to start around 10pm we kept saying no. (Mind you we felt like pretty strict parents, because as far as we could tell everyone else stayed out all night with their offspring however late it got. What it is to be an uptight Northern European).

We'll go on the last night, I promised, as we'd twigged that the previous week the last night party had been fairly wild.

Except they changed the programme for our last night. I do speak French to a reasonable level, but not well enough to cope with the subtleties of things changing at the last minute. (I disastrously took us on a castle tour which I will be blogging about at the other place due to a slight misunderstanding. The kids still haven't forgiven me.)

It turned out that for the last night there was going to be a spectacle, but not in the outside bar area, but in a hall inside. Given that the kids' French is minimal we decided this would be a waste of time and sat outside and had a drink instead.

The only problem with this was the weather. Somehow (I don't know how, but I swear there is a big black cloud that follows us wherever we sojourn in Europe), we had managed to bring rain to the south of France. So we sat at a table which was luckily under a canopy and gloomily looked out at the rain. Though the bar staff had promised dancing later, we somehow doubted it would come to pass without the outside speakers creating a huge electric shock for anyone who went anywhere near them. We were sitting quite close and they were sparking intermittently and unnervingly...

At 10pm people poured out of the hall, the spectacle being over, but most of them voted with their feet and went to bed. Which was odd as the other times we'd looked earlier in the week the whole world and his wife seemed to be out, complete with children whatever age they were.

We were going to call it a day until eventually Madonna's La Isla Bonita started blaring from the speakers. At which point all the people who'd attended the cours de dance earlier in the week immediately leapt up and showed us all how to recule, recule, recule.

The eight year old was a picture. She couldn't stop her feet tapping but was utterly intimidated by the grown ups on the dance floor so stood making up a little routine of her own next to us, before disappearing to the play area in the pouring rain with the French friends she'd made.

The twelve and ten year olds had eschewed the play area as too childish, and I could see the oldest (who has been to dancing lessons since she was four) was desperate to get on the dance floor, but also far too self conscious. Eventually a huge group of teenagers got up to dance and the pair of them snuck off into the far corner, where no one could see what they were up to.

By now the music having gone over to cuban rumba stuff, had reverted to 80s rock, which was pleasing us grown ups no end. And when Billy Idol's White Wedding came on, I couldn't resist anymore, and neither to my amazement could Spouse. I may have mentioned before that he is a good mover when he gets going, but it takes a lot to get him going. The combination of enough beer, being on holiday and the fact that we were never ever going to see any of these people did the trick, and he kicked off his sandals and we took to the floor.

And it was so much fun. We danced our way through a selection of nostalgia before the DJ took us back to the Kings of Swing and Frank Sinatra. By now it was chucking it down with rain, we were drenched through (but luckily it was warm so we didn't care), the two oldest children were utterly mortified as we were the only ones left on the dance floor and we had a blast.

The little ones however had really had it, we had a long drive ahead of us the next day, so all too soon it was nearly for bed.

But we couldn't go before the last dance, which very appropriately was Singing (and dancing) in the Rain.

And so we did both.

Which was actually rather magical...

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