Expressive / Traumatic Dances

Dancer: Anne

Dance Location: Uncle Reg's and The Social Club, Poulton-le-Fylde

This is a dance that... felt like me truly being myself.

It happened first when I was about five years old. There wasn't much to do in the town where I grew up so when I was bored I would go next door to Uncle Reg's. He wasn't really my uncle, he was our next door neighbour. My mum used to do his shopping. Uncle Reg would sit in his wooden upholstered chair, smoking his pipe or cigar, watching the racing and telling me about carpet shops - he owned carpet shops. And I would dance all over the pink and green swirly floral patterned carpet in his living room.

I would dance my feelings out. I would just dance out sadness or happiness. I didn't need any music. There was lots of spinning, arm movements, free movement, contorted facial expressions, and screaming. The dance was big, it would fill the whole room. It happened on and off all afternoon, for as long as the racing went on. Uncle Reg was an entirely non-judgemental audience.

I next danced this dance when I was thirteen at a teenage disco in the social club in the local shopping centre. I was wearing something from Chelsea Girl - a pink leopard print dress and a white belt and stilettos. I thought I looked like someone from The Human League. I loved Soft Cell and 'Say Hello, Wave Goodbye' came on and I just thought 'Oh I'm going to do my dance!'. And I did. And people stopped and cleared a bit of space to point and laugh and copy and ridicule. It was mortifying. I had broken some rule for dancing that I didn't even know existed. I realised that I had to carry on or I would feel defeated, but I tell you - that is a long song.

My heart and my head left Poulton-le-Fylde during that dance. The dancing died then. I haven't danced like that since, but I think I need to find a way back to it. The cost to myself is too high not to.