Time is tight for our charity contest and, as we only have six weeks to perfect two dances, Ken Cave and Carole Fairbanks have been brought in for an extra evening class to teach us the waltz.
“I'm Latin champ, they Ballroom dance champions from the 1960s,”Josef explains, gesturing them on to the floor with a low bow and exaggerated flourish of his hands.
Ken is a tall, slim man with a penchant for knitted tank tops worn over a shirt and tie, while Carole is petite with freshly blow-dried hair and noticeably small feet. They look like your average OAPs, who've used their free bus passes to get to Dance Kix studios and would rather not be out past 7pm in case they miss an episode of Coronation Street.
Suzy presses play on the music system and Ken and Carole begin moving magically across the floor to a Michael Buble medley of waltz into quickstep, tango and foxtrot, finishing off with a series of lifts.
“Crikey, do you think we'll be able to do some lifts too?” whispers former Olympian Shelley, to me. “I hope so!”
I already know the odds are stacked very highly in Shelley's favour and we've got a book running in the newsroom with her as 2:1 favourite to lift first prize of our donated dancing statues, which Nigel has blagged from a local shopkeeper. But I'm beginning to regret ringing her up to ask her to take part - none of us stand a chance with her on the scene.
I'm saved from replying as applause rings out. Ken bows and Carole curtseys so low I'm worried she may need help getting back up. Not so.
“Now please come and take your places on the floor, ladies behind me and gentlemen behind Ken,” says Carole.
The waltz, Ken and Carole tell us, is all about romance.
“It should feel as though you're treading on giant marshmallow clouds as you rise and fall to the beat of the music,” Ken says.
As I try to visualise that, Carole adds: “All the time while your neck is stretched to the left, your shoulders are relaxed and pushed down, core held in tight and knees gently flexed.”
All that before we've taken our first step, which turns out to be a heel lead forward as we make a small square shape to the beat of one, two, three.
We keep repeating this sequence til they add in a spin turn and what's called a whisk step. As we start to get the hang of these, we're partnered up.
Danny's not around so I make a beeline for Nikos who, it turns out, hasn't waltzed before as he only dances Latin.
I'm also taller than him which I realise is a no no in dance, especially Ballroom. I head over to Matt instead, whose wife, Angie, has - it transpires - persuaded him to take up dance classes with her. He loves the waltz and his enthusiasm is contagious. I sidle over to Josef and tell him I don't mind if he partners me with Nikos or Matt.
Ken and Carole are also the couple we need to impress, as Josef tells us they're two of the judges. I take the school's timetable and vow to turn up to every class held by them.
Shelley may be odds on favourite but I've got at least two stone to shift before I can be lifted by anyone other than a firefighter.
© DancingQueen 2021-06-06