Next on the list is dance and not just any old dance - this was a six-hour danceathon at Wembley in aid of Comic Relief. I have to say I didn’t really think it through when signing up but it proved to be yet another cautionary tale highlighting the perils of going onto Twitter whilst tipsy. Tipsy twittering is bad! On consideration (after pressing the sign-up button), six hours is quite a long time; you could fly to the Caribbean, Mo Farrah could run 2 and a half marathons or you could drive from London to Scotland in that time. Basically, six hours is a long time to be dancing for and if I’m honest, I wasn’t quite sure I would be capable.
I travelled up the day before and stayed with my lovely hosts, Sophie and Graeme. I decided the night before the big day, I should “carb up,” so off we went for pizza and prosecco. Don’t worry, I made sure that I didn’t overdo it; I am an athlete after all! The order of play for the day was as follows: 12pm – 70’s disco - Yep, I have moves in the locker for that 12.30pm – Swag - Not sure what that means but my 12 year old daughter says it A LOT! 1pm – 80s Anthems - Right up my street 1.30pm – Musical Theatre - Iffy on that one 2pm – 90s Rave - Move over people, I have landed 2.30pm – Michael Jackson Moves - Got a moonwalk in the bag already 3pm – Funk - Happy with that 3.30pm – Diva Dancing - All over this 4pm – Bashment - What the hell is this? 4.30pm – Pop - Standard moves 5pm – Ballroom & Latin Taught by Dancers on Strictly - Enjoyed my Fitsteps class so this should be OK 5.30pm – Sixties Soul - I got soul in a bowl, baby!
When I got to Wembley, I joined the queue behind a myriad of brightly coloured participants. I looked wistfully at my tutu and wished I had made more of an effort. The whole event was to be hosted by the optimally fringed Claudia Winkleman and the stage was adorned by other celebrities, who were prepared to get their dancing shoes on for the day.
The arena filled with over 2,000 people and Claudia reminded us about the wonderful cause we were supporting. I spent this time thinking how I was going to get a lock of Claudia’s hair, which I promised each person who sponsored me. The excitement was building as I found my dancing area (which was immediately invaded by a bunch of red feather head-dressed dancers - who seemed to find my presence magnetic, no matter where I went, over the course of the day).
The music started and on came tune after tune after tune. I assumed that although I would be there for six hours, I would be able to cheat a bit and go and eat and take multiple wee stops but I hadn’t banked on the fact that I couldn’t literally tear myself away from the fantastic tunes. I did the first hour and a half non-stop and went for a quick toilet break, through the first half of the musical numbers set. When I came back, I carried on until the halfway mark, when I started to feel tired. At this point, I thought if I stop, I won’t be able to start again, so I made my way to the front and I went for it!
The atmosphere was fantastic and everybody was genuinely having a great time. My favourite sections were Bashment, which turned out to be a Caribbean inspired, hip rotating dance style, Diva and Rave. Sophie and Graeme had managed to equip me with a whistle and glow sticks that morning, which allowed me to convey to the people standing within 20ft of me, by the power of noise and sight that I loved the rave days!
The last hour was hard. I found I couldn’t actually lift my arms above my shoulders, which was tricky for the final numbers. I gritted my teeth and felt euphoric when the glittery paper came down to signal the end. Claudia said we were all brilliant and I felt brilliant. The day was fantastic and I felt a real sense of achievement, not only for me personally but also because I was a little part of something which will hopefully make a big difference to people. I didn’t become Claudia’s best friend as planned but the 5-hour journey back to Cornwall didn’t seem that bad after all that.
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