Keeping calm despite waltz worry

Gazette news editor Victoria West and dance partner Michael Carillo attend their first dance lesson for the Hospice of St Francis Strictly Learning Dancing 2012.
Gazette news editor Victoria West and dance partner Michael Carillo attend their first dance lesson for the Hospice of St Francis Strictly Learning Dancing 2012.

Gazette news editor Victoria West hopes to rake in cash for the Hospice of St Francis by taking to the dance floor in the charity’s Strictly Learn Dancing event – and each week she reports on her progress.

The key is not to panic – something I’ve been struggling with since attending my first dance class and realising what a big deal this really is.

But I’m determined to continue deluding myself and, much more importantly, my dance partner that we can literally just waltz through this charity challenge.

“It’s for a good cause” has become my stock phrase whenever boyfriend – soon to be ex, I’m sure – Michael Carillo points out that in around six weeks’ time we will be taking to the dance floor in front of a crowd of hundreds in aid of the Hospice of St Francis.

Yes, that’s right – in a moment of insanity, I agreed with my bosses editor John Francis and deputy editor Wes Smith (this is all their fault) that I would don sequins and prance around.

So, on Sunday, I pretty much dragged Michael along to our first class at Hemel Hempstead’s Sportspace with dance teachers Shirley and Brian Cusworth from Balia Cusworth Dance School. This patient duo are giving their time for free.

After meeting other couples and discovering that we will be the fourth pair to take to the stage on the big finale night, it was time to learn the first few steps of the waltz.

Oh dear. It did not go well and I can safely say that I may be one half of the worst dancing couple in the group.

But it’s just our first class, right? Even Shirley, probably flabbergasted by our dodgy footwork, pointed out that some couples last year, who just couldn’t get to grips with the footwork, got to do a cut down version of the dance.

But I’m not giving up that easily, I’ve set my mind on doing the full shindig.

The jive, the second dance competitors will be performing, went much more smoothly and my mood improved considerably – I’ve already decided I like this one much more.

> To sponsor Victoria and Michael visit www.justgiving.com/victoriaandmichael or pop into the Gazette’s office at 39 Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead.