The joy of dancing

Andrew and I moved to Shipton under Wychwood in 2006, having relocated from Chesham Bois in Buckinghamshire.  We were both working full time, Andrew employed by London Underground, and I was proprietor for two nursing homes in Banbury and more recently a nursing home in Shipston on Stour with my partner and children. Until a couple of years ago, when we semi-retired, we rarely joined into the local Shipton life as work was so very busy.  Since semi-retiring, Andrew and I have started to become involved in local village life. Andrew works as a volunteer for the Wychwood Wild Gardens and I play tennis, volunteer for the Day Centre and have joined the Women’s Institute.

We took up dancing around seven years ago and attended some classes held in Beaconsfield Hall and Milton Hall. However, we decided we needed more tuition and to have private lessons given by Kerry Jay ( which we have on a regular basis in Beaconsfield Hall. Kerry teaches many types of dancing and offers wedding dances for those who wish to impress their guests. As a result, our Ballroom, Latin and Sequence dancing have improved dramatically.

Dancing has many advantages to people of any age. Anyone can learn to dance even if it is only a few steps. The benefits of dancing are many, including a boost to your wellbeing by improving mental health, memory and concentration. It can reduce stress and enhance physical health, muscle strength and endurance.

Andrew and I are not professional dancers, but enjoy giving people a good time. When chatting to the elderly, we hear that many used to attend Tea Dances and some met their partners on the dance floor. When performing, I wear Strictly ball gowns as seen on TV; some have been actually worn on the Strictly shows and altered to fit me, others copied from dresses seen on the show. Andrew wears his evening suit, waistcoat and bow ties to match the dresses.

 Over the years we have regularly given dance performances for the nursing home residents to provide enjoyment and fun for all. Currently, we have arranged to carry out a dance performance at the Paddocks which should be fun for all. We will be encouraging the residents and staff to join in. We are also planning on dancing for the Day Centre participants. However, this is on hold due to Covid restrictions.

Hence retirement can bring many benefits especially in an active village like Shipton under Wychwood and we are so glad we moved here all those years ago.

Madeline Taylor

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October-November 2021