Mapplewell & Staincross Village Hall hosts a number of activities, the majority of which are open to the public and anyone can attend for just a small fee. This year the Village Hall Manager, Nick Hibberd, is going to take a closer look at some of these activities and explain why they’re important to so many in our Community.
The Tea Dance – Mondays 1pm to 4pm
Before the 1960’s young people would flock to tea dances all over the Country. For many it was the only place to meet the opposite sex and even today we get many people come to our Village Hall that say that they first met their husband or wife here at a dance put on by the working men’s club.
Many of the ‘dances’ seemed to be more civilised then. Couples needed to physically embrace to dance a tango, waltz or foxtrot. Even the Jitterbug and Jive required some level of interaction, albeit a little faster and more enthusiastic than the slower dances, but there was definitely bodily contact.
And then came the Rock and Roll.
Rock and Roll, Pop and a whole host of other music genres meant that for the next four decades the majority of youngsters preferred to head off to the night clubs. In the 60’s and 70’s dancing became more of a ‘hands-off’ activity, often with ‘packs of girls’ cavorting around a heap of handbags in the middle of the dance floor with young men simply watching and drooling from the sides, each trying to pluck up courage to ask for a dance – especially at the end when the ‘smooch’ records were played. There is an old saying that ‘everyone looks good after 10 o’clock’. Whether this is because of the alcohol consumed or the thought of going home alone, perspectives changed – as did your expectations. We’ll let you decide which of these was the key influencer. Needless to say, ballroom dancing was strictly out of fashion and purely for the professionals, competitions, black tie events and the odd ‘die-hard’ romantics. Obviously in this period there was the occasional hiccup that shifted the goal posts slightly, such as ‘John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever’, but in general the format remained the same.
By the 80’s and 90’s there was a ‘power shift’. Now men were happy to be seen ‘strutting their stuff’ and competing for space (and attention). Dance floors were filled with eyeliner and perms as we hit the New Wave scene – and the woman were just as bad. Dancing continued to be a ‘non-contact’ pastime for most.
And along came Strictly
Shortly after the start of the new millennium something changed. It might have been the introduction of Strictly Come Dancing in May 2004 that caused a swing back to traditional dancing. Now celebrities made it look ‘cool’ to do a tango or waltz. Alternatively it could simply be that the children of the 50’s started reclaiming their youth, possibly looking for new love and companionship later in life.
Whatever the reason there are now more tea dances cropping up all over the UK including Mapplewell & Staincross Village Hall. Here we still follow the same format that makes the Tea Dance such a social event. We play a couple of sequence ballroom dances and then have a break. Today, however, it is more out of necessity and a rest than it is to chat. But it is still very much a social event to enjoy.