Young Blogger insists that you watch Dancing With Your Neighbours

I envy people who can dance. I really do. Despite the fact I’m blogging for a dance festival, I’m not any good myself. I’m more of a fan. But the more I think about it, the more jealous I am of people who can not only let go of their inhibitions and self-consciousness enough to dance in front of other people, but actually find a way to express themselves through the art form.

Perhaps that’s why I admire the girls on the film Dancing With Your Neighbours so much – they find serious joy in dancing, and enjoy sharing their gifts with people. I mean, they danced in the streets in the middle of Seacroft, for God’s sake! I wish I didn’t care so much about what people thought of me, and had the bravery to do that. This film shares a message that’s applicable to everyone, whether you like dancing or not.

But seriously; how could you not find dancing wonderful after seeing this film?! It was a perfect expression of the sheer joy of movement; I wanted to get up and dance in the middle of the studio! The idea of building up a community by discussing dance is completely inspiring, and it got me thinking – When was the last time I danced? And what are my most memorable moments of dancing?

Technically, the last time I got my groove on was last Friday; when I did an epic hand jive to a 50s tune in my jazz band. And topping that, I won an ABBA dance competition when I was 11 with my bezzie. We had matching crocheted hats, and copycat 80s dance moves. Shameful. Of course, I thought, that doesn’t count. It’s not a proper form of dance, like those girls on the film are doing. However, the more I thought about the film, the more poignant it became.

The whole point of the film, I realised, was that all dancing is real, and everyone’s experience of dance counts for something. The most touching moment of the film was when one of the older members of the community talked about how she used to groove in the 50s to rock and roll. The girls said that they then went and jived in the woman’s living room (Unfortunately, the footage was too dark to include in the film, but the message itself is a beautiful one).

Dancing With Your Neighbours, as well as being wonderfully inclusive, fantastically edited and with the loveliest of sentiments, was also really funny in places. My favourite moment was when one of the neighbours called Sheila – obviously a born legend – demonstrated her dance skills by flicking her leg all the way up in the air. Considering the informal screening of the film, in a room full of people who knew this local dance phenomenon, the laughter that started was pretty contagious. It was a joy to see.

It was great to have the girls in the film there at the screening – both to perform their work, and to participate in a Q&A. They were such lovely people, both on and off the screen, and the question session was warm and funny, but intelligent and shrewd too. Seeing these young people making a difference in their local area was a pretty inspiring thing to watch.

I’ll keep this short and sweet – rather like the film itself. Dancing With Your Neighbours is available on YouTube – please give it a watch. I’m so happy I went to the film screening, as it’s taught me something new – dance is everywhere. Also there was cake afterwards. What’s not to like about that?

Marion Smith
Juncture Young Blogger

Leeds Inspired



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