A dancing endurance challenge

This weekend I was in Caernarfon, in north-west Wales, for a few days of dancing. Twice a year my teachers book a hotel with a ballroom and ~50 people turn up for a few days of morning lessons and evening balls. At last September’s shindig I was on my own, but I’ve since found (and somehow managed to keep) a new partner – Sarah – and I was looking forward to the weekend. Uni + work delayed me on the Friday night, so I didn’t get to the hotel until 0200 and missed that evening’s entertainments, but it was nevertheless a great weekend. We will, however, likely remember it for one, rather rash, decision.

On the Saturday night my teacher played his favourite Viennese Waltz: a four-and-a-half-minute epic. All VWs are fast, and consist entirely of continuous spinning, but 270 seconds is, frankly, excessive. Sarah and I are one of a very few couples who get up for the VWs, and the only ones who can last a whole track, but we’d only completed this particular song once before, and then mainly because the audience were cheering us on. However, this time it was at least played mid-evening and we still had some energy. So we gave it a go, and managed to finish without stopping – hooray! Exhausted, we returned to our seats, only to realise my teacher was playing another: this time “only” two-and-a-half-minutes. I was happy to sit and die quietly, but my rather-fitter-than-me partner dragged me back up, and we completed this song too, at which point I had a moment of madness.

I wonder – I said to Sarah – if we’d be able to stay on the floor for the rest of the evening? Never one to shirk from a challenge, she agreed. This was possibly a mistake.

It’s important to point out the music isn’t continuous: there are always 20-30s gaps between each track, during which we were able able to sit and grab a drink. But apart from that, it was continuous dancing. Unfortunately for us, the evening lasted another two hours.

I’ve no idea how we did it. Two consecutive jives were probably the hardest moment, but there was also a new sequence dance, which meant learning new steps on the fly, as well as a progressive dance, and approximately a million consecutive cha-chas. Our technique plummeted towards the 90 minute mark, although we generally stayed on time, and by the final waltzes it was a matter of just trying to keep going.

But, we somehow completed it, and stumbled back to our seats. It was at this point, half-dead after the hardest night of dancing ever, that I realised I was wearing the wrong shoes. I’d been distracted on entering the room, and completely forgot to change into proper easier-to-do-spins-in dancing shoes. So that was a bit silly.

The next morning wasn’t good: Sarah was ok, but I’d clearly pushed myself a bit too far. I can’t remember the last time I was physically drained enough to feel ill – that hasn’t happened since school. It was really quite odd. Thankfully breakfast+ intraveneous caffeine meant it wore off by late morning, or I wouldn’t have had the energy to visit the Most Exposed Zoo in the World, but that’s another post.

I don’t think we’ll do that again. Still…it was kinda fun.