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Strictly Stortford: Charity dance contest at Rhodes Arts Complex on hold as world fights coronavirus



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It seems trivial, in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, writing about the Strictly Stortford dance event this summer being put on hold.

Thoughts of dance steps have vacated my head as my Indie colleagues and I deal with reporting on the biggest story of all of our lives.

There was, of course, no way that our dance training could carry on: a large group of people in close proximity to each other meeting twice a week with a team of instructors. It was a no-brainer that we had to postpone, even before the Government declared we were going into lockdown.

The contestants rehearsing their Argentinian stroll group dance (33225886)
The contestants rehearsing their Argentinian stroll group dance (33225886)

Organiser Clive Weir, who himself works in the health care industry, was quick to act and we were probably one of the first to cease our activity. All bookings at the Rhodes Arts Complex in June have now been cancelled, including Strictly Stortford, which was due to be held on June 13.

But such is his passion for supporting his chosen charity, Hope for Justice, that Clive is determined to stage the fundraising show early next year, having gleaned from all of us taking part that we would love to carry on once the world returns to normality.

In a message to the group of a dozen dance couples, Clive said: "The Rhodes centre have advised me that every show in June has now cancelled, so it’s necessary to book another date. Not only have all the autumn dates been booked, but we must think of your training and give sufficient time for you to get back into form, after social distancing rules are no longer in force."

Rhodes Arts Centre, Bishop's Stortford. Clive Weir is organising a Strictly style dance competition. l-r: Stephen and Hazel Evans (Evans School of Dance), Clive and Bernie Weir. Stephen and Hazel will be teaching the dancers. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (33226071)
Rhodes Arts Centre, Bishop's Stortford. Clive Weir is organising a Strictly style dance competition. l-r: Stephen and Hazel Evans (Evans School of Dance), Clive and Bernie Weir. Stephen and Hazel will be teaching the dancers. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (33226071)

So, it could be early January or February 2021 before we get to strut our stuff on the dance floor.

We are all currently in touch via a WhatsApp group chat and on email. It's nice to hear how we're all coping and even see the odd video of dance practice continuing, albeit within the confines of our homes.

It gives us hope, something to look forward to, and makes you realise that there is nothing wrong with missing those everyday activities or pleasures that we took for granted.

Like millions of people around the world, we are getting used to a different way of life at the moment, fearful of a virus that is sweeping across nations, but also buoyed by the hope that this will all be over soon and forever grateful to those fighting this on our behalf on the front line.

Strictly Stortford (32861220)
Strictly Stortford (32861220)

The fantastic team of dance instructors led by Steven and Hazel Evans, of Evans School of Dance, have once again committed to training us all, which is itself a massive undertaking, and we are all grateful for their support and time.

Clive said: "We must all do what we can to help the NHS cope with the crisis. We must also look out for those who will suffer financial hardship... If you suffer hardship during this period then please let someone know and we can pull together.

"I would hate to come through this time and find out one of us was in need of help whilst the rest of us were OK and could have helped you."

This made me realise that this challenge was not just about dancing any more. It started out about supporting the charity, about supporting each other through the highs and lows of learning something new and has ended up something so much bigger.

We are now looking after each during a global crisis, united in our desire to make sure we're all OK, that we are coping and well – it is human compassion at its best.

And I'm sure I won't be the only one who is looking forward to that first practice session on our return to the dance floor.



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