Founded 1984

The Old Time Dance Society held its Spring Weekend event on the Isle of Wight, (an island just off the southernmost part of the British Isles) from 23rd to 26th March 2012. The venue was the beautifully appointed Trouville Hotel, situated in Sandown on the southern side of the island right on the sea front with excellent beaches and views over the Solent, close to the Victorian Pier and very close to a wonderful array of shops all selling STUFF!! The dancers, many of whom had long journeys, some from the very North of England set off in the early hours of Friday morning, picking up friends and colleagues to make the long journey south to Portsmouth where the car ferry was waiting to make the short sea crossing to the Island. The event’s organiser – Paul Harding was one of the first to arrive at the Hotel early Friday morning and with his team of helpers, very quickly made all of the necessary arrangements to ensure that everything was in place for an excellent Old Time Weekend.

It has to be said that taking any kind of holiday in England in March has never been the wisest thing to do, as it is almost law that the sky will darken, the wind will reach gale force 9, and the Met Office will issue severe weather warnings of Snow, Ice and Flash Floods - BUT hey it has become very noticeable that in recent years, (certainly for the Old Time Society) things have become very different! From the moment we arrived, the sky cleared, the sun shone and we all basked in a mini heat wave, so much so that many Ladies had not brought with them, suitable clothing for such hot weather, so were forced to go out shopping to purchase more suitable attire. Having wiped away tears of disappointment and braced themselves with a stiff upper lip & steely determination – typical and characteristic of their kind they overcome all obstacles and disappointments and rose to the task magnificently and went shopping, along with the sturdy and solid support of their menfolk. Well done Ladies! You did us proud.

With more than 100 dancers in attendance, the Friday evening got off to a great start with our first night guest dance leaders and M.C’s being Pete & Pat Jephson from Luton giving a faultless performance. Directly behind them was our Musical Director for the weekend Mr David Ingley, a superb musician with one of the best repertoires of old time music in the business. This year being Diamond Jubilee Year – 60 years since H M Queen Elizabeth succeeded to the throne, what better way to start the Ball than with a dance specially written and arranged to commemorate this occasion 60 years ago by the great Sydney Thompson “Waltz for the Queen” With a packed dance floor for every dance including 8 sets for the Quadrilles, it was good to see some of the old favourites from the 1950’s such as Stroll along Saunter, Camellia Tango and the Harry Lime Foxtrot with Pete Jephson bearing an uncanny resemblance to Orson Wells who starred in the classic film “The Third Man”

On Saturday morning by request a teaching session was arranged to brush up on some older dances. Firstly Mike & Pat Cooper taught the ‘Royal Windsor Waltz’ in readiness for the Ball of the Year in May, followed by David & Wendy Griffiths teaching the ‘Ascot Gavotte’ which was on the programme on the Spring Weekend and ladies were reminded that all things ‘Ascot’ necessitate them wearing a “Hat” for the Sunday Evening.

The Saturday evening guest leaders were Richard Purcell & Joyce Hutchins from Surrey, with an excellent and varied programme of dances. Again everyone wanted to dance every dance and this time 7 sets up for the Lancers – another great evening. By midnight some of the dancers felt that the only way to cool and re-juvenate their aching feet was to go for a paddle in the sea – bearing in mind in less than 2 hours British Summer Time was to begin (officially) with the clocks moving forward by 1 hour.

Sunday Morning dawned into another beautiful day and it was very noticeable at breakfast who had forgotten their clocks & watches (I’m sure you all know who you are!) Being another perfect day, what better way to spend it than with a sightseeing trip round this beautiful Island and fortunately – a coach trip had been arranged by the Internationally renowned travel company “Pink Windmill Tours” and with one of its chief executives on board as our tour guide “Hazel Harding” a visit was made to the spectacular ‘Osborne House’ the seaside home of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert.

Our last evening, Sunday leaders and M.C’s were David & Wendy Griffiths with a dance programme designed to take into account the tired and aching feet of the dancers after 3 very long days and nights. One of the highlights was the ladies hat parade for the ‘Ascot Gavotte’ and once again David Ingley rose to the occasion with superb music to compliment the parade. Just before the Ascot Gavotte began, a Horse or was it a Donkey? Presumably from the Ascot racecourse galloped across the ballroom floor. All attempts to catch the creature (which clearly hadn’t been house trained) failed and it was last seen heading for LUTON!!)

During the course of the evening a special presentation of a beautiful bouquet of flowers was made to our Events Organiser and his wife Paul & Hazel Harding from all the dancers and committee in recognition of all the hard work in making the whole Spring Weekend such a happy and successful event.

So the last night came to an end with the singing of the National Anthem followed by a flag waving finale around the Ballroom with “Land of Hope & Glory”. A very big Thank You and Well done to everyone who contributed in making this such a happy and memorable weekend.

Report of Spring Weekend IOW 2012

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