Welcome To the OLD TIME DANCE SOCIETY

Founded 1984

Autumn Weekend  Weymouth

Sea, Sand and Crumble – The Old Time Dance Society’s Autumn Weekend and AGM – Nigel Carter with help from Michelle Boddy

The Autumn Weekend and AGM was held this year in Weymouth at the imposingly fronted Prince Regent Hotel.  The hotel was situated on the seafront opposite the old pier which no longer extends out to sea.  

The weather for the weekend was mild and dry with sunny periods on the Sunday.

Thursday:  Some of us arrived early for the event and were treated by the hotel to an evening of bingo, quizzes and a singing duo who were very good.  June and Ron were the only ones with the special bingo pens (dabbers) but they failed to win despite this.  Some of the bingo calls were a little strange such as “83 wobbly wee”.  We also failed miserably with the quiz.   We fared better with the dancing to the duo and we participated in Tango Serida, Rumba One, Caribbean Calypso and Saunter Together along with a little ballroom and line dancing.

Friday:  Arrival day for most of the attendees coming from all corners of the UK.  Parking was tight however the hotel employed a traffic attendant to park everyone in the available space.

Following a pleasant dinner, we were coached to the Weymouth Pavilion, in our finery, where the weekend’s dancing was to take place. The Pavilion housed a magnificent ballroom which was easy to dance old time in having a well sprung floor although it was a little too fast in places.

Our MCs and Leaders for the night were Paul & Hazel Harding who got the weekend off to a great start creating a relaxed friendly atmosphere.  Our musician for the whole weekend was the excellent Philip Randles who played some great music including many of the original tunes as well as for the set dances.

Hazel called the set dance which was the Quadrilles with all sets dancing with precision (well near enough).  The Leaders’ Dances were the Alison Waltz and the Avon Foxtrot.  “Valuable” spot prizes were awarded for the progressive dance, the Mayfair Quickstep.  The ladies wore their fascinators for the Ascot Gavotte however Ron took fascinators to a whole new level by wearing a horse’s head.  The evening finished with the Chester Waltz.

It was an excellent first evening thanks to Paul, Hazel and Philip although by the time we got back to the hotel the bar was closed - disaster!

Saturday:  Awoke to another dry day.  After a good breakfast, everyone congregated in the hotel’s ballroom for the Annual General Meeting.  Unfortunately, our Press Secretary, Sue Hamm, was unable to be present for the weekend due to family illness.  At the meeting June and Ron retired with sadness from the Committee having been on the Committee for 13 and 11 years respectively.  They were going to retire last year but stayed on an extra year to provide stability to the Committee following the events of the previous year.  A vote of thanks was given to them by all present for their fantastic efforts on behalf of the Society.  Ron is remaining as a Director and June as the Secretary to the Directors.  Three new members were welcomed to the Committee:  Alan Grohs and Christine and Robert Haywood. The AGM itself proceeded smoothly apart from the odd ripple and will be reported in full elsewhere.  Only one motion had been submitted for the main meeting and this wasn’t carried.  A proposal to add AOB to the Agenda of future AGMs was approved by those present.

After the AGM everyone scattered to explore the sights, shops and sandy beaches of Weymouth or further afield such as:  Abbotsbury Gardens, Sea Life, Marinas, Chesil Beach.  There were lovely walks and of course the customary ice cream or two.  Further afield destinations were reached with the aid of a bus pass.  Unfortunately, Hazel still does not qualify for one (as she tells us regularly) so she had to walk.

Dinner was enhanced by the choice of Crumble for dessert.  The hotel staff were bemused by the OTDS breaking into a rendition of the “Crumble Song” to the tune “Land of Hope and Glory”.

 Our MCs for the evening’s dancing were our Chairman and his wife: Grahame and Bernice.  Philip Randles again provided the excellent music.  Dancing commenced with the Regis Waltz.  The Committee led of the Edwardian Gavotte and the Leaders/Area Reps dance was the Ragtime Swing.  All the dances were old and included the Quaker Waltz for which the script was provided in the last Newsletter.

An excellent raffle was held with tickets sold by Area Reps, Dianne and Anne, which raised £160.  Grahame and Bernice aided by Philip again generated an excellent atmosphere for the evening.

On arrival back to the hotel we were informed the bar would stay open as long as we liked so a large group of us retired to the bar and discussed in depth the finer points of the footwork associated with some of the weekend’s dances with demonstrations by Grahame.  We had an extra hour as the clocks went back.

Sunday:  Awoke to bright sunshine and seagulls squawking as they hadn’t wound their clocks back.  Another day of exploring the sights of Weymouth.  Two hardy female members of our merry group went swimming in the sea.  The day was spent by the majority wandering around the hot spots of Weymouth.  A group of us wandered down to the harbour where whilst having coffee sitting outside a pub we were treated to the sight of the road bridge being raised to allow boats through.  We also stumbled across the Oxford contingent wandering aimlessly trying to solve their last clue of their treasure hunt which was quickly solved for them.

The MCs for the evening’s dancing were Ron and June who did an excellent job maintaining the weekend’s relaxed and friendly atmosphere with their humour, programme and excellent leading.  They included on the programme one or two of the lesser known dances such as the Jazz Twinkle along with the more popular dances such as the Doris Waltz and Empress Mazurka.  It was the first time I had seen the Jazz Twinkle or danced it which I enjoyed.  Having a variety of dances on the programme helps preserve the lesser known ones.  Due to a dress malfunction the second half started with a Mrs Brown partnering June in the Progressive Quadrilles.  I felt that Mrs Brown’s attire was not in keeping with the evenings dress code.  Fortunately, Ron returned for the second dance of the second half.

Grahame and Michelle presented Ron and June with a clock on behalf of the OTDS as an expression of gratitude for all they had done for the Society.

The Leaders’ dances were the Jazz Twinkle and the Carolina Saunter.  The evening finished with the Leaders, Committee and Area Reps dancing Valse Martine.  Philip Randles again excelled himself with great music.

Monday:  We all departed for our various homes.  The dancing and atmosphere is dependent on the MCs and the musician and we were very lucky in both respects for this weekend and they are to be thanked for their efforts in making the weekend a success.  The Weymouth weekend was indeed a resounding success with friends from both north, south east and west all getting together to renew acquaintances and indulge in a potpourri of Old Time Dancing delight.   Bernice, the Events Secretary is to be congratulated in all her hard work behind the scenes to make the weekend a success.