“Definitely do it, honestly, because nobody could be more nervous or shaky about it than I was. Even if you just try one lesson, you’ve got nothing to lose but so much to gain”
Sarah runs Shieldhall, a guesthouse near Wallington Hall. Set on 10 acres of beautiful Northumberland countryside, Shieldhall is where she grew up and where she now lives with her own family.
As a child Sarah did Ballet and Scottish Country dancing but was made to feel like she couldn’t dance. However, the feeling of wanting to dance never left her and so, in her 30’s she decided to start learning again.
It was quite simply a love of Swing dancing and music that drew Sarah to Lindy Jazz but on the first night she came to class, she hid in the car park and didn’t come in as she thought everyone looked too good. That same night, she sent Joo-Lee a text and they arranged a private lesson.
After one private lesson Sarah was hooked,“it was like you had a little taste of what you could achieve. It made me think, maybe I’ve got the potential to learn to dance when all those years I thought I couldn’t”. Her best memory is dancing with Joo-Lee and “thinking, I got around the room, that feeling that I’m dancing!”
The most unexpected thing for Sarah has been the emotional side of learning to dance. She expected it to be a physical experience but at times has been in fits of giggles or tears, and felt both incredibly happy and sad. “It kind of affects all of you. It’s been revealing about myself, my personality, my confidence, my weaknesses and my strengths”.
During private lessons we talked a lot about Sarah’s fears of not belonging and standing out, “often what stops me from dancing is what I think. It’s not my feet, it’s my own fears and anxieties”. Despite it often being overwhelming and difficult, Sarah now feels she has “accepted the fear” and can “choose to override it” and enjoy herself.
After being told she had no rhythm as a child, Sarah thought it was something she couldn’t learn, that people had natural rhythm and could just dance, or not dance. Now she thinks it’s about self-belief and that, with patience and a good teacher you can find your own rhythm and enjoy dancing.