Thursday 19 September 2019

Social dancing in Greystones

Emma Swan, Nora Behan, Anne Byrne, Mary Murphy and Pauline Healy
Emma Swan, Nora Behan, Anne Byrne, Mary Murphy and Pauline Healy

Mary Fogarty

Every Sunday evening in Greystones a group of dancers take a turn around the floor at Greystones Rugby Club, with the old-time waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha and more delivered with finesse.

The social dancing has taken place each weekend at the venue for more than 20 years, with a small group of volunteers arranging the non-profit event.

Frances O'Leary, who was formerly a main organiser and now helps out occasionally along with her husband Pat, said that there are many benefits to dancing, including the social aspect and, of course, exercise.

'Any doctor, when you say you do the dancing, will immediately say "oh keep that up" as it's such great exercise,' she said. 'You don't even realise you're exercising as it's so much fun,' she said. 'Not like having to go jogging or something like that!'

'We've always danced all our lives,' said Frances. She said that some decades ago, people going to dances would have picked it up and it was quite common to know how to dance.

The group uses four different bands for the accompaniment, and they rotate over the weeks, getting people up for the polka, the quick step, jive, rock and roll, some sequence dancing and more.

'It's more like a family now, we're all together so long, said Frances. 'We all know each other.'

They go to Kilkenny each November and some weekends join their Wexford peers in the Ashdown Park Hotel in Gorey, where a thriving dancing scene operates.

Frances hopes that with programmes such as Dancing with the Stars, younger people will take it up and get to enjoy the dance-floor.

'Once we're able to keep going, we'll keep dancing,' said Frances.

Bray People