Sunday 17 December 2017

Dancing her way through life

Dancing is the most natural thing we can do and 64-year-old grandmother Mary Lynch from Swords, Co. Dublin can’t remember a time when she didn’t do it. She’s been dancing all her life.

Some people have passion. They love what they do and it shows. Mary Lynch from Swords County Dublin has been dancing all her life. Now at a stage in life when people usually start to slow down, she’s still dancing any chance she gets.

Dancing is probably the most natural thing we can do and Mary can barely remember a time when she didn’t do it. She’s been dancing all her life. “A day without dancing is a day lost,” says Mary sitting in a sun-drenched conservatory in her beautiful home in Swords. “It keeps me fit and feeling young, I’m dancing four days a week. It’s just what I do, I never think ‘oh no, now I have to go dancing, it’s not like the gym or running, I can’t wait to get to the studio”.

Her love of dancing can be traced back to her early years in Dublin’s inner city. Mary is a true ‘Dub’ born to a city that no longer exists, she played in and around the d’Olier street area, she swung from rope swings hung from lampposts, a street culture that has all but disappeared. But it was the old Theatre Royal on Hawkins Street, where The Screen cinema now stands that perhaps inspired her love of dance.

“First of all that building should never have been pulled down and all of Dublin should be ashamed,” she says. “The back entrance of the Theatre Royal backed onto the street where I lived, Townsend Street and that way we were able to sneak in. I remember sitting in the dark one day looking at the dancers, the Royalettes rehearsing. They were show girls and were kicking their legs in the air. Maybe that was the start of it for me,” Mary recalls.

“Ballet was the first thing,” Mary says. “After that there was Irish dancing, and the next thing I remember was disco dancing and roller skating, I would have been married with kids then. Then line dancing came in, Country and Western… I danced in competitions with that, I danced all over the world with line dancing,” says Mary about all the different styles her dancing has encompassed.

“Now it’s ballroom dancing that I love.” Why? “Oh the glamour” she responds immediately. “The glitz and the glamour, I love the costumes, of both the men and the women, the movement, I just love. It’s a close hold with your partner in ballroom. Recently I’ve gotten into Latin dancing, which is great. In Latin you’re always facing your partner”.

There is a misconception out there that some people just can’t dance. There are people who won’t dance rather than can’t dance. Mary shakes her head when I mention ‘two left feet’. “There’s no such thing,” she says.

“If you can walk you can dance. There’s no such thing as someone who can’t dance. You look at a baby, when music comes on they’ll move with the music, it’s an in built beat that we all have. Dancing is only putting one foot in front of the other. When you put music on children automatically know which style of dance.

Mary’s dance partner and teacher Noel of Dance Addiction studios in Blanchardstown is another who has been dancing since he was six years old. He breaks the mould somewhat in that he’s also a painter/decorator and to look at him you would never expect that he was into ballroom dancing. However when we see him on the floor with Mary, he is transformed. His movement is fluid, sure and graceful and the two make an incredible pair to watch.

It’s just refreshing to see two people following their passion. We live in a cynical age, so much so, that young people often feel they can’t get up on the dance floor without a few drinks. But Mary and Noel are fearless, they dance for themselves and couldn’t care less. That is admirable and more, it’s an inspiration.

“I couldn’t not do it. Even if I’m in the supermarket and the music comes on, part of me will be dancing,” says Mary. “I am what I am. The older I get, the less I care what anyone thinks. As long as my heart is beating, I’ll be dancing”.

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