We've spotted some pretty cringe-worthy moves on Dubai dancefloors
Not everyone likes to strut their stuff in a nightclub, but this week Sarah Riches is in the mood for a boogie – even if it means chucking out shapes like your dad.
Last weekend, I was in a nightclub when I saw a man doing backstroke on the podium. I kid you not. Frowning in concentration, arms straight, he was swinging his arms faster and faster behind him as if he was limbering up for the Olympic 100m.
Seriously, what made him think that move was OK? Did he really think it would impress the ladies? Someone, at some time, must have told him that impersonating a windmill in a 30-knot gale was a cool dance move. Sweat billowing from his armpits, the man was oblivious as the ever-growing crowd stood behind him – albeit at a safe distance – smirking at his twerking.
It got me thinking about all the bad dancing I’ve been subjected to over the years. I’ve had my toes stood on by Michael Jackson wannabes, my face slapped by an overly enthusiastic clubber attempting the ‘chopping carrots’ move, and been flung off my feet in a ceilidh by a dance partner who appeared to be auditioning for the hammer throw in the Scottish Highland Games. I’ve even been dropped, although I suppose that was partly my fault for attempting that Dirty Dancing scene at the end of a big night, without formal training.
Now, I’m no Beyoncé. I can’t shake it like I’m Crazy In Love and I’ll never Waka Waka like Shakira, but at least I know my limits.
Still, in an attempt to improve my moves, over the years I’ve taken classes in tap dancing, Bollywood, hip-hop and street.
In my heyday I mastered Michael Flatley’s Riverdance, the StreetDance finale and caught rain drops and twisted lightbulbs like any self-respecting Bollywood star. But like any skill, if you don’t use it, you lose it – so I recently signed up for a belly dancing class.
The basic move, the shimmy, starts off simply enough. Legs together, you stand upright, bend one knee then straighten it then do the same with the other. Gradually you get faster and faster until your whole body is trembling.
Practising in the safety of my home, I whacked on some music at full blast. I rolled my ribs, circled my hips, shook my shoulders and shimmied. Lost in the music, I closed my eyes and let go, jerking my legs this way and that until I collapsed.
I barely noticed the music coming to the end and I certainly didn’t hear the door open.
‘My God, what’s wrong?’ gasped my housemate, as I writhed on the floor. ‘Nothing’s wrong,’ I replied, sitting up. ‘I thought you’d been electrocuted,’ she said, frowning at the nearest plug socket with concern.
I thought you’d been electrocuted. Those words cut me like a knife. Who was I trying to kid? I was no Beyoncé. I was Uncle Dave at your cousin’s wedding. I was the backstroke man on the podium.
But you know what? My moves made me feel like I was dancing on air, so who cares. Bad dancing – or dad dancing – is the best.
Sarah Riches is a Time Out deputy editor. She’s got the moves like Jagger.