BY KATHLEEN DALY
Love blossomed on the dance floor at Petersham’s Town Hall in Baz Luhrmann’s 1992 film Strictly Ballroom.
But ballroom dancing – and love – weren’t new to the auditorium. My own parents met there in 1953 and sparks flew. And more than 50 years later community dancing during the week continues.
On an autumn evening recently, to the sounds of Norah Jones singing Come Away with Me, couples glide across the floor; bodies entwined, skirts twirling and dancers dipping. Everyone shining from the therapeutic effects of soothing music and flowing movement.
It was just as my mother had said. She frequently rehearsed accounts of her attendance at Petersham Town Hall with her girlfriends. With a girlish blush she would relive the moment when she and my father met. Mum was literally swept off her feet. Dad was particularly dashing, arriving in the latest 1949 TC MG sports car which was “oh, so black and shiny’’.
Bobby now runs community dancing on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings, with Modern, Latin and Australian New Vogue styles.
Professional teacher Paul grew up dancing – both parents were dance teachers. He came to Australia 16 years ago and has been dancing at Petersham Town Hall for 10 years. He’s danced all around Australia and comments on how “nice and big’’ the dance floor is at Petersham, with its “nice sprung floor’’.
His competition dancing partner Patsy got into ballroom when she started research into the advantages of dancing as part of psychology research. She found a new life as a Pro-Am competitor.
“We’re very experienced together,’’ says Paul.
“Like an old married couple,’’ she quips.