Taking part in Dance City’s Inspire Festival was an appropriate step for over-55s movement class Monday Movers to take. The group’s story has been inspirational from its inception during the first lockdown of 2020. It began as a Zoom class intended to reduce isolation and encourage fitness during that uncertain period of time. When the Hippodrome opened its doors again, the group made it their new home, led by tutor and professional choreographer Debbie Harbin.

Since then, the Monday Movers have been able to share their hard work with our Youth Dance classes as part of a joint sharing performance, after which several of the Movers asked “When can we do that again?”

That chance came on Sunday 30th January, when Debbie and I accompanied the group to Dance City Newcastle to take part in the Inspire Festival, a celebration of aging and dance. Our initial plan to take the train as it would get us to Newcastle faster was derailed (pun intended) by having to go by Rail Replacement Bus, but this did make for something of an adventure as we got a bit of a sing-song going on the way back later in the day!

The first port of call was the café prior to heading into the technical rehearsal, in which the dancers got to run through their routine to Liza Minelli’s “Life is a Cabaret” on stage with lights and sound. Back to the café (once more with feeling!) for tea and cake whilst we waited for the dress rehearsal.

When the time came, we got to watch the other groups performing as part of the festival, all comprised of people over the age of 55. There was a dazzling variety on display from an energetic tap routine to an aerial dance display featuring hoops and aerial silks. Throughout there was a keynote of the sheer joy of movement.

Once the performance got underway, the dancers were marshalled by the friendly team from Dance City to the side of the stage to open the show as the first live act. The sheer excitement meant that the time passed extremely quickly, and before we knew it, we were on our way back to Darlington.

“So, what’s next?”

Debbie casually mentioned hoops and aerial silks, so watch this space!