‘Let’s dance’ as city gears up for Grand Vintage Ball

Dance tutor, Kathleen Cummings helps Michael and Katherine  during dance lessons. (1104SL33
Dance tutor, Kathleen Cummings helps Michael and Katherine during dance lessons. (1104SL33

He may not be Fred Astaire but Waterside man Michael Gormley has embraced Derry’s City of Culture year and is learning how to dance.

Michael, 60, is a retired health service manager and his wife, Catherine, 59, is a retired school teacher.

The couple have been attending dance classes at U3A in Gransha Park for the last five weeks. They are preparing to take to the dance floor during the Grand Vintage Ball which is to be held in The Venue 2013 at Ebrington on Saturday, May 4.

“When myself and Catherine heard the news that Derry was to be awarded the title of City of Culture we decided we would use it as an opportunity to get out of our comfort zone and try new things,” said Michael.

“We’ve been going to concerts, plays and other such events since January and I have to say that so far, the City of Culture has been absolutely tremendous so far.”

When it comes to dancing both Michael and Catherine are complete novices but with the help of dance teachers David and Kathleen Cummings they have improved on their cha, cha, cha and their foxtrot is impressive.

“I can’t speak highly enough of David and Kathleen,” said Michael.

“Myself and Catherine would not be the most graceful of dancers so they have had their work cut out for them.

“But seriously, David and Kathleen are great. Some people think it’s easy to practice something like dancing at home but it’s tough when you don’t have David and Kathleen there to keep you right. They really know what they are doing and without them we wouldn’t be able to dance at all.”

Michael and Catherine have been members of the U3A (University of the Third Age) for five years and it was through their membership they heard of the dance classes and decided to give it a try.

“Myself and Catherine wanted to give as many new things a go this year and as it happens, dancing is one of them.

“Not only is it great fun but the weekly classes give us a chance to stay active and get some exercise.

“Some people might not think dancing is all that strenuous but believe you me when you spend two hours moving about a dance floor you can’t help but be anything but tired when you get home,” he laughed.

The Venue 2013 in Ebrington will host the Grand Vintage Ball on Saturday May 4. It’s an opportunity for people to revisit the music, styles, trends and fashions of the 1920s right through to the 1960s.

Music at the ball comes courtesy of The Puppini Sisters, a band who have become synonymous with the intoxicating mix of music and style they call Swing-Pop.

Dressed in matching attire, the trio sing in close harmony, combining their own arrangements of classics from the 30s to the 50s, jazzy reinventions of rock hits, and self-penned original songs.

Support on the night is from The Rumble Club DJs and the Eternally Honourable Councillor.

For ticket information visit www.cityofculture2013.com. Tickets cost £19.50.