Mention dance to some and they shy away. Why? It is great fun, joyous even, and a good way to meet people. Scientists say it is one of the best activities to enhance your emotional mood and cognitive abilities as well as the physical1. Imagine! Dance can be just as good and perhaps better than doing sudokus and crosswords in slowing the decline in mental abilities!

“People are born to move. People are born to move rhythmically” says Dr Peter Lovatt of the University of Hertfordshire. So, what is holding some people back from doing what comes naturally? Especially when it is so good for us?

It is true we are not all blessed with the same degree of musical coordination but there is certainly a massive interest in dance. Do we have secret aspirations? We may never get close to the expertise of Fred or Ginger but we watch “Strictly”. We go to see flamenco; samba; tango; ballet; African; Russian; Greek; Irish and Scottish dancing-perhaps joining in when encouraged, especially when relaxed or on holiday. And we enjoy it! But there is no need to go very far to get the benefits and fun of dancing, or to be embarrassed by any self-perceived inadequacies on the dance floor. England has a rich heritage of “folk”- or “country”- dance which is easily accessible, easy to learn and very “do-able” by the vast majority.

Various forms of English folk dance have been danced for centuries in villages, in large country houses and at Court. From Jane Austen-esque balls to barn dances, we have all seen some form of the dance at some stage, surely? And you can try English folk dancing at a dance club near you in Dulwich Village which does not expect you to be expert, welcomes adults of all ages, singles and couples, and shows you how to do each dance.

The Dulwich Folk Dance Club meets at 8pm on Thursday evenings in St Barnabas Parish Hall, Gilkes Place. It is a well established and friendly, inclusive club. A variety of experienced “Callers” teach each dance and then guide you while you dance them, making for a very satisfying result. Just see the joyful smiles all around (and hear the laughter when it “goes wrong”)! Age is no barrier as attendees range over numerous decades (eight, actually, not that you would realise that from the fabulous dancing) and all join in happily. So, what are you waiting for?

If you want to know more, feel free to contact Wendy on 020 8769 9832 or John on 020 8693 2873. Or, if you prefer emailing, contact John on

To steal the “Strictly” catch phrase……”Keep Dancing!”

Maura Keane
Dulwich Folk Dance Club

Note 1:1  Joe  Verghese  at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY