‘Dancing’ in South Africa took on a whole new dimension when I moved here from the UK. When we first met, my wife told me that she loved to dance; my first thought (being from the UK) was that this was the type of dancing one would do in a nightclub to either a current chart number, or cheesy 70/80/90s tune. In South Africa, this type of non-structured arm flailing is termed ‘loose dancing’, whilst ‘social’ dancing is the more refined, ballroom-type affair, which includes yet another popular South African past-time, the langarm; known affectionately as ‘windsurfing’.
Ballroom or ‘grab-a-partner’ dancing in the UK is something which is usually reserved for ‘other people’, and by this I mean not involving oneself, i.e. celebrities on shows such as ‘Dancing with the Stars’, or children with parents who make them attend dance classes so that they can either pursue a unfulfilled dream through their kids, or take up a ‘hobby by association’. Here in South Africa couples dancing is viewed in a completely different light. The majority of youngsters know how to ‘langarm’ and have grown up being able to dance, from early-on in their childhood years and through attending high-school proms, weddings etc. Continue reading