• Simon O'Donovan

In The Mood For Dancing

This week's CST Friendship Group centred around dance, because 'Strictly Come Dancing' had just visited Blackpool in it's ninth week on BBC1. We started our session with introductions and some questions about the show, including who was watching it every week, who is favourite to win, has anyone visited Blackpool etc.

(* click on the above image to be taken to photos for the tables)

STRICTLY COME DANCING QUIZ Next, we went through the following questions to focus our discussion.

What Australian film inspired the show? - STRICTLY BALLROOM How many years did Bruce Forsythe host the show for? - TEN Who was the first lead judge who left the show in 2016? - LEN GOODMAN What was his favourite score? - SEVEN Who is the lead judge now? - SHIRLEY BALLAS Who are the other judges? - CRAIG REVEL HORWOOD, BRUNO TONIOLI AND MOTSI MABUSE

Who did Motsi replace this year? - DAME DARCY BUSSELL Who are the current hosts? - CLAUDIA WINKLEMAN AND TESS DALY Who is Tess Daly married to (a famous comedian)? - VERNON KAY The show moves where for the run up to the finals? - THE TOWER BALLROOM IN BLACKPOOL (We noted that Blackpool is also famous for it's illuminations.

We discussed who had visited.

Also we remembered that in 'Coronation Street' in December 1989, the character Alan Bradley got killed when he was run over by a Blackpool tram. He was kidnapping Rita Fairclough at the time!) Which politician infamously danced to the song Gangnam Style? - ED BALLS (LABOUR SHADOW HOME SECRETARY, UNDER ED MILLIBAND) Which Tory MP danced with Anton du Beke, who infamously dragged her around the dance floor in her canary yellow gown? - ANNE WIDDECOMBE Who was last year's winner (2018)? - STACEY DOOLEY (JOURNALIST AND FILM MAKER)

(She fell in love with her professional dance partner, Kevin Clifton, during the series.)

2017's champion was? - JOE MCFADDEN (OF CASUALTY FAME)

DANCE IDIOMS We then thought about some idioms associated with dance... and asked members to complete these well known phrases: Dancing in the STREETS – very happy. (MOONLIGHT also works) Footloose and fancy FREE – free from commitment. It takes two to TANGO – both parties are responsible. To be all-singing, all-DANCING – to have a range of impressive skills. To be light on one’s FEET – to be nimble. To step out of LINE – to break the rules. To dance on AIR – to be very happy. To dance to someone else’s TUNE – to comply with someone’s demands. To drag one’s HEELS – to stall for time. To land/fall on one’s FEET – to have good luck. To follow in someone’s FOOTSTEPS– to make the same choices as someone else did before. To get into a GROOVE – to get used to doing something. To get off on the wrong FOOT – to make a bad start. To give it a WHIRL – to try something out. To have two left FEET – to be clumsy or awkward. To keep one’s feet on the GROUND– to be practical and realistic about something. To keep someone on their TOES – to make sure someone is concentrating and ready for any outcome To make a song and DANCE out of something – to make a fuss about something. To put a toe out of LINE – to do something that breaks the rules. To put one’s best foot FORWARD – to begin an endeavour with effort and determination. To sweep someone off their FEET – to charm someone with romantic gestures. To think on one’s FEET – to react to unexpected events in a decisive manner. To step on someone’s TOES – to offend someone by interfering with their responsibilities. Twinkle TOES – someone who is nimble and quick footed. To strut your STUFF – to behave confidently. Walking on thin ICE - taking risks. Two left FEET - clumsy.

DANCE MOVIE POSTERS Next, we asked members to identify some of the best Dance Movies, by linking short music clips to pictures in the slides show. We also asked some questions about each movie. Here's the Spotify Playlist:

- 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' (1953)Who starred in this movie? - MARILYN MONROE AND JANE RUSSELLWho did Marilyn Monroe famously sing 'Happy Birthday' to in 1962? - JFK

- 'Jailhouse Rock' (1957)

Who starred in this movie? - ELVIS PRESLEY


Where is the biggest Elvis convention held every September? - PORTHCAWL

- 'The Full Monty' (1997)

Who starred in this movie? - ROBERT CARLYLE

What does 'going the Full Monty' mean? - STRIPPING COMPLETELY NAKED

What movie about drug taking in Glasgow did Robert Carlyle also star in? - TRAINSPOTTING

- 'Footloose' (1984)

Who starred in this movie? - KEVIN BACON

What does he advertise on TV currently? EE MOBILE PHONES

- 'Flashdance' (1983)

Who starred in this movie? - IRENE CARA

Which TV series was it associated with? - FAME

Which comedian danced as Irene Cara in a Comic Relief fundraiser last year? - ROBERT WEBB

- 'Top Hat' (1935)

Which two classic dancers starred in this movie? - FRED ASTAIRE AND GINGER ROGERS

What is formal evening dress called? - BLACK TIE

- 'Cabaret' (1972)

Who starred in this movie, and who was her mother? - LIZA MINELLI & JUDY GARLAND


- 'West Side Story' (1961)

Who starred in this movie as the star crossed lovers Tony and Maria? - RICHARD BEYMER AND NATALIE WOOD

Who wrote the musical score for this film? - LEONARD BERNSTEIN

What were the names of the two rival gangs? - JETS AND SHARKS

- 'Dirty Dancing' (1987)

Who starred in this movie? - PATRICK SWAYZE AND JENNIFER GREY

What was the classic line from this movie? - NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER

- 'Strictly Ballroom' (1992)

Has anyone seen this dance movie, on which the TV series 'Strictly Come Dancing' was loosely based?

Why were the dancers Scott and Fran (Paul Mercurio and Tata Morice) disqualified from performing at the Pan Pacific Grand Prix Dance Championship? - FOR DANCING ILLEGAL MOVES

- 'Billy Elliot' (2000)

Who starred as the young dancer and dance teacher in this film? - JAMIE BELL AND JULIE WALTERS

Who went on to score the stage show? - ELTON JOHN

- 'Saturday Night Fever' (1977)

Who starred in this movie? - JOHN TRAVOLTA

John Travolta is also a highly qualified what? - JUMBO JET PILOT

Which group performed the soundtrack? - THE BEE GEES

- 'Grease' (1978)

Who starred in this movie? - JOHN TRAVOLTA AND OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN

The rival gangs in this movie were? - TH T-BIRDS AND THE SCORPIONS (AS WELL AS THE PINK LADIES)

How much did Olivia Newton John's costume go for at auction recently? - $405,700

- 'Singing In The Rain' (1952)

Which three actors/dancers starred in this movie? - GENE KELLY, DEBBIE REYNOLDS & DON O'CONNOR

The film was about the introduction of what? - TALKING MOVIES

- 'LA LA Land' (2017)

Who starred in this movie? - RYAN GOSLING AND EMMA STONE


- 'Chicago' (2002)


Who is Catherine Zeta Jones married to? - MICHAEL DOUGLAS

- 'Moulin Rouge' (2001)

Who starred in this movie? Can members recognise them from the song? - EWAN MCGREGOR AND NICOLE KIDMAN

Where is the Moulin Rouge and what dance is danced there? - PARIS / CAN CAN

- 'A Chorus Line' (1985)

Who starred in this film, as the choreographer and director? - MICHAEL DOUGLAS

What were the dancers required to do? - AUDITION FOR THE NEW PRODUCTION

Has anyone ever auditioned for anything, or performed on a stage?

- '42ND STREET' (1933)

A classic Warner Bros depression era feel good musical comedy. Included here because the stage show is currently running.

Where is 42nd Street? - NEW YORK

The theatre show stars Bonnie Langford. How old is she now? - 55

- 'Black Swan' (2010)

Who starred in this movie? - NATALIE PORTMAN

What type of dance featured in the movie? - BALLET

Who composed 'Swan Lake', which featured in this movie? - PYOTR ILL'YCH TCHAIKOVSKY

Next, we listed some of the most popular dance styles in the world. Here is our list: - Ballet

- Tap dance - Irish dancing - Jig - Reel - Waltz - Disco - Tango - Foxtrot - Boston Two Step - Twist - Cha Cha - Samba - Charleston - Belly dancing - Daddy dancing Then we watched this brilliant 'Evolution Of Dance video, to get us in the mood for our next activity.... The Music And Dance Round. If you have time in your session, here is a You Tube Playlist of other famous dances... *

MUSIC AND DANCE ROUND NB. If you have time, by way of preparation, look up video clips of dances associated with the following songs. Those which suggest some demonstration or group dances especially. Just to familiarise yourselves with the moves. Spotify Playlist here: Strictly Come Dancing - TV Theme (By way of introduction) I'm In The Mood For Dancing - The Nolans Which sister presents 'Loose Women' on ITV? - COLEEN Making Your Mind Up - Bucks Fizz What year did Bucks Fizz win Eurovision with this song and their famous ripping skirts off dance? - 1981 Another question is how do you make Bucks Fizz? - CHAMPAGNE AND ORANGE JUICE I Wanna Dance With Somebody - Whitney Houston Her most famous song, 'I will Always Love You', was from which 1992 film starring her and Kevin Costner? - THE BODYGUARD Flashdance - Irene Cara Which 1980 film about dancing and the performing arts did Irene Cara star in? - FAME Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees Name the Gibb brothers? - BARRY GIBB AND TWINS ROBIN AND MAURICE I Love To Boogie - Marc Bolan Which actress danced to this song with Jamie Bell in the film 'Billy Elliot? - JULIE WALTERS Let's Dance - David Bowie What was David Bowie's nickname? - THIN WHITE DUKE Lionel Richie - Dancing On The Ceiling In another of his hit singles, how many times a lady did Lionel love? - THREE TIMES A LADY (WITH THE COMMODORES) Billy Jean - Michael Jackson Michael Jackson's ranch was called? - NEVERLAND (After Peter Pan.) In the first of our demonstration dances, would anyone care to dance 'The Moonwalk'? (Facilitators should step in if members aren't forthcoming.) YMCA - The Village People What were the costumes The Village People wore? - COWBOY, COP, CONSTRUCTION WORKER, AMERICAN INDIAN, G.I. SOLDIER & LEATHERMAN (Have members either stand or sit and dance the YMCA moves.) (I've Had) The Time Of My Life - Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes What film did Patrick Swayze star in with Demi Moore? - GHOST Singing In The Rain - Gene Kelly Gene Kelly, who had a high temperature as a result of the flu when he danced this routine in the movie, also starred in which 1952 Oscar winning dance movie? - AN AMERICAN IN PARIS The Blue Danube - Johann Strauss What type of dance is this music associated with? - WALTZ (Try and get everyone up dancing the waltz. It's just for fun!) Nutcracker Suite - Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky And this dance? - BALLET What was the 1948 film about ballet by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger based on the fable by Hans Christian Anderson? - THE RED SHOES Cotton Eyed Joe - Cotton Eyed Joe What dance is this song associated with? - LINE DANCING OR BARN DANCING (Again, try and get members up line dancing, or have a facilitator demonstrate this dance.) Let's Twist Again - Chubby Checker What year was this song a hit? - 1961 (Again, time for a dance if anyone has the energy!) Blue Suede Shoes - Elvis Presley Before playing this song, what were One, Two and Three for? - ONE FOR THE MONEY, TWO FOR THE SHOW, THREE FOR GET READY NOW GO, CAT, GO Can Can - Jacques Offenbach Which place in Paris is this piece of classical music associated with? - THE MOULIN ROUGE (Ask a facilitator to demonstrate the leg kicking and skirt lifting associated with this dance.) Hokey Cokey - Black Lace How many times do you put your left hand in before turning around? - THREE (This is a great song for the group to dance in a circle.) Macarena - Los Del Rio What nationality is this song/language sung in? - SPANISH (The arm movements to this song are quite easy and can be done whilst sitting.) Do The Conga - Black Lace The Conga Line Dance comes from which country, where Fidel Castro was Prime Minister? - CUBA (Again, try and get those members who are able up and dancing a conga line.) Superman - Black Lace (Ask members to follow the instructions in this song...) What was Superman's real name? - CLARKE KENT Timewarp - The Rocky Horror Show (Again, the movements to this song are well known, but a demonstration by facilitators may be in hand.) Who was The Scientist in this film? - DR FRANKENFURTER PLAYED BY TIM CURRY Dancing Queen - ABBA Which album was this song taken from? - ARRIVAL (Apparently, HM Queen always dances when this song comes on at any event. She likes dancing and after all she is the Queen!) * We next had some well deserved refreshments and a rest... Much enjoyment was had with the dancing. This happiness carried over into the next session which was ... *

PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT We reminded ourselves of Bruce Forsythe's role in 'Strictly Come Dancing' as well as his other hit shows, which included: - Sunday Night at the London Palladium - The Generation Game - Play Your Cards Right - The Price Is Right, and - You Bet! - He alao co-presented Strictly Come Dancing from 2004 to 2013. Brucie's catchphrases included: - The Thinker pose. (Ask someone to demonstrate.) - “Nice to see you, to see you nice”, Generation Game - “Keeeeep dancing!”, Strictly Come Dancing - “Oh, wasn’t that a shame”, The Price Is Right - “All right my loves?”, The Generation Game - “Give us a twirl!”, said to Anthea Redfern - “You don’t get anything for a pair”, Play Your Cards Right - “What do points make? Prizes!”, Play Your Cards Right - “Cuddly toy, cuddly toy!”, Generation Game. *

ACTIVITY Play Your Cards Right - An example of how to play is to be found here - (Use large play cards if possible. And have a prize on hand.) * As usual we finished with a Relaxation Session. Members were pretty tired by now, so this was well received.

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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