Saturday night/Arafura fever

Humans have been dancing around campfires, in ceremonies, to select a mate, to bond socially or just to have fun for a long time now. In the right environment, there’s something immensely joyful and satisfying about moving in rhythm to music. Dancers have been found to have higher levels of serotonin, a natural mood booster, so you’re not imagining that high when you’re having a good time on the dance floor.

The YouTube clip below is how I imagined the characters in Arafura dancing at the Deckchair Cinema in the fundraising scene (except there’d be a lot more sexual tension, of course!)

Demonstration of Lambada steps – 

Not everyone likes dancing, though. I’ve never been a great dancer (see previous blog, I’m just a dancing pachyderm) but have always enjoyed it once I get my ‘dance confidence’. This elusive quality usually appears after alcohol, if the music is loud and I like it, and/or if I have recently loosened my hips at Sh’bam classes.

Sh'Bam 1

Photo credit:

Some Friday afternoons in primary school we performed the progressive barn dance to the faintly suggestive and vaudeville tones of “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts.” I remember not wanting to touch some boys in my class. There was one boy in particular – the teacher made him leave the classroom whenever he farted, the stink was so putrid. When he was my partner, I’d pluck at this poor boy’s shirt with my thumb and pointer finger, afraid I’d catch something. The feeling was mutual. Definitely no surging levels of serotonin there.

But of course hormones kicked in and by the time I was fifteen I’d convinced a girlfriend to attend ballroom dancing classes with me at the local youth RSL. The class was a mixed bunch including a few young women, a (sought after) male high school teacher, a few older couples who had numerous dancing trophies under their belts, and a pimply boy I had a crush on. My girlfriend and I usually had to take turns being ‘the boy’. Sometimes the instructor would grab one of us to demonstrate a dance to the class. He was shorter than me and going bald. I remember strong after-shave and a beer belly as taut as a pregnant woman’s pressed against my own as he expertly spun and twisted me around the dance floor. Under his expert instruction, my feet and legs glided in perfect sync (even though I couldn’t see them).

Last night my husband and two sisters-in-law visited a local club. My brother-in-law plays in Topshelf, a five-piece rock covers band that has been around the Canberra music scene for a while now. I don’t get to see them play as often as I’d like, with the busyness of life.  As they say on their website – Topshelf isn’t just another band that plays music you can’t dance to. Their music ranges from the ‘60s to current chart busters, offering a full rock sound that pulls you out of your seat.

Topshelf 1

                                          Photo credit:

I love the way dancers from all generations mingle on the dance floor, doing their own thing when Topshelf perform. My husband certainly did his own thing, part Peter Garret, part Mick Jagger, part praying mantis (always rushes me straight back to the heady days of university formals). We all had a great time, as usual.

My share for today? In my bravest dreams I’d have a book launch for Arafura in the form of a Sh’Bam class, like the dance class scene in the novel, only with Topshelf playing live music, and my two favourite Sh’bam instructors helping everyone get their dance groove. It’s the teacher in me coming out with crazy ideas. Mix that with flowing champagne and Topshelf then continuing to play the songs in the book from INXS, Hunters and Collectors and Eurythmics. The atmosphere would be incredible. Forget coconuts, forget pimply boys, find your own inner Mick Jagger in an unforgettable Sh’bam a-thon.

But wait, that’s thinking too small! In my wildest, most courageous dreams, Topshelf would be the band in the Mindil Beach markets scene of Arafura THE MOVIE, when Kat and Adam dance to ‘Fire’ from the Pointer Sisters. Not many musicians could meet my high expectations for this, but when a band plays Eagle Rock better than the original? Topshelf certainly deserves a little more attention in the spotlight, that’s for sure. Check out their gig guide to see where you can catch them.

What are your thoughts or memories about dancing?

This entry was posted in Arafura, dancing, Darwin Deckchair Cinema, Hunters and Collectors, INXS, Pointer Sisters, Sh'bam, Topshelf and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Saturday night/Arafura fever

  1. Lee-Anne says:

    I’ll be there at your Sh’Bam launch wearing my best dancing shoes! You’re right about dancing – it’s one of the oldest conduits of romance and sexual tension. I remember the scene in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ when Lizzy Bennet and Mr Darcy have that first dance…underneath the veneer of hostility the air crackles with sublimated hormones!

  2. Yay, thanks Lee-Anne! That’s so true about that scene in ‘Pride and Prejudice’, both the BBC and Keira Knightley version. I like the dancing scene in ‘Witness’ too. Back to the less can be more argument…..

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