Sunday, 17 May 2009

Viking Ball

Last night we went to what has become known as the Viking Ball. Organised by the Shetland Society of Wellington, the Viking Ball is an annual event which has been running for 38 years and celebrates the heritage of migrants from the Shetland Islands. It features two bands: Highland Country are a folk duo who play for the Scottish country dancing. This year's 'alternative' band were Itchycoo Park, who dished out numerous servings of 60s and 70s music for regular dancing.

I got to wear the dress again; I guess I can call it a déjà vu dress now, as it's been seen before. The ball starts with a hearty buffet meal and is followed by the Viking parade (basically a bunch of grown men dressed in sheepskin rugs, ugg boots, and seagull helmets, attemtping to woo and protect their women with their universal chant: "Uhhhhhh!"). Then the dancing begins.

The ceilidh dances were lots of fun to work out. I managed to remember the American Gay Gordons, where we all swap partners. We worked out the St Bernard's Waltz, then had a go at fumbling out way through a strip the willow with an incredibly patient group of six other dancers, all of whom seemed to know what they should be doing and who they should be dancing with next. (We apologised profusely for making their group formations go astray. Thankfully, they were all still smiling!) Later on, there was the Scottish version of the Gay Gordon, staying with the same partner but moving in a large circle around the room. Plenty of other dances followed, and we joined in with various degrees of success.

Occasions like this are made even more special when a group of friends get to together to dress up in black tie and enjoy dancing the night away. I am still organising our photos, ready for their migration to Facebook.

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