Monday, December 5, 2011

100 things: Rivoli Ballroom

Behind an unprepossessing bingo hall style frontage, deep in South West London, is the Rivoli Ballroom, a red-tinted world of gilt, velvet and dancing. It's over the top, down to earth, camp, cliquey and accessible all in the same breath.

We went to Jacky's Jukebox, £9 entry, a night which happens on the first Saturday of the month and which has a mix of all sorts of music, mainly heavily romantic. There was an exhibition dance taking place as we arrived and then it featured everything from an Argentinian Tango to waltzes, the polka, line dancing and even seventies disco. We'd gone for a girls' night out dancing. It was really completely the wrong place for that: there were a lot of quite formal couple dances and almost everyone knew all the moves, so we spent most of the evening watching from the sidelines. However, people seemed to be having a fabulous time and on the odd occasions (the easier line dances, Saturday Night Fever, and one of our number who was a little bit more skilled and so could dare to ask someone to polka) we did get up and have a go, everyone was perfectly friendly and put up with our ineptitude.

The ballroom features in Elton John's original 1983 video for I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues but to really experience it you need to go. It's a gem.

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