43. The Dare to Bare Ball

My good friend, the Barre instructor, had a history of dancing in competitions.  She also chaired a local charity which she had set up from scratch – she knew about fundraising and had staged many hugely successful lunches, dinners and balls.  She was my first port of call – did she know anyone who was foolhardy enough to choreograph a group of Bosom Pals with no dance experience.  She did… and our Barre instructor volunteered not only to choreograph the group but to help organise the ball as she had connections with hotels, bands, lighting…. everything and more you’d need to run a charity event.

We held our first couple of meetings in a funeral parlour as one of the Bosom Pals worked as a funeral director and her work place had a large meeting room. The hope was that none of us would need her professional services until after the Ball.

Quickly we organised ourselves into a team – originally 12  women agreed to dance, then 10 and finally a surefire 9 dancers who ranged in age from 39 to 72 years.  The aim was to learn to dance and run an event which would match the £4,000 raised by the celebs.

We don’t have a team leader, everyone has pitched in – from finding sponsors to printing tickets, to organising spreadsheets to monitor ticket sales and table plans, it really is a team event.  Our choreographer found us a hotel, a band and dress maker.  In two weeks we were sold out – 190 tickets all spoken for and we were going to raise funds for the Primrose Foundation, the first stop for all of us on our various cancer journeys.

The core team of dancers – what a team!  We’ve met virtually every Saturday at a local sports club.  Our choreographer has had the patience of a saint – it was ideal for me as  could go to a Barre class… tuck, tuck, pile , plank, plenty of shaking then drive to the rehearsal venue (given free of charge – thank you) for a quick coffee and an update meeting.  At these we found out who had sponsored us, confirmed ticket sales, who and what had been donated as raffle prizes and wondered what on earth we were doing.  This was followed by an hour of carnage with our choreographer walking us through the steps, sorting out our posture and positions – it was a serious business but my goodness there was a lot of laughter and even a few tears (particularly the first time we heard the whole music through to the end).  It was official we had organised a ball and were learning to dance.

Tip:  knowing and being certain of your left and right whilst being able to count to 8 are two great advantages when trying to learn to dance. You can practice this at home!



Author: fionaosmaston

I live in Plymouth, Devon with my husband Nick and near my parents Sandy and Sheena. Our three children, Marcus, Phoebe and Miles are grown up. I am a geographer and love teaching Geography. My current role is as an Assistant Vice Principal in an inner city comprehensive school where I lead on coaching and initial teacher training. In August 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and following a skin sparing mastectomy and endrocrine/hormone treatment I am now awaiting a final reconstruction. These views are my own and writing this story has helped me come to terms with where I am in this interlude of life which has been dominated by breast cancer.

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