|Strictly Ballroom: Tales from the Dancefloor by Diana Melly|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: At 76, Diana Melly decided to take up ballroom dancing. This is her exciting and inspiring account of what happened next and of the wonderful characters she met along the way.|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: November 2015|
|Publisher: Short Books|
Crosswords and Sudoku will help but the best way to avoid dementia is to take up ballroom dancing.
Diana Melly heard these words at a conference organized by the Alzheimer's Society. It was a subject close to her heart, as she had recently lost her dear husband George to lung cancer and vascular dementia. The reason that ballroom dancing is so effective at warning off the ageing process is because it requires a form of coordination that effectively rewires the brain; activating the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. The lecture piqued Diana's interest and soon she was signing up for lessons at a local dance class. Little did she know that this would open up a whole new world to her; a world of sequins, heels, glitterballs and lifelong friends.
Strictly Ballroom is Diana's heartwarming account of her new-found love of dancing. It hasn't been easy for her; in the beginning she struggled to learn the steps and often felt awkward on the dance floor. Over time, however, her technique and confidence have improved, aided, no doubt by her supportive new circle of friends who help and encourage her with every shimmy, step and turn.
Life is certainly never dull in the world of dance and Diana shows how it has helped her during her grieving process. From local tea dances, to short breaks in Blackpool and even a luxurious cruise, her positive attitude and lust for life shine through in her words. At the end of each chapter, she takes time to reflect on cherished memories of her dear husband, as she tries to imagine what he would have thought of her new life.
The only criticism I have of the book is that I felt that it ended quite abruptly and didn't really have a conclusion to draw everything together. I would have liked an epilogue or afterword, bringing us up to date, telling us what Diana is doing now and whether she is still active with her ballroom dancing.
Diana's story is inspirational and I hope that it will encourage others to follow her example and try something new. She is a charming storyteller and it was a pleasure to share her happy memories. Many thanks to the publishers for my copy of the book.
Bookbag enjoyed The Ballroom Class by Lucy Dillon, a charming story about three couples who take up dancing at a local class. A wonderful piece of escapist reading.
You can read more book reviews or buy Strictly Ballroom: Tales from the Dancefloor by Diana Melly at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Strictly Ballroom: Tales from the Dancefloor by Diana Melly at Amazon.com.
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