You Could Be Dancing!
The Dancing Mat, a commissioned artwork for the Stirchley Baths Heritage Programme, is nearing its launch with an event ‘Stirchley Dances’, on Saturday 25th June 1 – 4pm. This is a free event open to all, celebrating the heritage and current day dancing in Stirchley. John and Eileen Horlick from the Stirchley Tea Dance Group who worked with me to record steps from dances that would have been danced at Stirchley Baths in the 1940’s will officially open the dancing mat at 1pm in the foyer. After this there will be dancing in the main hall by the Tea Dance Group, Swing Express and Barn Dance Fitness, the latter two who hold weekly classes at Stirchley Baths. You can either come along and enjoy watching the dancing or join in. It doesn’t matter whether you are a complete novice, enthusiast or highly experienced – this is a celebration of all things in Stirchley.
I had a wonderful time today at Stirchley Baths, not just the spiralised courgette in my salad at the cafe, but seeing the baths coming together as a functioning building and seeing ideas and proposals from the development phase becoming a part of the building. All this while working on the ‘welcome mat’ project. The welcome mat stems from earlier work in Stirchley by Place Prospectors whose work during Stirchley Prospects found material relating to the use of Stirchley Baths as a ballroom in the post war years; the pool being covered over for ‘super non-stop dancing’ and that dancing happened to Den Jones and his Dance Orchestra.
The Stirchley Tea Dance group who used to be based in the old Stirchley community centre have agreed to work with me on the process of making the mat, I’m going to record their steps as they dance the dances that would have happened during this time, which is fondly remembered and a source of local pride.