Bust to bust


If you are female, dancer, and in the midst of a frustrating partner-hunt, you will want to read this. Men, we need not bother. We will be just fine — as we have always been….

MY FRIEND Helen Cooper, who takes an amused interest in my passion for ballroom dancing, mailed me this poem by actress-comedienne-songwriter Joyce Grenfell. Sometime ago I had made a few observations in the same vein, but Grenfell, in Stately as a Galleon, captures the frustration of most female dancers – in both social and competitive circuits – far better than I could ever possibly do:

My neighbour, Mrs Fanshaw, is portly-plump and gay,
She must be over sixty-seven, if she is a day.
You might have thought her life was dull,
It’s one long whirl instead.
I asked her all about it, and this is what she said:

I’ve joined an Olde Thyme Dance Club, the trouble is that there
Are too many ladies over, and no gentlemen to spare.
It seems a shame, it’s not the same,
But still it has to be,
Some ladies have to dance together,
One of them is me.

Stately as a galleon, I sail across the floor,
Doing the Military Two-step, as in the days of yore.
I dance with Mrs Tiverton; she’s light on her feet, in spite
Of turning the scale at fourteen stone, and being of medium height.
So gay the band,
So giddy the sight,
Full evening dress is a must,
But the zest goes out of a beautiful waltz
When you dance it bust to bust.

So, stately as two galleons, we sail across the floor,
Doing the Valse Valeta as in the days of yore.
The gent is Mrs Tiverton, I am her lady fair,
She bows to me ever so nicely and I curtsey to her with care.
So gay the band,
So giddy the sight,
But it’s not the same in the end
For a lady is never a gentleman, though
She may be your bosom friend.

So, stately as a galleon, I sail across the floor,
Doing the dear old Lancers, as in the days of yore.
I’m led by Mrs Tiverton, she swings me round and round
And though she manoeuvres me wonderfully well
I never get off the ground.
So gay the band,
So giddy the sight,
I try not to get depressed.
And it’s done me a power of good to explode,
And get this lot off my chest.

Smooth, eh?

Also read: Oh Boy

Image courtesy: istockphoto


  1. Ayden Simmons · June 17, 2010

    In ballroom dancing, my favorite dance is Rumba and the Flamenco.~;~

  2. Hannah Garcia · July 12, 2010

    i was into ballroom dancing last month and it was a great way to exercise`~”

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