There are two things I really should not be seen doing in public:
- Wearing leggings in any way other than as an undergarment.
I have the legs for neither.
However, last summer, I did both. At the same time. On TELEVISION.
I was selected, along with 5 other women from the East Dulwich WI, to take part in a TV show for Sky called Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew.
If you are not familiar with the show, each episode follows a group of non-dancers as they secretly attempt to learn a street dance routine choreographed by Ashley Banjo and his street dance troupe Diversity. Then, 3-weeks later, they have to perform it in front of unsuspecting friends and family at a public event.
BUT WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO SUCH A THING? I hear you cry…
Well, first of all, have you seen Ashley Banjo?
Secondly, I love the WI. I joined when my son was about a year old because I wanted to make new local friends, and now I have the most incredible group of women in my life. We see each other at more than just the monthly WI events. We get together for coffee, lunch, dinner, cocktails… although it is not all about the wine, the WI has also been a highly educational experience *coughs* as you can read in this post I wrote for Red Online.
Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, I’d had a really shitty year and I desperately needed a distraction. If you are new here, you can read more about that here. My life had hit an unexpected bump, I was about to turn 40, and I wanted to be back in control of my life. I had to stop letting fear make decisions for me. I wanted to say YES more times than I said NO.
Most of all, I wanted to remind myself that I used to be a person who had fun.
I tried not to think about the bit where I would have to dance. Or, wear leggings as a trouser and not just to cover my bare white legs under a summer dress.
Taking part in the show provided everything I hoped it would, and then so much more. Ashley said something to me during filming that not only got me through the final performance, but also stayed with me on the stage at Britmums Live this year when I read out an incredibly emotional post to 700 people in the room. I know it is such a cliche, but the experience really did change my life.
I know there will be places in the show where I will CRINGE (the garden… THE GARDEN!) but all awkward dancing aside, I have never laughed so much.
As I am sure you will too when you see me ‘streetdancing’ in those leggings…
The episode of Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew featuring the East Dulwich WI airs on Sky 1 HD, Sunday 5th October, at 6pm #WIversity