Would we send one of our writers into our new We Luv The 80's class even if they were slightly petrified of it? Hell yes! Writer Tom Wheatley is not scared of a challenge. And he lived to tell the tale...
I have, what some people might call, a challenge driven mentality. If someone asks me to do something, regardless of how much I don't want to do it, I will inevitably see it as a test and make myself do it just to prove I can. In this case the challenge was a 1980s themed dance class.
Now, just to be clear, I am in fact largely obsessed with the 80s. My DVD collection is almost a complete archive of the decade, and rarely does a day go by when I don't listen to something by Kenny Loggins or Giorgio Moroder. I have however at no point wanted to go to an 80s themed dance class. Especially not sober.
Anyone who's ever been to the same weddings as me will attest to the fact that I don't mind cutting a few shapes on the dancefloor. Hell, I even remember a few routines from the 80s nights back at university. But that's at a wedding, there's alcohol there and everyone else is pretty much in the same boat, it's practically a dignity write-off.
At 6.45pm as I walk through Gymbox Holborn I have an altogether different feeling. As I step into the room our instructor appears wearing a full 80s get-up. I smile and she complements me on my neon t-shirt. I point out this wasn't a planned outfit, it was just the only one I could find before leaving the house that morning.
After a few minutes the lights go out and a neon bulb appears in the corner of the room. Within an instant the music comes on and I find myself in a scene from Flashdance. A series of feelings run through me, first fear, largely due to the fact I realise people are looking through the windows at us. I glance quickly to check none of them are my workmates. Then I see the instructor start the class with a few dance moves I struggle to follow, I try to do the same and realise I may be out of my depth. Then finally I give in. My competitive streak suddenly takes hold and I just go for it.
What happens next is a bit of a blur where I find myself desperately trying to remember a string dance moves. In my mind I'm imagining myself to be Kevin Bacon as he jumps about in a warehouse wearing a vest, seamlessly fitting in with the dance class as if it's the result of many weeks of choreography. In reality I'm fairly certain I look like my dad.
I hit my limit at the point where we run around the room freestyling, before joining together for a rehearsed finale which sees us stood in a line pulling alternate macho man poses. If anyone was filming the class I'm at a dangerous risk of being blackmailed.
I think it's safe to say that I'm probably not the target market for the class as everyone else was clearly enjoying it. In exercise terms I was pretty pleased by the end of it. My neon t-shirt was drenched in sweat and, whether it was enjoyment or fear, the class went surprisingly quickly. My trusty heart rate monitor told me that I’d burned off 400 calories.
I may not be doing another dance class for a while but if an 80s themed workout class based on the Dolph Lungren training scene in Rocky IV appears, I’m there.
Go on, book yourself a spot!