Blow Out (and about) // Rock A Hula

Who: Rock A Hula

What (the flyer says): Rock n roll, hula hooping and swing dancing. Valentine’s Special.

Where: Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes.

When: Last Friday 18th Feb.

I wear a lot of neon and Nike air, then mash them up dancing hip hop. I though a 1950s night would make me feel like that kid who forgot their P.E kit.

Rock a Hula began because Jen Walke wanted to showcase all the fun of the ’50s in one night, combining the cutesy elements of Hawaiian hula-ing with the energetic fun of hula hooping.

With experience behind the decks herself, Jen enlists the best DJs specialising in pre 70s tunage for guests to hula to.

We were able to disguise some of the new millenium and pin up pimp ourselves up a bit thanks to the girls from Tiki Tearaway who had a stall at the entrace selling the cutest hair flowers and accessories.

It is common knowledge among my friends that empty dancefloors make me uneasy. I have a tourettes style impulse to fill them with crazy shapes and I drag everyone down with me. Rock a Hula have the perfect cure by filling the dancefloor with hula hoops. Obviously everyone wanted a go so the floor was rammed with with people wiggling inside hoops. The boys were especially getting well into it and challenging each other to hoop-offs.

If you wanted to learn some bad ass moves Miss Constance Irkles (geddit?) was on hand to show you some tricks. She is kind of a big deal. An ex criminology Lawer, she jacked it all in and joined the circus. No really, she actually did. There she learnt such skills as trapeezing before finding her niche and settling down with her hoops. You can learn how to be a hula hooping pro at her Wednesday night class in Dalston Old Boys Club.

I hadn’t touched a hula hoop since school, where we used to see who could hula the most hoops at once and get told off by teachers for hula-ing them around our necks. The closest some had got to hula hooping was wearing the crisp version on their fingers whilst typing emails. We were well impressed that we managed to pick it up straight away. We were showing off and in serious danger of becoming big headed types when Miss Constance Irkes brought us back down to earth by explaining that they were ‘weighted adult beginner hoops’. Basically the hula hoop version of stabilisers.

Jen, being well into swing dancing noticed it had many similaries with speed dating what with the rotating partners and organised chaos. ‘Swing Dance Speed Dating’ was born. How it works is; a dance number is pinned on everyone as they hit the dancefloor for a beginners swing class taught by ‘Brace Yourself’. With every segment learnt you switch partners. At the end of the class you are given a dance card where you write down the numbers of 3 people you would like to dance with for a whole song. Then you get married and have quiffy haired polka dot clad babies. If there is noone you want to dance with or if noone wants to dance with you, you can just dance with your mates. Genius. Afterwards the dancing continued to live music by rockabilly trio ‘The Picadilly Bullfrogs’.

I thought this night would be full of girls and hen nights but there were loads of guys and a real mixture of hard core 50s followers and have a go at dressing for one nighters. Their next night there is on the 15th of April so get heating up your rollers. We’ll be at the bar giving our hula hips a rest.

Jude Brosnan

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