Everyone was having too much fun – except me
Prompted by the build up to a School Reunion themed Chalet Party, organised by Lynda and Terry Hills, at the recent Ceroc Breeze Weekender at Brean Sands near Weston-super-Mare, I wrote an article suggesting we were all having more fun than was good for us (see link below). I entitled the article Warning: School reunions can be too much fun, and suggested that the Headmistress might like to impose a few rules.
It seems my warning fell on deaf ears, and just as I thought, Lynda and Terry’s friends had a little bit too much fun.
It does make me wonder whether you should be given a Health Warning when you sign up to join this wonderful dance community.
But I’m sounding like a kill-joy, which is probably due to the fact that I got an invite but sadly couldn’t make it. However I kept in touch with Lynda and Terry, and when I heard what a blast it was, I thought I’d use it as a way in to discussing the place of Chalet Parties in the dance weekender experience.
Chalet Parties are part of the Weekender Experience
Chalet parties big and small are very much part of the dance weekender experience. They vary immensely. My own dance gang friends will get together in one of our chalets for a debrief after each night of dancing. There’ll perhaps just be eight of us, but we’ll sit and discuss our adventurers on the dance floor, fuelled by a light snack washed down with wine and Prosecco.
So much Prosecco is drunk that one of our Weekender rituals is to count the bottles as we check out.
My puritan upbringing means that I’m a little too embarrassed to tell you what the record stands at.
Other Chalet Parties are much grander affairs. Lynda and Terry’s party was organised for the opening Friday night starting at 9:30. Terry tells me that they had about a hundred people came through and the fun went on until half past midnight. Great to see all the smiling faces.
They had too much fun at Warmwell too . . .
It doesn’t matter which Weekender you go to, everyone it seems is having too much fun. I did a review of the MJRoc Warmwell weekender which is held in November in Dorset. I wasn’t actually there, but did the review based on the photos I saw posted on Facebook. This next one was my favourite.
One year a group of revellers had posted a picture of themselves having fun in bed. When Colin Shaul who runs Warmwell saw the picture, he set them a challenge for the following year:
How many people can you get in a bed?
Quite a lot it would seem, and here’s the evidence. No wonder that Warmwell is a sell-out each year. Though I should caution against trying this in a Pontins Chalet single bed.
. . . and at Camber Sands
In the summer I came across a fabulous Video Blog by David Addis that told the story of The Ceroc Camber Sands Weekender in June . In the second of his videos (see link below) David is invited to a Super Heroes themed Chalet Party on the Saturday night. Fast forward to 8 minutes 10 seconds and you’ll see the fun that everyone is having.
I don’t doubt that people outside of this dance world have as much fun at their own fancy dress parties, but there is something about this dance community and Chalet Parties that brings out the party spirit in everyone so effortlessly. David captures this spirit in his video, and this screen grab shows Super Girl and Cat Woman in full flow.
Lynda has a team of helpers
Of course these parties take a great deal of organising, and Lynda and Terry had a great deal of help from their Chalet Buddies Helen, Flo, and Sophie in turning their chalet in to a school fit for a reunion.
All the cupboards were covered in that wallpaper that replicates a library. Black wallpaper was used to create a blackboard that people could write on (more on this later) and all the dunces hats were hand made.
This attention to detail is what gives these parties their great atmosphere, and Terry tells me they even had signs on the doors denoting The School Disco and The Teachers Toilets.
I can’t wonder where the Pupils Toilets were, but I suspect that they may have sneaked in when the teachers weren’t looking.
Which brings me round to the subject of school discipline. I had warned Lynda that she would need to be on her guard. I was particularly concerned about the state of dress the pupils would turn up in.
Prefect Helen is given an important job
I suggested that one of the prefects might be allocated the job of checking that girls blouses were done up to the top, that the boys had their ties done properly and that skirts weren’t too short. Lynda assured me that all skirt lengths would be checked and that Helen, had been given that task. You can imaging my horror when I realised just what Helen was asked to check.
I had thought that Lynda was going to be the Head Teacher, but no.
Seems the pupils were always going to have more fun, so Lynda put on a short skirt and became an unruly pupil.
Now Lynda’s skirt length was a little on the short side, so I presumed that any girl with one SHORTER would be immediately put in detention. WRONG! It seemed that any girl with a skirt LONGER than Lynda’s was made to wear a dunces hat and sit in the corner.
Helen doesn’t do her job very well
With such lax checks on the door, it wasn’t long before things got out of had. Now it seems that everyone loves having their photos taken when they are misbehaving, and Facebook was littered with images of inappropriate behaviour the next day. Now this is a family blog so I chose two that were not too bad – you can imagine what the rest were like!
What gets me about the first picture is that the very naughty boy was actually wearing a prefects badge on his cap.
What I want to know is whether Helen was asked to search the boys pockets for laddish weaponry.
I do wonder if Helen was paying attention when she checked everyone in. Isn’t that a stocking top I can see? I’m sorry, but I don’t remember stockings and suspenders being part of school uniform – well not in my day. I’m sure that Helen should have spotted that obvious uniform error.
At least Helen checks the skirt lengths
The second picture really made me smile. I understand that when Helen checked this lady’s skirt, it was found to be LONGER than Lynda’s, which begs the question:
Lynda, just how SHORT was your skirt?
I suppose sitting in the corner with a dunces hat on is all part of the fun. At least the provision of a bottle of wine brought a smile to the ladies face. The picture also suggests other bad behaviour.
Remember the efforts Lynda and her team went to getting blackboards hung round the classroom. Well it seems someone has been writing on them while the teacher’s back was turned, and I’m not referring to the ‘Ellie and Rachel were here’ slogan. Enough of this misbehaving, time I got back to more serious matters.
It all started with The Romans
While fancy dress appears to be going through a bit of a boom time, the idea of dressing up goes back to Romans times, and by the 14th Century it was a well established practice amongst European Royalty. According to an on-line article written for society magazine Tatler, I came across, even Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were fancy-dress mega-fans.
It’s not hard to see why. First and foremost it’s a laugh, and its a great ice-breaker at parties. Seeing what people have come as, and the efforts they have gone to makes for laughter filled conversation. It also helps people get in to party mode. Facebook was littered with pictures of people posing as they got ready to leave for the school reunion.
St Trinians, Doctors and Nurses and Sexy Police Women
The same Tatler article mentioned that Prince William celebrated his 21st Birthday with an African themed fancy dress party:
While the Royal Family’s costumes were kept disappointingly secret, guests including a furry lion, Tarzan and a banana were spotted going through the gates.
As fancy dress goes that was quite modest – even the banana. For dance weekenders it seems that people appear to have raided the wardrobe of a Carry On movie, with the most popular themes being St Trinians, and The Emergency Services featuring a high proportion of Sexy Police Women and Nurses.
If ever the NHS wants to get more men in to their surgeries, then just ask the nurses to dress up like they’re auditioning for Carry On Doctor.
Ceroc Devon bring a whole Operating Theatre
Lynda and her friends weren’t the only ones having fun with Fancy Dress at Breeze. Ceroc Devon went as Doctors and Nurses. Having seen some of the pictures I was again having to ask why men don’t queue up at the doctors if the nurses wear such short uniforms. But it was this next photo that really impressed me, as it seems that they brought a whole operating theatre with them.
This has to be one of the best posed fancy dress photos I’ve ever seen, and I love the way everyone played their role. Give these guys a part in Carry on Surgeon.
I’m informed by Ceroc Devon’s Katie, that the surgeon was played by Pat, and that he was ably assisted by – from left going round the table – Nurse Barbara, Dr’s Lee, Jules, Joe, Sharon, Donna and Annie.
Katie tells me that the patient played by Mike had very complex issues, and this explains the large number of doctors around the operating table. Sadly Katie didn’t tell me whether Mike survived. I’ll try and find out. It would have been a shame for him to have missed the dancing.
If I ever need an operation get me to a real hospital please
The Chalet Party plays its part again
An increasing number of groups now turn up for the dancing in fancy dress, and many meet up for a Chalet Party before hand. Again the Chalet Party plays it’s role in the fabric of a weekender. I can just imagine The Ceroc Devon group meeting up and planning their Operating Theatre Prank. Lots of laughter I’m sure.
But the Chalet Party has another important role, particularly when it’s organised for the Friday Night. There are many so called Weekender Virgins, who are attending a three day dance fest for the first time. The big ones, like Southport, Camber and Breeze can be a little intimidating. The first night Chalet Party is a great way to ease yourself in and make new friends at the same time.
A Dance Family from across The UK
Many of the Ceroc franchises organise Chalet Parties as a way of looking after their first-timers. While Terry and Lynda are part of The Strictly Ceroc Bristol crew this was in fact a party organised quite independently. Here’s Terry:
We organised the party for our own Dance Family. There were a lot of people from Bristol but we invited Dance Friends from all over the UK. We also had a few Breeze Virgins.
Hearing about Terry and Lynda’s Dance Family is another reminder of the wonderful community that we are all part of. I often talk about my own Dance Gang friends from Nottingham, who go to Freestyles and Weekenders together. You can’t beat being part of one of these friendship groups and a Chalet Party is a great way for them all to meet up.
So who’s The Head Boy and Head Girl?
As part of the fun, Lynda and Terry awarded cups to the best people in fancy dress. Alex was awarded The Naughtiest Boy in School Cup and Martin was made Head Boy for the day. I asked Lynda about the Head Girl Cup.
I assume Andrea was made Head Girl, after all she did post on Facebook that she’d been Head Girl at her own school.
Actually No! We awarded someone else, but when it came to handing over the cup we couldn’t find it.
Oh dear, did you ever find it?
No. It wasn’t until I was going through the photos on Facebook that I noticed that Andrea had pinched it. No wonder she had a smile on her face.
Seems like you should have voted Andrea naughtiest girl Lynda.
So how many people can you get in a Pontins Chalet?
Before I finish here’s the answer to the question posed at the start of this article. There were about 20 Dunces in the photo I used at the head of this article, but Lynda tells me that the maximum number of people in the open area of the chalet itself was thirty, with many more outside. I couldn’t help wonder if there were a few in The Teachers Toilets, and I did wondered if Lynda actually check behind the bike sheds!
Oh and one more answer! It seems that Mike did pull through after the operation (God knows how!) and he enjoyed a late night of dancing. That’s some recovery Mike!
I was also pleased to hear that after the last person left the School Reunion Party at around half past midnight Lynda and Terry got to enjoy three hours of chill-out dancing before retiring to bed. That’s the mark of a great first Weekender night.
It’s all in the best possible taste
In a world where political correctness rules our everyday life, it’s nice to think that the girls can wear short skirts and not take offence when the boys are caught looking. The spirit of dance weekenders encourage us all to lighten up and I think that Lynda and Terry’s Chalet Party got the balance just right.
Time then for a couple of things I spotted on the official Breeze School Reunion Facebook Page. Remember Andrea the girl who stole the Head Girl cup. Seems she got her just deserts. When asked if she was coming out to play she posted:
Sorry I’m in detention! Never to see the light of day again!!!
I’m really pleased that Head Teacher Lynda stopped being pally with the children and handed out a few detentions. I do however wonder what Lynda did when she came across this picture posted on the School Reunion Facebook page.
It seems that when Lynda did the head count there were actually two people missing, and in their own words they were behind the bike sheds. Detention doesn’t sound strong enough Lynda, now where did you put your cane.
My thanks to Lynda and Terry for helping with this article and checking that people were happy to have their photos included.
Thanks also to Katie of Ceroc Devon for help with the Operating Theatre picture.