strictly2“Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.”
Oprah Winfrey

Everyone looked stunning. Women and men, perfumed and Givenchy scented, wafted to their tables. Strangers chatted animatedly to strangers, who by the end of the evening had turned into friends. There was laughter and an animated buzz hovered over the evening.

I had come to support Scotty Rickard and Stefan Jamneck. Scotty was my physiotherapist and Stefan, the owner of Beans About Coffee, a regular haunt of mine. I had come to watch them dance. I wasn’t expecting much. All I wanted was for them to finish their dances proudly.

The dancers took to the floor en masses for the communal dance.They glided smoothly around the room in a lilting waltz. The women’s heads were tilted back and laughing up at their partners. The men moved with surprising ease and grace, their partners clasped firmly in their arms. No, this wasn’t Blackpool. Strictly Come Dancing in George had commenced.

And I was knocked for a six!
There was none of the awkwardness that I had been expecting. Everyone moved with a grace and charm that was utterly bewitching. I closed my mouth which had gaped open in utter amazement. I sat back and relished the spectacle before me.

They had been practicing for about ten weeks. Stefan had told me that for their individual dances, they had five rehearsals with Simone Garland from the Outeniqua Dance Academy. Simone was the workhorse for five couples. Randall Raubenheimer from South Cape Dance Academy slaved with the other five.

In the evenings, the children tucked snugly in bed, Stefan and Gretchen had put on the lights in their garage and danced the night away. Practising, practice, and more practice! There was also much laughter.
“No, Stefan, you don’t put your hand there. I would end up flat on my belly if you turned me like that!”
“Ahhh, but Gretch, you feel fantastic there!”
“Stef, we are meant to be dancing. Now, come on, it is one, two, twirl, catch me and three steps forward….”

All ten couples performed individual dances. Scotty and his wife, Liezel, did a Paso Doble. This is a lively style of dance which brings to mind the drama and movement of a Spanish bullfight. Scott was intense in his movements as he drew the audience in with flair and panache. They seemed to relish their partnership, rejoicing in the moment.strictly scotty 2

Stefan, looking incredibly Humphrey Bogard-ish and Gretchen did a superb foxtrot to Sinatra’s: New York, New York. As the music played, the audience seemed to hum along. Sinatra spun his usual spell! Gretchen and Stefan moved wonderfully together, commandeering the space as they twisted it to their control.Strictly stefan dancing

Here were ordinary people doing the most extraordinary thing – dancing as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Dancing as if it was something that they did each day.
“I’ll just go and brush my teeth, have a dance and eat breakfast!”
I knew that Stefan and Scotty had never danced before. I sat watching the different dances play out before me, and I marvelled.

We had to put money in an envelope for the dancer you wished to sponsor, the dancer you thought would win. I was delighted to discover two envelopes. That meant I could sponsor both Stefan and Scotty. We handed the envelopes in and we then ate chicken and asparagus beautifully cooked over a creamy mashed potato. We were then told that four people had tied. Right – now the ‘bidding’ war began!

The host said: “We have four people that have tied. Is anyone prepared to raise a couple’s money so that they can be declared the winner?”
“I will raise Stefan and Gretchen by 1000.”
“I will raise Scott and Liezel by 2000”
“1000 to Johan and Anneke!”
“5000 to Martin and Jill!”
2000, 800, 4000, 6000, 3000, 10 000, 8000…..Sums of money were shouted out and the bidding continued!
I had put money in both Stefan’s and Scotty’s envelopes. I still had a bit left over. I could bid in each of their favour.
“20 to Stefan and Gretchen,” I called out.
“Is that 20 000, ma’am?” the host enquired.
“No, R20!” I squeaked.
I decided to give Scotty and Liezel a miss!

R430 000 was raised that evening. R430 000 was raised by people who did something they’d never done before. For one night, they became ‘professional’ dancers!
These ordinary people accomplished something extraordinary! They delighted us and the money served a brilliant purpose. It was to be used for the benefit of under privileged but talented sports mad kids. This money would enable more children to be part of the hugely successful George Sports Academy coaching programme. It was great to put Scott and Stefan’s money towards such a brilliant initiative.sports academy

Strictly Stefan winnerStefan was eventually declared the overall winner.
I’m sure it was my R20 and that did it!!!



Photographs by kind permission of Anton Alberts & George Sports Academy


You can learn more about the George Sports Academy by clicking here & watching their brilliant video!