1236549_10200673323223198_507707605_n I am sure you can imagine the reluctance with which I dragged my sorry arse out of the house last night in the hard, cold rain, to go and emcee Dance For Natalie. It wasn’t only the blastingly unfriendly weather. It’s been so long since I jauled in Long Street I don’t even know the places, and I had visions of not finding parking and having to dash though downpours and giant puddles and Long Street dealers and derelicts just to get to Zula Bar. It wasn’t half as bad. I found a parking less than a block away and I managed to have a short gap of light drizzle to make my dash.

To be fair, I was nervous that others would be put off and not make it, but in the end there was a fantastic turnout and it was a really brilliant evening for all, and a complete eye opener for me. Aside from the fact that the magnificent Nina van der Berg, Natalie’s care-giver, friend and now close circle of love family managed to arrange and host this event, it was how it was received by others, including me, that totally blew me away. First of all there were Natalie’s supporters; friends and family, who came to dance or volunteer at the door and merchandise table. Then there were the bands, dancers (swing, salsa, Cape Jazz, Burlesque), fire dancers and dance teacher, who all offered their services for absolutely free, and were gorgeous, talented and amazing. I am now totally in love with Manouche, a gypsy jazz band, and The Rat Rod Cats, a rock-a-billy trio: two bands I saw and heard live for the first time last night, who rocked the house and revived my interest in live music. (I am following them both on twitter now to keep in the loop about when and where they perform again.)

But mostly I was gobsmacked by Nina’s crowd of friends. I had no idea that young people of Cape Town; female and male, were getting together to dance swing. And it is beautiful, inspiring and happy. Jeannie Elliot of the Boogie Back Dance Co has been teaching them, and it is delightful. Cape Town is still full of surprises, interesting quirks and people doing other fabulous stuff. I got more and more into the evening, and was amazed as four hours flew by and I was hop skipping my way back to the car at 12 to come home.

Well done Nina. Well flippen done. This frenemy of swing is now a heart convert.

PS. I was a shocking emcee. Shocking. The funniest thing of the whole night was when somebody came to tell me that what I had thought was a heckler saying “show us your boobs” was her husband saying “show us your moves”! But, even though I got names all wrong, and people mixed up, I had the best time.