Thursday, 09 July 2020

Dancing for the NHS

Dancing for the NHS

A GROUP of dancers performed in the street in tribute to frontline NHS staff battling the coronavirus pandemic.

About 20 people took part in a choreographed routine to Elton John’s I’m Still Standing in the middle of Grove Road, Sonning Common, during the Clap for Carers event on Thursday evening last week.

A Volkswagen Golf led them and the driver played the song from the car’s speakers.

Residents who were outside for the weekly applause watched and took photos or filmed the dancers, some of whom waved Union flags to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day the following day.

Each dancer was careful to maintain at least 2m distance throughout the routine. The “flash mob” was led by Jess Morris, 28, who is living in Kennylands Road with her family during the lockdown.

She has taught dance and was asked to lead the routine by her friend Amanda Watkins-Cooke, who helps run a training and employability programme for young people called Active Leaders.

Miss Morris is recording short videos to teach people dance and posts these to the Active Leaders’ Facebook page and website so villagers can learn the routines at home.

They are then able to perform them as part of a group after the clapping on Thursday evenings.

Two weeks ago, the group danced in the middle of Kennylands Road and held up Reading Buses’ 25 service for a minute.

Ms Watkins-Cooke said: “Jess is an incredible dancer and choreographer and we just thought how good it would be to utilise her skills and help lift spirits at this time and get people up and active.”

Miss Morris said: “It was really good fun. It’s literally just about bringing the village together and brings a bit of joy.

“It’s quite nice to have everyone coming together in an otherwise scary and distressing time.”

Residents Daniel and Susan Brock were joined by their children Matilda, 22, Teddy, 19, and Arthur, 13, for the clapping tribute.

They were surprised to see the dancers but stayed to watch from their driveway as they moved along the road towards the primary school.

The family have taken part in the nationwide tribute for hospital staff and other frontline workers every week since it began seven weeks ago.

Mr Brock said: “My mum was a nurse and we all know people who are key workers.

“This is great and I think it’s important to say ‘thank you’ as a community. Sonning Common is a really good village.”

Matilda, who is a medical student, said: “It’s nice to see everyone’s faces.”

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