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The 'plus 3' Quickstep!

On this day, 9 years ago Kelly and I performed what is now an infamous show at our studio in Shirley, Southampton.

The 'plus 3' Quickstep!

We were preparing for a Christmas show in China and put together a particularly lengthy quickstep number, with plenty of fast sections - as is the norm for a fancy Quickstep!

Our studio in Shirley had a music desk, that we would stand behind whilst looking out onto the dancefloor. It was an old-ish system, with simple clear nobs, buttons and sliders with one such slider controlling the speed of the music. Up to speed up - down to slow down.

Usually it is my job to play the music for any of our social dances and this particular Christmas party was no different. However, as we were performing I needed someone to press the all important play button so that we could position ourselves without worrying about the music. All was good and we heading our onto the floor ready for the Quickstep (our opening dance). We were dancing to 'It was just one of those things' by Jamie Cullum. It's a great song, with a super melody and plenty of highs and lows but it was a little quick, so we needed it to be at 'minus 3'. During our practice sessions, I'd queue the music up, slide the speed controller down to minus 3, press play and then run around the desk ready to dance.

Just before we started, I realised that I'd forgotten to get the speed control setup. No bother, I just needed to pop over to the desk and adjust the slider. Our parties and events are quite relaxed, so a little hitch like that wasn't going to spoil anything. I can't remember who was controlling the buttons that night, but I thought it best for me to quickly run over and sort it out rather than trying to explain which slider to use from half way across the room. So I ran over to the desk.

Up for speed up, down to slow down.

The slider was moved down to the 3 position and I quickly returned to Kelly in readiness to get started. The music started and we were off!

Now it's normal to feel a little anxious, tense or nervous in a show. Even a more relaxed one in front of your home crowd. I remember feeling a little off as we started our quick journey around the floor, but it wasn't until I'd made it back around to the music desk that I realised my ridiculous faux pas.

Up for speed up, down to slow down.

Now obviously, this principle of motion works only when you're facing the music desk. Not when you're behind it. In my haste to sort out the speed, I'd reverted to what was natural and simply moved the slider down to the number 3, but of course from my new perspective - that was up! Like true pros we carried on regardless, for our near 4 minute quickstep!

If you watch the video clip, you could be forgiven for thinking that Jamie Cullum has been on the helium...

And so that tale has been told many a time since, but until now we've never had any evidence of it! Thank you Mark Searle for finding this in your archives.

For our shows this coming Christmas party, nothing requires speeding up or slowing down thankfully so it should all go without a hitch! Won't be quite such an interesting story though...

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