Tea dance returns to Meadowhall after Covid

A tea dance that had been cancelled for two years due to the Covid pandemic has finally been reintroduced at Sheffield’s Meadowhall Centre, with over 20 people attending.

Tea dances originated in the 19th century and involve smart dressing and afternoon tea with tangos, waltzes, foxtrots, the cha-cha and more. 

Darren Pearce, centre director at Meadowhall, has been running the event at the centre for over 30 years. 

He described the tea dances as being the “heart of the community” and an occasion where people could all come together.

Mr Pearce said that this was something that couldn’t and wouldn’t be achieved through the virtual world, implying that Covid had a negative impact on an event that relied on face to face interactions.

However, after the relaxation of Covid restrictions it was relaunched on Monday 20 February.

Maddy Cooper, a marketing executive at Meadowhall, said: “It took six months to get to where it is now after two years.”

She explained that they had lost contact with people who took part in previous years. 

“It was especially difficult when it came to finding live bands as Covid had ruined this form of self employment due to the restrictions,” she said. 

However, she was able to get in contact with a previous attender called Sylvia who she said was an ‘enormous help.’

Ms Cooper said that seeing the smiles on the dancer’s faces was worth the time and effort put in. She added that events like tea dances play a positive role especially in the lives of older people who often faced loneliness.

Wendy Hopkinson, 82, a previous attender was very happy that the event was running again. She said: “It’s good for people my age to do something.” She added that it was a great way for her to exercise her joints, especially since she has arthritis. 

Roy and Sylvia Cowlishaw, both who had been dancing for about 20 years were also happy the event was back.

Mrs Cowlishaw,79, said: “It brings the community together and it allows you to meet new people.”

Mr Cowlishaw, 84, added that it encouraged people to get out of their homes instead of doing nothing and said the exercise was also an additional benefit.

The next tea dance event is being held at Meadowhall shopping centre on Monday 20 March from 10am to 11.30am.

Written by Blessing Adefemi

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