Wednesday 4 September 2013

Future Cinema presents Dirty Dancing

More cinema and more dressing up – last weekend I certainly had the time of my life. I’d never felt that way before. I swear, it’s the truth! ;)

I first heard about Future Cinema and their amazing event a year ago when my best friend went to a screening of Grease. Hearing what an incredible time she had, I made her promise to take me to the next one. So, on Saturday, we brushed up our merengues, practised our pachangas and prepared ourselves for all things Dirty Dancing!

When booking your ticket to a Future Cinema event you never know exactly what you’re signing up for, as most of the details are kept secret or not revealed until the last minute, including the event location. Through the Facebook event page, guests were fed tantalizing hints and tips to get us in the mood; dance tutorials, lyrics to songs, even a list of entertaining rules and instructions to accompany your stay at Kellerman’s holiday camp.

It is also compulsory for all guests to dress up, and we had a great time planning our Baby and Johnny outfits. Piecing them together from items found on the high street and in our wardrobes, I went for the “Baby on the footbridge” look, with two tops from H&M, white pumps from Primark (£4) and my cropped denim shorts. I also spent the night before sleeping in flexi rollers, which worked a treat! My other female friends dressed in the classic cropped jeans and tied white shirt, and the boys looked perfectly of the time (my boyfriend in particular, who in his black shirt, leather jacket and greased back hair attracted many comments throughout the day including “Hey Johnny”, “Nice to see you again, Mr Swayze” and, from one of the Kellerman’s reps, “Excuse me but, sir, please, pop your collar!”).

When we arrived at Hackney Downs (the now not-so-secret location) I was so pleased we had all made an effort; for once, the people who hadn’t were the ones who stood out! On stepping through the gates you do feel rather transported. There’s “Orientation” on the left, a life-drawing class on the right, and dance tutorials EVERYWHERE! The reps were all very enthusiastic in their “Kellerman’s” t-shirts, greeting you with an American twang. Raring to go, you then enter the main event.

A large grassed area is split in two by a long aisle, with food trucks and drinks tents lining either side. There were lobster rolls, burgers, mac ‘n’ cheese, scallops and schnitzels, all being sold out the side of caravans, falafel marquees, burger huts, and of course watermelons, popcorn and candy floss were all on sale too. At the front of the seating area was a stage where the official Johnny, Baby, Penny and more made appearances, talking to the crowd and teaching them to cha-cha. We had such fun dancing, singing, and watching the variety of costumes that went past. At one point Mr Kellerman himself shouted out “Get your balls up in the air!”, and everyone started throwing their beach balls to the skies. Suddenly, from behind either side of the stage, two huge balls (they must have been 10 foot in diameter) were bounced around the crowd! Great fun, although we came very close to being squashed.

The audience were now full of good food and buzzing with anticipation, and the start of the movie was timed perfectly with the setting sun. There were roars of applause as the cast list came up on the screen, but that was nothing compared to the first appearance of Patrick Swayze, shades and all. What a beautiful and talented man he was; so sad that he was taken too soon.

Watching Dirty Dancing with hundreds of other people was absolutely incredible. There were waves of wolf-whistles and cheering when they kissed, boos and heckling whenever Robbie came on screen (if you don’t know why, you haven’t watched it recently enough) and with every amazing song in its soundtrack, floodlights came on and our we were given our cue to stand up and boogie.

In true Dirty Dancing style, a few weeks before the event an email was sent out to guests, inviting them to a “secret” after party in the staff quarters. Hosted by Johnny and Penny, we were asked to bring a watermelon with us. Instead, we turned up with a hula-hoop and human-size inflatable banana - it’s a long story, but let’s just say it was an interesting cab journey... Arriving at the venue was slightly peculiar, as we couldn’t hear a peep of sound! We were ushered by the “staff” up a fire escape and through several doorways, each muttering as they went, “Jeez, lots of new faces, Paul not going to be happy” (Paul later turned out to be the DJ). Pushing open the final set of doors, we entered a room filled with smoke and red lighting and by midnight, when more people had arrived, it felt just like the film. We danced until the early hours, twisting, shouting, jumping, jiving and even the Mashed Potato. We made a pact there and then to make this a tradition, and I already can’t wait! Footloose? Pulp Fiction? What do you think?

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