Itchy Feet promises to be the “rock n’ roll, swing and blues night that has taken the country by storm”; they hold nights several times a year in various cities aroung the country, a pledge to be an alternative to the usual club nights, playing music from 1950- 1979.
I have to say I was fairly apprehensive about Itchy Feet, and had a serious lack of success trying to persuade people to come with me. The prospect of dressing up in vintage and swing dancing in the sweaty basement of The Duchess proved fairly off-putting for most people, and admittedly I was worried my romanticised idea of re-enacting scenes from Footloose would fall pretty short in reality.
When we arrived at The Duchess I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people that had embraced the vintage dress code, with the girls channelling 50s glamour and the boys looking dapper in braces, bowties and the occasional bowler hat. Walking down the stairs onto the dance floor really was like stepping into an old movie; there was not one slut-drop in sight, and the usual shameless fist pumping and grinding had been replaced with jiving and twisting, with many a guy boldly attempting to swing their women around the room.
Admittedly, I found there was that uncomfortable five minutes that you sometimes experience at the start of the night, when people shuffle back and forth, assessing their surroundings and waiting for the alcohol to kick in. This was coupled with the added awkwardness that many people were clueless on the etiquette of dancing to 50s rock and roll, unsure how exactly to express themselves to the Chordettes classic tune ‘Lollipop’. However, once you get into the swing of the night, and fight the urge to pop and twerk, it was actually hugely enjoyable, and a breath of fresh air from the usual club experience. Whether it was the style of dancing that the music demanded that gave it a cleaner-cut feel, or just the crowd that the night attracted, the experience felt a lot less rowdy and far more wholesome than a regular club night.
I would suggest that if the idea of dancing in a club mortifies you, and you prefer to spend the evening propping up the bar, then this probably isn’t for you. Saying that, if you’re open minded and prepared to let your hair down then I would definitely give it a go. Contrary to our initial concerns, the dance floor was not packed with consummate professionals; just people who wanted to experience something new. Itchy Feet have promised to return to York soon, so I would recommend grabbing a group of your friends to dress up and join you; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much fun it can be.