Social (Distance) Dancing

By Claire Boot

Let’s tango at two metres in Tesco
And salsa at six feet in Spar,
Let’s waltz very warily in Waitrose
And foxtrot in a pharmacy from afar.

Let’s mindfully merengue in Morrisons –
In Sainsbury’s, a schismatic ceroc;
Disco from a distance in Asda,
Complete a careful quickstep in Co-op.

Let’s lindy hop at length in Lidl –
In the Post Office, prudently polka;
Do a partitioned paso doble in Poundland
And, in Boots, a bisected bossa nova.

Join the chary cha-cha at the checkout
And the cautious ceilidh in the queue,
As we all try to avoid one another
For the shopping that’s essential to do.

Claire Boot: ‘I wrote this poem in April 2020 in honour of all shop staff everywhere, who were making sure we could still do our essential shopping even in lockdown. I noticed that social distancing transformed the act of shopping into a kind of dance, as everyone tried to navigate the aisles and pick items off the shelves without getting too close to anyone else.’

Claire Boot Poetry and Covid Project

Claire Boot: I’m a writer, based in Cardiff, with a passion for creative community projects. Find out more at claireboot.com

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Claire Boot
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Claire Boot
2 months ago

I’ve recorded the poem and created a short video, which will be included on tablets by Dawns i Bawb, a community dance organisation in North Wales. The tablets will be distributed to care homes and hospitals, to help people to continue to participate in dance sessions despite social distancing.

Katie Cooper
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Katie Cooper
3 months ago

Hi Claire,
I absolutely love your poem and you’ve taught me the name of a couple of dances I’ve never heard of! I’ve just signed up for an online dance class with Rubicon because our class at the Pier fell victim of lock down so I’m hoping I’ll have some dance moves ready for the second peak that now looks likely. Congratulations on publication!

Claire Boot
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Claire Boot
2 months ago
Reply to  Katie Cooper

Thanks Katie, I had fun matching dances to shops! Enjoy your online class – I’ve been doing yoga at home on Zoom, but have to rearrange the furniture every time to make sure I’ve got enough space 🙂

Rebecca Rose
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Rebecca Rose
3 months ago

Hahaa! Brilliant! I noticed lots of ‘quick steps’ away from each other too! 😂

Claire Boot
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Claire Boot
3 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca Rose

Maybe we should all go shopping in feather boas and tuxedos to complete the effect?!

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