What?: I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this. A friend who often has the same opinion as me about stuff had been and regaled a terrifying tale in which someone had held her hand in an attempt to get her more involved in the dancing so that her kid would join in more, but I figured Babu likes dancing so would need very little coaxing and anyway I feel a lot less awkward dancing when I have the baby strapped to me because I can dance under the guise of trying to calm her/lull her to sleep rather than because DANCING IS REALLY FUN. So yeah, there was no hand-holding and I don’t even think hand-holding lady was there so everything was fiiiine.
We arrived late as standard and Roma needed feeding, but Babu was more than happy to get stuck in without me, bouncing around on the little coloured floor mats while I sat at the side surrounded by baby paraphernalia. But despite my initial absence (which Babu is more than used to dealing with four months on from the baby’s arrival), the emphasis here is very much on children and carers dancing together and social interaction, which is quite refreshing when your kid gets to two or three and the focus of most dance and movement-type classes seems to shift to them doing things for themselves, independent of their parent or carer. I’m all for promoting independence, but tbh there is plenty of time for that later down the line, and besides I wanna dance with my kid (and when I say dance I mean wobble around awkwardly trying to avoid eye contact incase someone senses my discomfort).
Family Fridays is said to take inspiration from Sadler’s Wells’ “ever-changing artistic programme”, although to be honest I have no idea what was going on at the theatre when we did the class. There was definitely a little bit of everything in there, with plenty of props to play with, and both traditional ballet and more modern street-dance moves included. Babu doing a shoulder spin (the one where they spin in a circle on the floor… had to look up the name) was the most hilarious thing ever, and she definitely has the attitude to pull off a a cool-girl arms-folded breakdance stance, but my absolute favourite bit was when they all reenacted the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy from The Nutcracker, complete with sparkly wands. Too. Much. Cute.
Where and When?: Family Fridays take place at 2pm on the last Friday of each month at Sadler’s Wells on Rosebery Avenue in Islington, which is a six-minute walk from Angel tube.
Best Bits: Much cheaper than a lot of dance classes in much crappier venues, and you don’t have to commit to paying for a block of classes.
Worst Bits: Struggling to think of any.
Facilities: Step-free access, buggy-parking space, baby changing.
Would We Do it Again?: I think we can just about commit to an hour each month. Maybe.
Babu and Mae hop like bunnies at Family Fridays, Sadler’s Wells, Islington.