Lettice Hagan

Posted on July 14 2021


‘Dance like no one’s watching.’ Isn’t that how the expression goes? We certainly couldn’t have done without that in lockdown. The simple kitchen disco; a chance to let off steam when bars, nightclubs and theatres were hermetically sealed shut. This is why we made the GROOVY t shirt: to celebrate the joy of dancing.

After designing the t-shirt, I had a serendipitous meeting with a friend, the fantastic choreographer Lynne Page. Coincidentally she had been volunteering with a dance group where she lives who meet regularly, not just to dance but even more poignantly as part of a bigger project to fight loneliness and social isolation in the elderly. This dance group is an offshoot from the POSH Club; a performance club for older folk- a way to keep people connecting and having fun.  POSH Club, appeals specifically to the working class demographic attracting weekly guests to a Ritz-style afternoon tea, with black tie waiters and waitresses and cabaret style entertainment. ‘We’re the only event where someone was rushed to hospital because they forgot to take their drugs’.

The wonderful ladies who I met are all volunteer waitresses who have secretly met together and will surprise the guests at one of their next events with this dance that Lynne has been helping them with. The atmosphere in the church hall was electric. The joy on their faces when they had finished their run-through was infectious. I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. They didn’t bat an eyelid at wearing the Groovy t shirt, rather they embraced another opportunity to dress up and be part of something together.

In 2015, the results of the first scientific study on loneliness was released. It suggested that loneliness could increase premature death by 25% (the equivalent to 15 cigarettes a day). In addition to this, dancing releases endorphins to give us a natural high. Dopamine, a powerful motivator for connection surges in response to isolation and consequently drives us to seek companionship (Vivek H.Murphy ‘Together’.) These ladies have found a way to connect and be happy which is so simple yet so incredibly powerful.

Anna, the dynamic leader is a true hero. During Covid, she formed a small bubble and went door to door with tea and music or entertainment. At a time when people were desperate to connect socially and yet when our enemy could literally be at the door, she brought joy and lifted the spirits. These ladies aren’t just GROOVY, they completely rock.

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