Doris sees off youngsters in Headway’s dance marathon with her Hand Jive

Four women in their eighties thinking they were at a pensioners’ tea dance took the limelight at an annual Headway dancing marathon, seeing off the younger generation.

Doris Miller showed the yong’uns a thing or two when she won first prize for her hand jiving on Saturday.

She and her three friends didn’t expect an eight-hour dance marathon when they turned up at Bethnal Green’s York Hall.

It turned out to be Headway East London’s annual charity fundraiser with dance music progressing through eight decades hour-by-hour.

The ladies were ‘at home’ when the marathon started with 1940s swing and even the rocking 1950s.

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Doris came into her own with the Hand Jive, invented in a Soho coffee bar in 1957—when she was still in her 20s.

Judges were bowled over by her hand moves and clapping, like an elaborate version of Pat-a-cake with thigh slapping, cross-wrist slapping, fist pounding and jerky hitch-hike thumbing.

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“Doris was brilliant,” said Headway fundraiser Rosalind Crane. “The four ladies came in when they thought it was a tea dance—but had to give up when the marathon got to the jitterbugging 1970s!”

Among the youngest dancers were two-and-a-half-year-old Harrison, son of Headway therapist Nadia Fitzpatrick, and an 18-month-old girl tripping the light fantastic.

But probably youngest of all was still in the womb.

“My baby isn’t due for another five weeks—but seemed to enjoy jiggling about in my tummy,” added Rosalind. “I kept going until they played ‘Gotta Feeling’ and had to rest—so did the baby.”

The marathon is set to raise �15,000 for the charity’s unique brain injury day care centre in Shoreditch.

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