A bit of a different sort of day today: no theatre but ceilidh dancing for 3-7 year olds with Ceilidh Kids as part of the free fringe and considerably more exercise in an hour than in the last 4 days put together (not least in lugging a sleeping Morven and her pushchair up two and a half flights of stairs).
Definitely, definitely worth the exertion though. In spite of the heat, we managed to keep Arlo just about focused for the entire class which Bristol friends familiar with our Friday morning efforts will know is no mean feat. No sign of his signature, 'lie down in the middle of the floor mid-dance' move, which is just as well as he would have been quickly trampled by the many, many ceilidhing kids, mums, dads and grandparents with whom we shared the room. I was very grateful that we had our own granny Annie in tow. Full participation was expected (and in large part required) of accompanying adults and burling one child while carrying another proved an exertion too far for me.
I flipping love a ceilidh though and was really delighted that, for the most part, Arlo seemed really up for it too. Counting (to eight, repeatedly), marching, holding hands and spinning are all right up his street and I was fascinated to observe just how early the compulsion to interpret, 'turn your partner', as an invitation to try and break some kind of land speed record kicks in ('Faster mummy! Now let's go even faster!') It is a compulsion I remember very fondly from every school PE dance class and Christmas party (and perhaps from one or two rather more recent weddings too). And while this was the only festival outing so far which looked at points like it might end in tears (during one of the dances mid way, there were definitely a number of flailed arms, stomped feet and grimaces that the caller hadn't called), it also earned the fullest-faced smiles and certainly worked up the most sweat. The potential to exhaust an audience isn't something I'd have previously valued when deliberating over the Fringe programme but now that the rain has arrived and the parks are a little soggy it is definitely something I will look for again. Very strongly recommend.