The Dancers

(pictures courtesy of The Sunday Times)

My first visit to The Twisted Wheel was memorable for many reasons, not least the quality of dancers on display. 

For me, it was a unique experience seeing people dancing freestyle, unaccompanied, in circles or in rows, clapping in unison with the beat. The truly great dancers, like Frank Booper, could spin from one room to the other, just like a tornado.

The most popular movement was to slide across the floor from side to side. Booper gave me a quick lesson one evening, "pull your right knee across your left, move it back, slide to your right, then to your left......". He was amazing! Where are you now Frank? 

Then there were the acrobats, who would do backflips and press ups as the instrumental part of the record kicked in.

The influence must have come from the American Air Force bases which were peppered throughout England during the Cold War.

Words and photographs could never do those dancers justice because you had to be there - in a club with great music, like minded people and  loads of atmosphere. 

When respected music journalist, Dave Godin, visited the Twisted Wheel Club in 1970, he couldn't believe his eyes. In his follow up article he eulogised about events surrounding his trip and made reference to an evening of Northern Soul music. It was a term never before used, but one that would soon be known throughout the country.

Above is an example of a dancer at Wigan Casino in 1977 - all that's missing is the beatin' rhythm.

Notes thanks to David Meikle.



This website is dedicated to Detroit, Soul Music, 45 RPM, Northern Soul and the great Motown era of Detroit Musics. It covers Golden World, Tamla, Wheelsville, Robert West, Darrell Banks, Johnnie Mae Matthews, Rose Battiste, Tera Shirma, Fred Bridges, Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Edwin Starr, Funk Brothers, Dennis Coffey, Bob Babbitt, James Jamerson, Twisted Wheel, Wiggan Casino and many more Detroit Souls topics.