From Hot Gossip To 'Hot Flush'
Mature dancers can 'still have what it takes' says member of the 1970s group
When the dance group Hot Gossip burst onto television screens in the quirky ‘Kenny Everett’ show in the late 1970s, they were sexy and energetic. The dance group was set up by Arlene Phillips, who went on to be a judge on BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing'.
Alison Hierlehy, who danced with Hot Gossip from the age of seventeen for five years, never expected she would still be high-stepping all these years later. The 52-year-old dancer-turned choreographer- has formed a dance group, Hot Flush, of nearly two dozen women aged from 45 to 70.
Alison (known as Ali) who lives in Hammersmith and walks her dog in Chiswick House along with Chiswick friend Jayne Beaumont, is excited about the direction the dance group is moving. Women are now travelling from as far as Brighton to attend the dance class based in Shepherd's Bush Village Hall.
Molly Molloy, a choreographer ( nd Tony award winner) who first trained Arlene Phillips and who trains the Hot Flush group from time to time, finds the group "a complete inspiration". She says that behind every middle-aged woman is a "baby ballerina" who had aspirations in childhood but never had them fulfilled.
Hot Gossip burst onto the television scene in 1978 and were noted for the risque nature of their costumes and the dance routines.
Alison left Hot Gossip aged twenty-two and went on to have careers in publishing and events production/management. But she wanted to keep up dancing for pleasure and found it difficult to find the right type of class. She finally decided to set up her own class and it has been a big success.
The first public performance of Hot Flush was to raise funds for charity The Breast Cancer Haven.
"The Breast Cancer Haven is a charity dear to our hearts as four of the girls in Hot Flush have had this terrible illness", says Alison. The Hot Flush show also features friends and individuals who are realising their own long-held dreams of performing, whether as poet, comedian or singer.
Alison said: "I just love it. All the women find it gives them great joy and confidence. After conquering the fear of stepping out on stage they seem to have the confidence to conquer anything. The audiences are all my age or younger and they think we’re incredibly brave and beautiful.
"Let’s face it we’re not professional and we’re hardly in the first flush of youth, we’re all shapes and sizes. But at a time when we hear so much about ageing this is really life affirming. It’s like saying: 'This is the way we are and we’re fabulous'. We’re not technically brilliant but we are entertaining. We make audiences smile and laugh and we’re good role models – we’re showing that women our age still have what it takes and we’re a force to be reckoned with!"
June 10, 2014