Dancers/DJ Club History
"The Electric Ballroom"- Andrea Nurse Lemard
Gosh Ballroom!!! A lifetime ago and yet if I take myself back what a rush. The first time there was such great anticipation and the excitement bubbled over as we managed to find someone to drive us from the leafy suburbs of West London to Camden; we stepped out into the most vibrant place I had ever encountered after 10pm at age 16.
There I was with my friend Debbie, in heels and a skirt, never again. As I walked to the door and saw how the bouncers were dealing with the "yout" boys I got scared, they looked mean, nothing like the bouncers in Richmond and Kingston, but we breezed through...
Oh my goodness!! Gary & Seymour had not exaggerated and we saw everyone imaginable from Covent Garden and the rest, I'll never forget looking down at those red carpeted stairs, the ones that I was to climb for the next few years every Friday night, without fail, sod the boyfriends and whoever else wanted to keep me from going.
The Electric Ballroom was to become my haven, a place where I finally belonged, even though I was in the midst of a few hundred strong young urbanites I felt at peace. I could express myself and I have never laughed so much. As for the all-nighters... I could go on and on and on, but you know what, you just had to be there, it's that simple.
When I recall those times nothing compares to the Electric Ballroom, perhaps because she was my first love, I don't know, Babylon, Dingwalls, The Wag, Zoo, Nightmoves, Mistry dances, I tried the lot but still, nothing could match the intangible quality of the nights passed at The Electric Ballroom.
We were a family, as nauseating as that sounds, once you were on the street anywhere in London and that connection was made you were in, you belonged, even with Head Bouncer Maurice (well in my case anyway)!!
Aahh, seeing Lisa Lisa, Full Force, Afrika Bambataa, Dougie Fresh 'live', then the jazz boys upstairs, the mad battles which I hardly understood, it was a different world, but one where individuality was revered not shunned. I remember the jazz dancers who always protected me, especially Seymour, my safety net. I mean I could just roll on, but I'm probably gushing.
From the initial euphoria and anticipation to the falling in love stage, getting familiar and increasingly deepening the relationship, to the day The Ballroom broke my heart and the love affair ended. I think I actually cried when they said they were stopping and moving it to Kings Cross.
Oh I've had good times since but there still remains that wistful feeling of what once was, that can never be again. I am glad and honoured that I was a part of what I believe to be the most exciting time both musically and creatively in London... the early 1980s.