Ready to shake your tail feathers? Rockshot would like to introduce you to a very special group of gals… They can mash potatoes, they can do the twist and we are sure you are going to love them… Meet The Meyer Dancers!
The Meyer Dancers are a troupe of 60s and 70s go-go dancers based in London, they will glam up music videos, dance on stage with bands and even teach classes! We had the opportunity to sit down and chat to Cherry and Eleanor, and they told us all about their love for the 60s, their inspiration and their plans to take over the world…
How did they get started? And how long have they been around? Cherry, one of the founding members remembers told us more “we started in 2010. Treacle and I met at a dance school, and we were studying contemporary dance, but we were more interested by 60s and 70s music. We were just fascinated when we came across some footage of the old go-go dancers… We were so adamant to recreate the spirit and the soul of the original go-go movement. It was through original videos and our passion for the music that we got into it and started The Meyer Dancers!”
So where does the go-go movement come from I asked Cherry and she replied with the grooviest history lesson “The word go-go literally comes from the meaning of “go-go-go” – usually referencing a high energy person, and was influenced by the French expression à gogo, meaning abundance and joy! The go-go movement started back at the famous West Hollywood night club Whisky A-Go-Go.
There were a lot of troupes like the Hullaballoo Dancers, the Gazzarri Dancers and performers like Lada Edmund Junior and Sandy Sarjeant who were some of the most well known, and used to dance with live bands. It quickly spread over to Europe, France with the Ye Ye Music Movement. In the UK, there was Pan’s People who came around the late-sixties and lasted through to the late seventies. Every troupe had their own style, and we really take inspiration from them all.”
Eleanor adds “we do different styles of 60’s dance : mod, yeye, psych,… because there was so much going on back then…We usually find a song we like and each one of us will put their own style into it!”. Everyone put a unique touch in the movement and created individual go-go ways, which became an influence for The Meyer Dancers.
“There’s the American style of go-go, with Whisky A-Go-Go, of course. The British style was heavily influenced by Northern Soul, which was something completely different… I believe that go-go was a continuation of the 1950’s burlesque, and it went off to a different direction, more towards the music and the bands. It started off really neat but then it got really wild and a bit more free in the mid and late sixties!” interjected Cherry.
The Meyers Dancers are a very tight group of friends. Eleanor explains “I met Treacle when we were about 12 at a contemporary dance school and we became friends because we both loved vintage. We would go shopping together, and later on, we’d drink red wine and wear berets and red lipstick. We were very chic… (laughs). And then, I joined a few years after Cherry and Treacle started. I’m a photographer at the V&A Museum – we are all working in arts.”
There isn’t anything the Meyer Dancers won’t do! “Everybody in the Meyers has a huge passion for the 60’s, and we all have different dance backgrounds. We are six permanent members, but about 8 to 10 in total. We are very flexible for bookings and we all have different styles to all bring something unique at every occasion!” says Cherry.
She went on to describe that sharing their love for dance and also for the 60s and 70s is as important to them as their support for one another. “I think that in today’s society, people are very disconnected, but back then, there was a lot of revolution and a sense of one-ness that people are craving now. The Meyer Dancers are very supportive of each other, we all have meetings and brainstorm together, we really are like sisters”.
“And we try to transmit that connection to others through our classes and see the people at our classes form their own sisterhood through the same passion for the 60s era… As a teacher, I like seeing people’s journey into go-go dancing, and seeing friendships forming during the classes. It is really nice to witness that sense of one-ness in our classes, and I cannot wait for our next ones.”
Looking to start shimmying and shaking like the Meyer Dancers? Cherry and Eleanor’s best advice is to just turn up and let loose! “We want our classes to be accessible to everybody and we want you to have a really good time! Dance is a natural stress reliever, and 60s music is very happy and energetic, so you will get a really good vibe. We love bringing everybody together, and rekindling our love for the 60s! Our classes are open to everyone regardless of previous experience.”
Where can you find the Meyer Dancers? “After popular demand, we have an extended class term coming up in September. There will be an 8-week term at the Islington Arts Factory, a great community-friendly venue near Holloway Road… We also love performing at festivals and you can see us again at Handel & Hendrix’s Woodstock Anniversary on the 16th of August!”
Here’s the story of the grooviest girls in London today! If you would like more info about the next classes, click here. Have a look at their Facebook, Instagram and website and you can catch them going wild on a stage near you!
Interview & Photography with Meyer Dancers by Pauline Di Silvestro, August 2019