nightcliff dance floor - for all age groups to enjoy

by Anne

Nightcliff Bendigo Bank has asked for "big ideas", so here's one:


The Nightcliff Bendigo Bank could provide, or contribute to something which would endure as a permanent icon - in Nightcliff itself, with an appropriate plaque to evidence the contribution of local people who bank with Bendigo Bank.

Why Nightcliff? Nightcliff has the largest density of population of the Darwin area, and the Nightcliff Sports Club is currently expanding its facilities (I believe via financial loans) to include more sports and social activities. The current large bistro area will become redundant when a new restaurant is built on the other side of the club.

A grant to enable the current small parquetry dance floor to extend across the entire current bistro area would give a floor of ballroom proportions, which would benefit all age groups for dancing, weddings, etc.

Most large cities have an iconic ballroom for large dances. The old Town Hall was demolished after Cyclone Tracy, the famous "Green Room" was bulldozed, and the Italian Club was leased out for commercial activities. All we now have is a privately leased floor at Fannie Bay, which could close for office space at any time, and the newly refurbished Parap Railway Club which has a part dance floor beside the pool tables.

Most government funding seems to go to sport and activities for young people. Darwin is already very well catered for with sports facilities - many millions are spent on dedicated facilities for basketball, football, hockey, the Marrara Complex etc. Many have wooden floors which sit vacant for most of the day and night as dancing is not allowed on them.

Sports facilities tend to service only about 10 to 20 years of sporting activities for those of a specific healthy, young age group.

However, young people over their whole lifetime are far better catered for with dance floors - beginning with their very early school age, teenage, young adult, adult and on to their senior years.

For young children and teenagers, dance and music were some of the first primitive activities which lead to group enjoyment and trust.

Dance provides close hand and eye contact in a safe social setting, an experience which allows us to develop judgement and skills to deal with other human beings.

The impact on very young school children is good. No matter what race, background or mental ability - the children quickly socialise, learn to touch and enter the private space of another person and from this grows respect, trust, tolerance and friendship - essential life skills.

Politically, dancing crosses multiple portfolios - health, social, cultural....and the socialising aspect improves tolerance, integration and crime prevention.

With a growing older population, dancing has an enormous beneficial effect on dementia and depression, not to mention the physical aspects of balance and mobility.

People in their 80's and 90's are still dancing in our community. Seniors have the children off their hands, have more time and more money to spend dancing, and they use dance floors both daytime and evening time. Good facilities might halt the trend for retirees (bank customers!) to retire down south.

I believe that this would be the "best way to partner with the community for the benefit of the whole community - and for all age groups.

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