The Localist

Slow dancing in Tempe


I love that Sydney is full of surprises. With so many cultures in one city, there is always something enticing and unexpected bubbling away below its sleek and polished surfaces.

Like the Concordia Club in Tempe, for example. If you’ve ever wondered where you can go to do the chicken dance, then a slow waltz, in between mouthfuls of pork knuckle, glugs of German beer and a game of croquet in Sydney, then this is surely the place for you.

We were introduced to the Concordia Club a few years ago thanks to our friends Bron and Dave. The club has been around since 1883, moving from its original location in Stanmore to its current home in Tempe some time in the last century.  It’s the sort of place you can go to forget that you live in a city obsessed with the body beautiful and the latest ‘it’ small bars and cafes.

Every now and then we go there on a Sunday afternoon. Sure, I am always impressed by the pork knuckle and that amazing crackling. But there is another reason why I’m drawn to this place.

The dancing.

As I watch people of all ages take each other by the hand for a gentle waltz, or laugh and joke while doing the chicken dance, I can’t help but feel content. There is real joy and beauty in this kind of dancing. People are itching to move once the music starts, and the dance floor fills with couples, kids, people navigating their way towards the bar who just get caught up in the moment. It reminds me of a bygone era, when dancing wasn’t just a by-product of alcohol, or something we watch really skilful people do on TV.

I once met an elderly lady who gave me the impression that dancing was once a much bigger part of people’s lives in Sydney. She spoke of dance halls in Newtown that have been closed now for decades, and the thrill of putting on your best dress and heading out, never knowing who might ask you to dance. I thought of her while I was sitting at one of the long tables in the Concordia Club, barely making a dent in my massive pork knuckle, watching the young and old shake or waltz their way around the dance floor. She loved dancing.





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