Interview by Jo Macdonald
Sometimes you get to chat to someone who is so vibrant and alive that you find yourself saying (like the lady in that infamous When Harry Met Sally café scene) ‘I’ll have what she’s having’. Rachel Hinton, CEO and Creative Founder of ‘The Boogie’ has exactly that kind of effect, her energy, ready laughter and joi de vivre is infectious. Lucky for us, she’s passionate about sharing what lights her up and keeps her smiling.
‘I’ve loved dancing my whole life…I can remember at 8 years old dancing to Michael Jackson (on vinyl) in the sitting room and just feeling this connection to myself…and really having this sense of something bigger than myself. Dance has been the constant throughout my whole life really.’
And it is this love of dancing that eventually led Rachel to set up dance nights exclusively for women under her company name of The Boogie. Like many of us Rachel enjoyed the club scene when younger but, after becoming a mum, those days moved into the past, until a post-Sunday lunch Boogie at home in the kitchen with her mum and daughter got her thinking about how amazing it would be if there was somewhere they could all go to dance together.
'I knew I wanted to dance again but nowhere appealed to me.’ So she set up a dance night for women in a local church hall with a DJ friend and called it ‘The Barefoot Boogie’. ‘It just grew and grew and I did it kind of every month for a couple of years and everyone loved it.’
After spending some time in Ibiza where she was ‘inspired by both the colourful and electric dance-music scene and equally the healing spirit, light and energy of this amazingly diverse island’ Rachel returned to the UK and rebranded as ‘The Boogie’. Based in Nottingham, these fun-filled dance nights for women are a place to enjoy ‘a boogie without the hassle, dance like nobody’s watching to great dance music, from the latest tracks to the ones we know and love from across the decades - in an atmosphere that’s friendly, relaxed and fun.’
Rachel says that one of the things she loves most about the evenings is the community that is being created. ‘I wanted to create a space where women could come together and really enjoy being together and have fun. Some really beautiful friendships have come from these evenings. Lots of women love to dance but they wonder if they’re too old, or there’s nowhere they want to go, so it feels exciting to be creating something new and fun. And you’re never too old, my daughter says I get younger as I get older, and I think it’s because I’m connecting more to my true spirit – to those things that I love and make me feel alive, and you know, it’s not about being younger it’s about feeling more alive. I really feel that in our forties we can do whatever we like, whatever’s inside of us.’
Proving that this is 100% true Rachel is also learning how to DJ, having first been interested in this in her 20’s she was put off by the negative comment of someone involved ‘I didn’t do it then…but now, I want to…and that’s the best reason for anything really. I’m not scared anymore…I feel more alive than I’ve ever felt in the whole of my life. I think our forties are amazing because we really know who we are, we’ve had a lot of life experience and we’ve got a lot to give. I still care what others think but I don’t let it influence my choices. We’re not so afraid to make mistakes or look silly in our forties, our successes and failures don’t define who we are anymore. In fact what may have seemed like a failure to us can often be our juiciest learning opportunity.’
2017 is already proving to be an exciting year for Rachel and The Boogie as she received a WOW! Award and then was contacted out of the blue and invited to audition for The Dragon’s Den. Although she won’t be in the final show she learnt a lot by going through the audition process, ‘it really showed me what I’ve got with The Boogie and helped me get super clear and dream bigger. It was also a real confidence boost and reminded me that life is extraordinary, anything can happen. I’m loving life after forty, I have a real sense of adventure and playfulness, I’ve got more energy, I feel like anything is possible and I’m hugely excited by life.’