The dangers of the local tea dance

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Entertainers like pianist Warren White and juggler Errol Bulling may be too much for local elderly, a council event planner warns.

A “safety management plan” for Queenstown Lakes District Council’s Summerdaze holiday programme spells out the danger to senior citizens attending a “Tea Dance” at Frankton’s Wakatipu Home for the Elderly on January 19.

The event is billed as “an afternoon of light music and refreshments…nostalgia and toe-tapping for the young at heart”.

Yet the knees-up carries a degree of peril, council contractor EveNZ warns.

Under a column headlined “risks”, EveNZ say their Tea Dance may cause “health-related problems triggered by elevated heart rates”.

Veteran old folks entertainer Bulling (83) says it’s bureaucracy gone mad.

“Oh hell, yes, we’re not that fragile.”

Bulling adds there are even some old rock ‘n’ rollers in the elderly audiences he and White entertain.

But his repertoire is “just quiet background music really”.

So senior citizens are unlikely to get over-excited? “Oh no, I play all the old songs – like Danny Boy.”

Tea Dance organisers say while the risk is low, they’ll take no chances.

Under the heading “mitigation”, their safety management plan intones: “Caregivers [will be] on hand.”

They might also have added that the old folks’ home where the Tea Dance will be held is right next door to Lakes District Hospital.