It’s not often I have friends to go along to dancing with, but for the October Daventry Blue and sparkle freestyle run by Ceroc Passion, I had 2 dancing friends in tow. Neither of them have been dancing regularly for a while, and certainly hadn’t been to a Daventry event for a long time so it was going to be interesting to see how we all enjoyed it.
If you’re within travelling distance and fancy an event that’s nearly a weekender, then Daventry is one to check out. It’s run quarterly, held in the leisure centre and now has 3 rooms. A main room, chill out room and a room for tango. Resident DJs are Rob Ambridge in the main room with guest DJ Roy Blewitt this time. Marc Forster and Rachel Pears in the chill out room, with the tango slot being filled by Darren Taylor. With the dancing starting at 8pm and running through til 3am, there’s a lot of dancing to be had.
Lots of people like a pretty venue (I’m certainly one of those), but the leisure centre holds up well enough. If you like blues dark and steamy then the chill out room has that in spades. And the main room is huge, with enough buzz and atmosphere to sometimes make you forget where you are. I’m fussy about floors but the main room is ok for dancing and spinning, despite it not being a proper dance floor.
We arrived around 8.30, meaning there were enough people around and dancing, but still managed to find a table to dump our stuff. It’s nice to have a base, although it’s a huge event so if you arrive later be prepared to share seats or just find a wall space to leave bags. I tend to flit between the 2 rooms (no experience in the tango room) depending on how I’m feeling and how much waiting around there is to find people to dance with. If you’re a follower and aren’t keen on asking for a dance, be prepared to sit out quite a bit as there’s usually quite a few more women than men.
(I have a post on getting a dance if you want some tips!)
The main room was more typically main room music this time compared with other times I’ve been. I prefer having the choice of 2 DJs because they do bring more variety of music. This time it was a little disappointing, with less variation. It just felt a bit middle of the road with not much really modern music, and not much that really got me smiling. We all felt the same – my friends generally prefer main room music while I’m more of a mix girl. Having said that, I did have a few lovely dances in the main room, and caught up with a couple of leaders I only ever see and dance with Daventry.
For me, the chill out room was preferred on this occasion, with the music more consistently my cup of tea. As always, I find it harder to get on the dancefloor in the chill out room because people tend to stay on the dance floor for more than one dance with the same partner. It feels like you can’t be as ruthless in heading across the dance floor to ask someone to dance. But it’s nice to be able to watch others dancing and cool off.
Again, there were some lovely dancers and I had a few really nice dances, one seemed surprised at the end how good it was (that’s my kind of dance), and another guy who liked the feel of our dance. It’s nice to be appreciated and sometimes surprise the people you dance with in a good way. Like any venue, you get a few dances with those who’ve not been dancing long, but this time these were fewer. Maybe I’m just getting more picky and am more focused on who I’m asking to dance.
Daventry also has the bonus of a free water bar, a cabaret, refreshments after the show, and paid bars. We never bother with the food, but a lot of people do and it always looks like people make the most of the socialising opportunity as well.
The cabaret this time was a mixed bag. It’s never just modern jive, and this time there were four dances. Two dances from Jenni and Matt with their Welsh champs putting on the ritz routine and another more hip hop style one. The Ritz one was more crowd pleasing although maybe neither were their best performances. I remember watching Jenni on the dancefloor at the Ceroc Champs way back when I started Ceroc, and always enjoyed watching her dance back then – I have to say I prefer watching her freestyle to these show dances.
The second cabaret show was a group of children Awetomic. All very cute, but I’d prefer to see something more ‘pro’ and grown up at a modern jive event.
The 3rd performers were Matt and Victoria who are the current Grand Masters. They’ve been dancing together for 3 years and did 2 freestyle pieces. Wow, they stole the show. Sometimes you just want to have the chance to watch amazing dancers do their thing and freestyle so it was a treat to watch.
Leaving the music still going, and dancers still on the floor, we headed home at 1am talking about the event most of the way home.
Two of the great things about Daventry freestyle are that you get a lot for your money – £15 on the door (early bird prices if you pay ahead) for 7 hours of dancing across 3 rooms, and you get a lot of visitors making the effort to go with it being once a quarter. I’m not sure it was as busy as usual in the main room, there were a few regulars I usually expect to see who weren’t there. But it was a good evening dancing as usual, and the December one will be going on the calendar.
Have you been to Daventry or any other Ceroc Passion freestyles? What do you like about them?