When you first start a dance class, if it’s a new style to you, you’re never sure what it’s going to be like. I was 2 years into salsa before someone there tried to get me to a modern jive class. I went along thinking it might be fun, but really didn’t enjoy it.
My first experience was at a local independent class. The teaching wasn’t great, the beginner review class was held in a carpeted bar area, and the taxi dancers weren’t very inspiring. I was bored, and once the freestyle bit started, I had one dance with a taxi dancer, and other than that just ended up talking to a friend.
I was then persuaded to go to a freestyle – where I was mostly in awe of some of the dancers, was a bit scared to ask anyone to dance, and I think I had 2 dances (one with a salsa friend, and another admittedly nice one with a stranger) before leaving. It wasn’t my thing, not helped by it feeling like everyone were all about 30 years older than me.
But 6 months later a Ceroc class started up locally and friends again dragged me along. This time I was converted. The teacher was lively and fun, there was improver class rather than beginner reviews as the venue was a new one, and with lots of other new people, the freestyle was more friendly. I was hooked, especially with the friendly nature compared with my experience of salsa freestyles.
I ended up giving up salsa and doing ceroc several times a week, being a taxi dancer and demo, and then after a 5 year break, loving it as much as ever.
So despite previously having no idea what ceroc or modern jive was beforehand, there’s certainly a lot to learn and loads to enjoy. If you’re debating starting dance classes, modern jive is definitely one to try. Even if you’ve already danced before you can still get lots out of it.
9 things I didn’t know before I did Ceroc:
1, Dance is addictive
I loved dance before (having had more years in my life dancing than not), but now I’m older, and less self conscious than I was as a child or teen, I can let go a bit more and enjoy it without exams and pressure to be perfect. I’d dance every day given the chance, and there’s certainly plenty of other people I know who dance 4+ times a week.
2, Despite my initial confusion at having no footwork, it really is as easy it it sounds
Ok, so they say there’s no footwork, but it really is easier if you step back on a particular foot, and if you’ve got good technique for turns and spins. But not being able to do that doesn’t mean you can’t dance.
Coming from salsa, it confused me at first because I wanted to be taught more on where to put my feet, but once you get that you just step, it makes a lot more sense.
3, You start listening to music in a different way
I’ve always listened to music a lot, having been classically music trained playing various instruments, as well as in swing bands, but my eclectic music taste has been broadened since I started ceroc. Most music I now listen to on the basis of ‘can I dance to it?’ or not. Let’s just say, I’ve got a full ipod and spent a lot on downloads over the years. And there’s always more music to discover and appreciate by going to different freestyles and venues.
And I listen to music in term of beats, lyrics and phrasing, as well as remembering the dream dances I’ve had when I hear certain tracks.
4, Your social life changes
If you get hooked and start dancing several times a week, dance basically ends up being your social life. Dance is what you’ll see on social media, you’ll check out Facebook for all the different dance events going on. Where you may have spent your weekends going out for meals or to the pub, you’ll now (probably drink less), and spend your weekends dancing and travelling to dance events.
Oh, and not forgetting weekenders. It’s like reverting back to uni days where like minded people are in a bubble all getting the same buzz from dance.
5, You’ll talk about dance A LOT
When I did salsa I did one class a week and maybe a monthly freestyle. But I don’t recall it taking over my life. With ceroc, I would talk about it to everyone, and now I’m getting the same buzz with west coast swing. I think my work colleagues are probably a bit bored.
Top tip – have an elevator pitch about what dancing you do to explain to friends and colleagues have no idea.
6, Shopping habits change
Now most of the time I’m shopping for non-essentials, I’m always thinking ‘can I dance in this?’. Oh, and you might find you like collecting dance shoes.
7, You’ll gain more confidence and body awareness
When you learn to partner dance you have to get over the body contact with strangers awkwardness. Once over that, and you become more confident in your dance ability, you’ll think less about how you look as a person and more about how you’re dancing. You see all shapes and sizes dancing. And with people being admired for their dancing rather than size or looks, it gives people with little body confidence that they can dance whatever they look like.
Dancing also makes you more aware of your body. Whether you have injuries or are just learning moves and understanding how partners can move together, there’s a raised awareness of your body and how it’s moving compared with non-dancers who’ve never had to move their body a certain way.
8, You’ll start noticing other people dance
And you’ll notice people dancing a lot more, so you can get styling ideas or check out different moves. You’ll also spot other modern jivers at weddings and parties. If you can’t spot dancers in real life, you might even start watching dance clips on YouTube. I rarely use YouTube for watching videos…except for dance.
9, You have close connections and experiences with strangers
This is what most non-dancers just don’t get. Dancing with strangers.
Whether it’s a fun dance, or a serious one, if you click and both ‘get’ the music in the same way, you’ll get a real high. It’s that high that brings you back to modern jive time and time again
What have you learnt since doing taking up ceroc or modern jive?