Non dancer friends are always surprised by how far I travel for dancing. To them, their hobbies or exercise is done near home to ensure they do it. They’d never dream of joining a gym an hour away, or going to photography lessons each week 40 minutes away.
But modern jive dancers, and all those other social dancers, travel regularly for class and freestyles. To most people 30 minutes travel is normal, for others they’ll travel an hour. I even know someone who travels 2 hours to 1 class (that’s a bit insane for me because ceroc is never a 9 o’clock finish, it’s nearer 10.30-11).
True, there are some people I know who go dancing in their town and will never venture to another venue even if theirs closes down. I don’t really understand this because it’s about social dancing, so switching venues and trying out dancing with new people is part of what modern jive is about. But most who are serious about their dance will travel to get their fix.
There’s obvious reasons why dancers travel.
1, Availability of classes.
Dancing isn’t like going to the gym where there’s several to choose from in every town. Even for a large company like ceroc, there may only be one class per town a week across a county or larger. Add in a dancer’s work and family commitments where the local class might clash, and that means to dance = travelling.
2, To attend a specific class.
Some teachers are worth travelling for, whether it’s the style, the teaching ability, the attention given or the level that the dancer requires.
3, Other dancers
There’s no point dancing if there’s no one available to dance with. Some venues have a great gender balance, others don’t so people travel to those where they’ll get a good number of dancers. I know there are certain freestyles I go to where some of my favourite dancers go, so of course I want to head there to get some consistently good dancers.
4, The music
Each DJ has their own style, brings different music to the venue, and reads the floor in different ways. If dancers like a certain DJ, they’ll follow where they’re playing. Some play classic old style upbeat music, others play more of a mix of genres, and if you want smoother chill out tracks you’ll travel to freestyles which offer that.
5, The challenge
If you stick to the same venue you’ll get stuck in a rut, so travelling elsewhere means you learn from different teachers, different dancers, and improve all the time.
When I taxi danced, we’d get a lot of beginners coming through the door saying they wanted to lose weight but would only dance once a week. That’s not going to be sufficient to get fit and lose weight. So anyone using dance for fitness is likely to want several classes a week, and will need to travel.
7, The love of dance
If you love to dance but have no classes nearby, you’ve no choice but to travel. The buzz draws you in, and you’ll find your way elsewhere if you really love it.
As for me. I travel a fair amount to dance. When I started salsa, I learnt in my local town, then the class closed down and I occasionally travelled to Oxford. Similarly with ceroc I started in Banbury, moved to Bicester, then Kidlington, Oxford and Chipping Norton (only 2 of these evenings still exist). Now there are no classes local to me so I might travel to Buckingham or Abingdon for classes which are both under 45 minutes. For freestyles I’ll also travel – Daventry, High Wycombe, Wantage, Buckingham and Oxford (usually up to 1 ¼ hours). In the past a group of us would also travel to Hammersmith and Uxbridge. Sharing journeys is definitely the way to travel to dance, especially when coming back late at night.
Yes, my non dancing friends think I’m nuts, but they’ve not experienced the buzz of dance and know that it’s worth the journey every time.
How far do you travel to dance? What do your friends think of the travel you do for dancing?