As a dancer, it’s always sad when another ballroom or dance venue closes, and over the last year there’s been a few. In particular in our area, the Rover Club in Oxford saw its last dance night in April. Those monthly nights were always packed out on the large dancefloor, and with a (seriously cheap) bar, and plenty of tables and seating it was a really great dance venue.
Luckily the Oxford area has a new freestyle night to replace it. Yes, not only do we have the ceroc freestyles (monthly at the town hall in Oxford, and more sporadically through the year elsewhere), as well as Jive+ and their TFI Fridays for more challenging music for more advanced dancers. But Jive+ have now opened their Jive MegaMix night. The first one was this weekend, and even though it clashed with the first England Euros match and a Ceroc weekender, it was well attended with plenty of good dancers to dance with.
The music on the first night was from Graham Kingham in the upbeat jive room, and John Dunlop in the chill out room. Yes, 2 rooms.
The main room was buzzing. What was great was that the music really was a mix. Not all clubby beats that many moan about as being typical modern jive music, there were also tracks that would have been at home at TFI Friday nights. There was definitely something for everyone and I did have some wonderful dances with both people I knew and those new to dance with.
I didn’t stay long in the chill out room – I had a chat with friends for a while, and a couple of dances, but I always find it quite hard to get on the dance floor especially when lots of people were sitting chatting (and cooling down from the heat of the main room. It’s nice to have that option, and there was a mix of music when I was there. It wasn’t all typical blues but I was surprised that there were more west coast swing dancers giving it a go given they had had a mention on the promotion for the second room.
I was surprised when I walked in to find the main room wasn’t going to be opened up in to the larger room like it is for TFI Friday. It was crowded for the first hour until the chill out room opened and people made their way off in that direction. It then meant more room on both dance floors and I didn’t find it an issue for space. Yes like at every freestyle there were a couple of people oblivious to everyone around them, but generally I didn’t spot too much in the way of horrendous floorcraft.
Because of the 2 rooms, the bar was out of their usual little cubby hole, so it was easier to access. But there’s still tap water provided, plus nibbles and cakes later on in the evening.
The only downside – the heat. And that’s just British weather and lack of air conditioning in buildings here. There were fans and open doors, but the heat still hit you as you walked in. A change of top was definitely an essential half way through the night. And my nicely coiffeured hair from my hair appointment just had to be tied back to keep cool.
My Dances of the night
(Both with local dancers):
Uprising (Muse) – I love the track, and had an epic dance to it.
Black Velvet – One of the tracks I always seem to have great dances to and it certainly delivered on the night.
Surreal moment of the night
Dancing to a track about jungle beats to spot a little newt type creature wandering across the floor under our feet. Promptly rescued by my dance partner and back to the dance.
Jive Megamix is a monthly freestyle and I’ll definitely have it in the calendar each month.