One of the reasons I love where I live is because it’s so easy and quick to drive to a lot of places. Within an hour I can be in about 7 counties. So while there are no modern jive classes in my nearest towns, with a 45 minute drive I can be at any number of venues.
My aim on getting back to dance was to go to 2 sessions a week, a freestyle and a class night. This rarely works out (husband who’s a farmer means there’s little planning on when he’ll be turning up at home to look after our 6 year old), but if I don’t make one night I’d planned, at least I have the choice of plenty of other venues.
I’ve been saying for the past year I want to get back to west coast swing having not done it in 6 years. This week was going to be the week, but a headache got in the way. So I remembered Ceroc Beds and Bucks had their new Wednesday night venue, and decided I’d try that one. I’ve been to their Buckingham classes and freestyles a few times, and found that everyone’s really friendly, and Marc’s classes are usually nice to follow and learn.
Kings Centre class review
The venue is the Kings Community Centre in Wolverton which was easy enough to find. There’s plenty of free parking in the Agora car park opposite, so no trekking alone through dark streets late at night when you leave. It’s an old building, and quite dark, with the main classes running upstairs. There’s a downstairs room used for the beginner review class and a second freestyle room later on.
The beginners class was already underway when I arrived. The room isn’t that large, but was well filled with what looked like a good number of beginners alongside longer term dancers. The wristband method is used for taxis to identify beginners, and there were plenty of beginners on the freestyle floor after the class.
With that night being Marc’s 15th anniversary of teaching ceroc, and the announcement that it would be a retro lesson and music night my heart fell a bit. I like a mix of music, but I’m not keen on dancing to older pop music. I needn’t have worried too much about the music, because while the music in the class wasn’t my cup of tea, I heard plenty of freestyle music from my earlier years of ceroc 8-9 years ago that I still listen to and am happy to dance to.
The class had 3 rows and no one seemed to struggle for space. Marc and Rachel were easily visible from where I was halfway down the room, and with men moving on and some sitting out waiting for the freestyle there was going to be plenty of dancing for me later on rather than fighting for dances. Marc went totally old school for the moves, with arm jives, pretzel variations, accordians and more. It was far removed from the style of classes I’m now used to going to. It was good to refresh my memory, although it was a definite intermediate level class, so a mix of people in the class meant some getting it and others struggling a bit.
With celebration cakes, plenty of free drinks and the fans well in play, I again found the freestyle quite friendly. Most venues I visit I tend to do all the asking, but like at Buckingham, I was being asked more than I was asking. That’s a nice treat. Most people were quite chatty as well. In the main room there were classic tunes played from Latin to euro pop, from country to Michael Jackson. I wanted to hear some more modern music so headed downstairs for most of the freestyle to check out Rachel’s chilled out tunes.
For a 2nd room on a class night there was a reasonable number of people, and enough to get some dances with a range of abilities. This was probably helped by the drinks and cake being in the same room, but that’s not a bad thing. Anything to encourage more people to get used to dancing to a broader range of music. I had some lovely dances in there, and it was nice to chat to people as well, something I rarely do with strangers at freestyles because there’s usually friends to catch up with.
It was an enjoyable night, with some familiar faces and hopefully a lot of beginners who’ll stick it out and continue growing the dance community. For me the drive wasn’t too bad at just under an hour, it’s cheaper than all the other venues I go to, so I’m sure I’ll be back at some point when I want an alternative venue.
If you’re not far from Milton Keynes and looking for somewhere new to try out, this class is worth a look.
Wednesdays at Kings Community Centre, Wolverton, 7.45-10.45pm