Was this the best Christmas Fun class ever?

Ceroc Heaven Christmas Party class nights are always fun, and this year the class at Grange Hall in Radcliife on Trent was no exception.  In fact it included a fun class that might go down in the history books as their most ‘Bonkers’ ever.  I’ll try to explain why,

The Twelve Days of Christmas fancy dress theme

To try to understand what actually happened on Monday night, we’d better start by explaining the fancy dress theme.  It’s one of the great Ceroc Heaven traditions that the last class before Christmas always has a fancy dress theme.  This year it was The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Now I’m sure you all know how this Christmas carol goes, but I’ll just remind you of some of the verses:

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love said to me, eleven Pipers piping . . . eight Maids a milking . . . and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Those of you who have been to Southport will know of Sue O’Reilly’s famous Penguin costume complete with yellow rubber gloves as feet.  Well, Sue reprised her role as a penguin and changed the words of the song to ‘… and a Penguin in a Pear Tree’!  Sue is probably the most bonkers of the Ceroc Heaven crew and this image of her waddling to the dance floor shows why.

Sue’s Penguin in a Pear Tree complete with pears

If that wasn’t enough madness Kali came as a Milk Maid.  Now I know what you’re saying – there’s nothing mad about dressing up as a Milk Maid.  Well there isn’t, but then Mark, her demo for the class, came dressed as a man on a Cow.  The madness came when The Milk Maid actually tried to milk Gertrude (that was the name of the cow apparently) on the stage.

Therein lay a problem.  The cow was actually a bull with horns!  Sadly there are no photos available of Kali actually attempting to milk this particular bull.  So much for Maids a milking!

Mark dressed as a Man on a Bull demo-ing with Kali

Mark demos the Short Neck-break while riding a bull

I think it’s fair to say that the Beginners Class part of the evening was relatively straight forward, though I spent most of it thinking that Gertrude was a strange name for a bull, but then the whole evening was a little strange anyway.

Oh, and while we are at it, have you ever seen a man lead a Short neck break while riding a bull.  This move is hard enough for the beginner men, let alone for someone trying to keep his balance on an unpredictable bull.  Bonkers or what!

Before I go any further I should perhaps mention The Piper piping.  DJ Mark as you know is almost as bonkers as his wife Sue, and so sure enough he came as a Scottish Bag Piper complete with tartan cap and kilt.  The bonkers bit was his bag pipes.  The pipes, attached to the bag, were apparently left overs from Mark’s last attempt at plumbing in a new toilet.

A freestyle session with other characters from the carol

Thankfully the Milk Maid and Gertrude the Bull completed the lesson and we were in to the first freestyle session.  This gave me a chance to spot some of the other characters from the carol.

There were two very pretty ladies in matching swirly satin dresses.  They were apparently the nine ladies dancing – though seven of them had obviously failed to show up.  Perhaps they were still hung over from the office party.

Actually I did spot a few other elegantly dressed ladies, but I don’t think there were nine.  Not surprising really, as I heard the office party was a bit of a Prosecco appreciation society.

Two other stand out characters were a very elegant Black Swan, for Seven Swans a Swimming, and a very nice lady with a chicken on her head.  I embarrassed myself by asking who she had come as:

Paul, I have a chicken on my head.  It is wearing the French Tricolour, and I also have a number three on my back, so surely its obvious

Ahh, I didn’t see the number three!  So that’s Three French Hens ticked off the list, well one French Hen actually.

One French Hen and one of the Nine Ladies Dancing and Al who had all the characters from the carol on his T-Shirt

A fun class on Tagging

The intermediate class was replaced, as is the tradition at Ceroc Heaven, with a fun class.  This time Kali chose to do Tagging.  I think I’d better explain Tagging before we go any further.  Tagging is where several lead men dance with one follower lady, though not at the same time obviously.  It can of course work the other way round with several ladies leading one man.

The idea is that one man starts off dancing with the lady, and then the second man interjects and takes over.  In this way the men take it in turns to dance with the lady. Done properly it is quite a spectacle to watch.  Here’s a video, taken a few years back at Southport, which shows the amazing possibilities this dance style offers.

Please get in to groups of three

In an ideal world everyone would get in to groups of one lady and two men.  But there is never going to be twice as many men as women, so the instruction came from the stage ‘groups of three – doesn’t matter if its two ladies one man.’  No reason why two ladies can’t lead a man is there!

I have actually done fun classes where the ladies lead the men.  It’s hilarious mainly because the men just can’t follow and inevitably turn the wrong way (sorry guys).  Best luck then to the guys who found themselves with two ladies!

Some guys got lucky with two ladies, but did they?

First decide who is the Milk Maid

Once in the groups of three everyone had to decide who they would follow on stage.  The two men or two ladies would be either Gertrude (the bull) or the Piper.  The single ladies or man would be The Milk Maid.  Right that sorted, here goes . . .

The lesson started fairly well as Kali, sorry The Milk Maid, demo-ed the first part of the move with Gertrude.  Then the idea was the Piper would interject and take over.  So far so good.

Now one Milk Maid on

One of the great successes of Ceroc classes is the way the ladies move up the lines, so that everybody gets to try the moves with different partners.  This also acts as a great social ice-breaker, and it’s one of the reasons that Ceroc classes are very friendly places to learn to dance.  After doing the first part of the routine the instruction comes from the stage, ‘One Milk Maid on.’

Now, remember that some of the Milk Maids are men.  Once the Milk Maids move up to the next set of two leads, suddenly we have groups of three men.  OK, it’s Christmas, we are here for a party.  We’ve left our inhibitions at home.  Hey, I can dance with a man – can I?

My, you’ve got big hands

I know the ladies will often take the lead in lessons when men are in short supply, but it’s very rare for men to dance together in the lines.  So it wasn’t surprising that there were a few embarrassed titters.  When ever I’ve danced with a man, the thing I notice is how big and rough their hands are.  I’ll never take ladies soft hands for granted again.

Enough of my inhibitions.  It was time to man up and get on with it, and that’s what everyone did, and we had the most amazing fun along the way, whether you were a Milk Maid, Gertrude or a Piper.  I must say a special well done to the male Milk Maids.  It will make a great story to tell the kids this Christmas.

The Milk Maid, slowly built up the routine as she first danced with the man on Gertrude who passed her to The Piper, who then made way for the man on the bull.  The Piper then stole The Milk Maid again, before setting up the finale which saw the Milk Maid propelled across the stage to finish with a spectacular lean against the man on Gertrude.

Tel’s fabulous photos capture the fun everyone was having

Tel was on hand with his camera to capture all the fun of the lesson and I’ll let his pictures illustrate the grand finale to the routine.  First The Milk Maid did a backward lean in to The Pipers chest – watch where those hands are going Mark – while the other Mark astride Gertrude prepared himself for his final big move.

Tel captured the hilarity on stage as the finale approaches

Now The Piper gently directed The Milk Maid forward to finish with a lean on the man still sat on the star of the show Gertrude.  This was a great display of comic timing from the two Marks and it went down a storm.

This is perhaps a good time to give Mark (the one on the bull) some appreciation for his role as Kali’s demo at The Grange every Monday night.  The pair of them add an element of comedy to their routines which must help relax the beginners down on the dance floor below.

While we are at it, can we also show appreciation for Piper Mark who provides the music, and also adds his own comic touches to the class nights.

Let’s show our appreciation of the comic talents of Kali and her two Marks

We all had just as much fun out on the dance floor

While The Milk Maid and her comic helpers were having a great time on the stage, we were all having a fun time on the dance floor.  We all slowly put the routine together, and I have to say did a pretty good job of it.  Now our performance perhaps weren’t as flash as the three people in the Southport video, but it was an amazing amount of fun.  In fact, it was possible the best fun class I’ve participated in.

Well done to all the male Milk Maids as they complete the routine out on the dance floor

This Bonkers routine was done again with a chicken

‘Bonkers’ is one of Kali’s favourite words, and it’s been great to slip it in to this review now and again, and if I may I’ll use it one last time.  This Bonkers routine was repeated all over again with equal hilarity on Wednesday night at The Ceroc Heaven class at Friesland School in Sandiacre.  This time it was performed by a Chicken with Stuffing and a Christmas Pudding.

It seems the fancy dress theme at Friesland was Christmas food, and Tel tells me that it was a great turnout again.  Here’s a view of Kali and her two Marks on stage having another great time with the routine.

More hilarity with a Christmas Food theme.  Here’s the Chicken, Paxo Stuffing and Christmas Pud demo-ing the routine in Sandiacre

The video captures the hilarity of it all

Tel was also on hand to record the hilarity of both fun classes on video.  In the first part see the ‘Penguin in a Pear Tree’ do the routine on stage at The Grange, and in amongst the dancers on the floor you’ll spot the French Hen, with a chicken on her head.

In the second part you’ll see some wonderful comic timing from The Chicken and the Christmas Pud on the stage at Friesland School.  Thanks as always to Tel for putting the video together – it’s never a five minute job.

Thanks to all The Ceroc Heaven Crew

It just leaves me to thank Kali and the whole of the Ceroc Heaven crew for putting on a great Christmas Party Class Night.  Thanks also to all the people who came in fancy dress – it just adds to occasion.  And thanks to Tel for his great pictures.  I know that they have been shared and commented on many times over on Facebook.

Ever wondered what the verses of the carol mean?

The Twelve days of Christmas was first published in 1780, and there is much debate about its meaning and origins.  Some people believe it was a way of helping children remember key aspects of Christian theology.  Here’s one suggested interpretation:

1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

It’s nice to know that there is some meaning behind the fact that someone puts a chicken on their head adorned with the French Flag.  My congratulatiions to Anne who I vote the best costume of the night.