Time to slowly step away from blogging (Tues 10 Oct )

Back in September 2016, I wrote my first-ever freestyle review of a fabulous night with Electric Jive at The Stamford Arts Centre.  Six years on I’ve decided to slowly move away from writing down my thoughts about this wonderful dance scene.  I think six years is long enough to be constantly giving my thoughts about the events we dance at and the music we dance to.  It’s not the end of my writing, as there are some major articles I want to write about, but these Quick Notes which I update two or three times a week will now end with this posting.

Lives change and mine has changed and I no longer have the time to devote to writing.  I also don’t have the freedom to tour the country adding to the list of venues I’ve reviewed.  I still want to continue dancing – I could never give that up – but I don’t want to feel I have to write so much about it.  I cannot imagine missing out on a Southport Weekender or supporting my local Derby Ceroc class night.

I still have a whole list of things I want to write about but I don’t want to have a deadline to work to.  In the past I wanted to post a review or article every week – sadly I don’t have the commitment for that anymore.  There are now other things I want to devote my time to.  One of those things is just chilling out at my lodge in East Devon and enjoying the beautiful coastline of this part of the country.

Enjoying the walk from Beer to Branscombe in East Devon

Articles I’m still looking forward to writing

I’ve just started writing a review of the Ceroc River Cruise, which set out from Bordeaux in the South West of France in July.  It was one of the best things I’ve ever done and it deserves a full review.  It will no doubt take me two weeks to write – there were so many great things to write about.  I’m also planning on writing an article about my time competing in the World Modern Jive Championships at Blackpool.  Another project I must complete is an article about the teaching of chill-out dancing – something very dear to my heart.

I also want to continue writing my music articles.  I’ve been a lover of the music we all dance to from my very first night and I know many people use my blog to find out the names of the fabulous music they dance to.  Putting together these compilations has been one of my greatest writing pleasures over the years and there are now so many of them on the blog.

The next compilation I intend to put together is one based on Tim Sant’s SILC GOLD set at the recent Southport Weekender.  I also want to put together a list of Northern Soul and Disco tracks that are suited to main room dancing.  Some of the most read music articles on the blog are the three volumes of main room classics.  I have another collection I’m now gathering tracks for.  So I still have a lot to do but I want to do them at a more relaxed pace – basically to write when I have the time and inclination.

I’m proud of what I’ve achieved

I sometimes can’t help joking that according to Google I’m the No1 Modern Jive blogger in the universe.  Of course, the reason is simple – I’m the only one but having said that I’m proud that if you put ‘Modern Jive blog’ into a Google search (see below) I will come at the top of the listing.  There is no cleaver behind-the-scenes digital manipulation.  Google has put me there simply because the blog is updated on a regular basis.

The most popular article on the blog is my ‘What is Ceroc?’ posting.  Put that question into Google and only Ceroc’s own website comes higher than my blog.  It gets read at least fifty times every single week and I would like to think it has helped promote this wonderful genre of dancing and socialising over the years.

I’m also proud, as I travel around, of being known as the Ceroc and Modern Jive blogger and making friends with many of the organisers and DJs, who make this dance community what it is.  Conversations with these people have helped me understand the workings of this wonderful dance scene and helped give some added depth to my articles.

Making wonderful friends from all over the UK

When I first started writing reviews they were of my local classes and freestyles.  I knew I would soon need to expand its reach if the blog was to gain credibility, so over the years I have travelled to all parts of the UK and even Ireland.  Ceroc and Modern Jive are very social forms of dancing.  Just being free to ask anyone to dance means you soon make friends at all the venues around the country.

For a variety of reasons, I’ve made many good friends in Scotland.  I first met the wonderful Scottish dancers at Southport.  I’ve always been impressed by just how many Scots make the pilgrimage to this mega weekender.  Then due to friendships with Organisers and DJs Billy Cullen from Glasglow and Nicola Meechan di Falco from Stirling and Perth, I found myself making regular visits north of the border.

The purchase of a holiday home in Devon has also seen me review many of the venues in that area and it’s an area I look forward to dancing in regularly now that I am spending more time down there.  I also found myself attending and reviewing Mediterranean dance holidays (see pic below) and making even more friends.  I’m amazed that for all my dance travels, I still meet and dance with people for the first time.  I suppose that proves just how vast this dance scene is and how there are still many areas of the country I still have to visit.

My thanks to everyone who read the blog

For all my travels, I still enjoy my local freestyles and at the end of September, I have the Ceroc Rolls Royce Great Gatsby freestyle at Burton Town Hall to look forward to.  I’m sure it will be a fabulous night but it will be the first top event that I will simply enjoy for the dancing and not looking for something to write about.  Time to just enjoy the dancing and the company of my dance gang friends.

My thanks to all the people who have supported my blog by reading it on a regular basis but an extra special thanks to all those many people who contributed to them by allowing me to share their thoughts about the events I reviewed.

This, then, is the last time I will update these Quick Notes.  It’s been great sharing my thoughts about our wonderful dance scene with you all two or three times a week.  I’ll still be out there dancing and I look forward to more chats about this wonderful dance scene.

Thoughts on the Southport Weekender (Wed 7 Sept)

It was fabulous.  Absolutely fabulous.  It was everything I’ve come to expect from this wonderful get-together of the Ceroc and Modern Jive fraternity – great music, great dancing and an uplifting vibe in all the different dance areas.  I couldn’t find fault with any of it.  My highlights were without doubt the Speciality Hours on Saturday and Sunday afternoon – Tony Riccardi’s Motown and Northern Soul and Vince Silva’s S’Funk.

I want to comment on one additional aspect that made Southport for me this time round and that is the group of people who joined me for this September dance fest.  There were nine of us for Friday and Sunday (see pic below) and, once joined by a final member of the group, ten of us on Saturday.  We had five chalets in a row.  Booking them all at the same time seems to guarantee that you get them allocated next to each other.  Luckily, we had ground floor ones too, so we were able to have meals and drinks on the grass outside.

Each evening we cooked fresh food and sat down together.  It’s these sit-down-together times that make Southport for me.  It’s a chance to enjoy a drink and indulge in some gentle and often hilarious banter.  We talk about our adventures on the dance floor and our plans for the upcoming days and evenings.

In the group were three Southport virgins.  Your first time at Southport can be a bit overwhelming but by sitting together to the right of the bar in the Thunderball Room the more experienced dancers in the group helped ensure the first-timers were eased into the excitement of it all.

A group photo before we started dancing on Friday night

A mystery cleared up

In my previous post (Thurs 1 Sept) I wondered why there were no SILC classes.  The SILC Foundation class has been one of the most popular of the weekend and the absence of any SILC lessons led me to speculate about the future of SILC.  No need to worry as it seems that Tim Sant used the getting together of his local SILC teachers to do some intensive training.  It seems that Ceroc really want to try to establish the SILC style of smooth slotted dancing.

It also explains why there was no Camp Attack.  This is very much Tim Sant’s baby and it must take a lot of energy to set it all up.  Again Tim reserved his energies for the SILC teacher training and I’m sure the very popular Camp Attack will be back for the next weekender in February 2023.

We were blessed with warm weather

As we approached the Southport weekend the weather forecast wasn’t very promising and there was every chance the dancing outside The Boudoir would be rained off.  As it happened we were blessed with beautiful weather and we got to dance to all the Speciality Hours outside.  One of the highlights was dancing outside on both Friday and Saturday nights.  You can’t beat cooling down at two in the morning with a relaxed dance to some top chilled music and now with added overhead lighting.

The outside dance area now has overhead lighting to add more atmosphere at night

Suddenly it’s Southport again (Thurs 1 Sept)

After taking a break from the dance floor down at my lodge, suddenly it’s time to get thinking about Southport again.  I usually read through the programme as soon as it’s published but I seem to have been distracted by some lovely weather and the chance to chill out.  It can happen to the most ardent of us dancers but thankfully my dance mojo is quick to get fired up.

This time I’ve booked five two-bed chalets for my friends.  There will be ten of us this time enjoying pre-dancing sit-down meals, breakfasts together and late night (or rather early morning) after dancing sessions where we share the fun we’ve all been having on the dance floor.  For me, it’s this social side that is the real joy of Southport.

Having said that I love going through the programme and start planning my weekend.  As I trawled through the so-called Passport to Dance I noticed a few changes and one that I think is quite significant.  More of that later.  First, let me tell you what I’m looking forward to.

The Passport has all the details of classes and DJ sets

I have to check out SILC Gold on Friday evening

I usually don’t start dancing until nine when I join the lines of the Ice-breaker Class.  For me, this is when Southport really kicks off, but many people are dancing from three in the afternoon.  It’s then when the Sack the DJ slots operate, which give non-Weekender DJs a chance to play to a Southport audience in The Boudoir.  It’s always a great feeling to see people dancing outside the Boudoir as you arrive to register and get your chalet key.

This time I’m going to make an earlier start and check out DJ Tim Sant’s SILC GOLD set at seven.  There’s a reason for me checking this out.  Last week I published a second list of tracks.  In that article, I mentioned how Chill-out DJs are always looking for the latest contemporary track, so their playlists are thin on the classic tracks that were once everyone’s favourite.  The SILC Gold sets are a chance for the DJ to give another spin to tracks that have fallen off DJ playlists and I’ll be interested to see if Tim plays any of the tracks I’ve featured in my two Classic Smooth Jive articles (see link below).

Listen to 12 Chill-out tracks in my Classics Vol 2

What no CAMP ATTACK!

On Saturday afternoon, at 3:30, I’ll be heading to the Boudoir for The Motown & Northern Soul Hour.  DJ Tony Riccardi has had this slot ever since we came back after lockdown, and he’s proved to be a real Soul Boy.  Before Tony, DJ Hayley Epps does The Swingers Hour and DJ Miss Kitty, AKA Sheena Assiph does the Country Hour.  These Speciality Hours are extremely popular and if the sun shines, they are a great opportunity to dance outside.  Sadly, rain is forecast but that won’t dampen our spirits.  There is plenty of room inside the Boudoir for everyone.

Looking through the programme I see there is no CAMP ATTACK.  I thought this late-night hour featuring the campest dance tunes from the past was very popular.  People turned up in Colourful Gay Pride costumes and created an amazing party atmosphere.  I can only hope that the idea is to do the CAMP ATTACK every so often to maintain the thrill of it.

During my previous visit in June, I spent some time in the Blues Room and subsequently wrote an article about the music of DJ Rachel Pears (see link below).  The music was so fabulous that I’ve decided to give Blues dancing a proper go, so on Saturday afternoon after the Motown Hour, I intend to attend Jo Hart’s Blues Fundamentals class in the Cyclone Room.  I remember attending several of Jo’s Blues classes at the first ever Fresh Weekender in Perth back in 2018.  Sadly, I’m badly in need of a refresher course and I’m sure Jo will sort me out.

My take on Blues music and dancing based on the music of Rachel Pears

Another Blues lesson and The Funk Hour

On Sunday afternoon, I’ll be doing Jo Hart’s second Blues Class, entitled Travelling Blues – Blues to cover the floor.  I and many people struggle with Blues dancing, as they see it as a close-hold dance with little movement across the floor.  I’m hoping that Jo will give me some moves to make me feel more comfortable in the late-night Blues sessions.  I also see that Jo has her own DJing slots late on Sunday night.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to stay awake for them and compare her music to Rachel’s.

Before Jo’s second Blues class it’s what I consider to be the most popular Speciality Hour – DJ Vince Silva’s tribute to ’70s & ’80s funk music.  The Boudoir is always packed for this event, and I and everyone else can’t get enough of Vince’s funked-up masterpieces.  As always, Vince will conclude his set with Van McCoy’s The Hustle and as it ends the audience will break into a warm round of applause.

What no SILC classes!

Ever since Ceroc introduced SILC, their answer to the smooth slotted style of West Coast Swing, there have been three SILC classes at every Southport.  I’ve only ever done the Introductory one as it’s always thrown up a new SILC move.  I notice that there are no SILC classes this time round, and I can’t help wondering why.  Is it that no one really dances SILC?  People like myself, who love dancing to chill-out tunes, tend to dance a fusion style of smooth jive, where we mix SILC moves with slowed-down Ceroc moves and Blues ones.  I wonder if the powers that be, have decided to give up teaching pure SILC and will concentrate instead on teaching Smooth Jive moves and sequences.  I’ll ask around and report back.

If you’ve not been to Southport before and want to get a flavour of what’s in store, then please read my article below.  It tells the story of June’s Southport through the music.

The Spirit of Southport in 12 Great Tracks

A great dance to a great dance track (Mon 22 Aug)

What makes a great dance?  It’s a question I’m always offering possible answers to.  Of course, everyone’s ideas of a great dance are different so in an attempt to answer the question yet again, let me tell you about one such dance on Monday night at the Ceroc Rolls Royce class night in Derby.  The previous track ends and I thank my partner for our dance.  A new track starts up.  My dance brain doesn’t register what the track is – I’m too busy looking for a partner.  I get lucky, one of Derby’s best dancers is free.

I soon connect with the beat and my partner is fluently following my lead.  My partner and I are moving fluidly across the dance floor.  It’s a wonderful dance but my dance brain hasn’t decreed it as ‘great’ yet.  Then something happens.  From the start of the track, I connected with its beat but now that the dance is going well my dance brain is free to connect with the track on another level.  The track has a freshness, it’s possibly new to me and it has a lot of energy.  Suddenly I’m connecting with that energy and more importantly, my partner is making an equally enthusiastic connection with the music.

What is this track, that is fully interacting with my dance brain and creating a feeling of heightened dance joy?  I’ll ask the DJ at the end, as for now, I just want to enjoy the connection we are making with the energised beat.  The track finally ends, and I thank my partner for what was a truly great dance.  I’m soon on the stage and asking DJ Roy Goodall, ‘What was that track?’ He’s quick to reply:

 ‘Bang Bang’ by Rita Ora and Imanbek.

It’s fabulous.  Have you played it before?

Yes, many times.

So how come I didn’t recognise it?  The thing is some new songs just wash over you.  It’s not until you fully connect with them by having a great dance that you find yourself fully registering just what a great piece of dance music they are.  So, here’s Rita Ora with Bang bang.  Perhaps I’ve built it up too much.  Maybe you need to have a great dance to it first to share my enthusiasm for it.

You can depend on Ian to play something fresh (Fri 19 Aug)

Friday night saw me back dancing after my non-dancing break in Devon.  I had quite a choice but settled on a trip to the iDance freestyle at the Cooperative Sports Club at Nuneaton.  This is a fabulous venue that is always busy.  There are two reasons for this.  First the quality of the dancers and secondly the great variety and freshness of the music.  Sure, DJs Ian Selby and Lilly Duffield play some of their favourite tracks (Ian will always play Sia’s California dreamin’.) but I’m always impressed with the number of new-to-me tracks.  It’s never the same old, same old.

Sure enough, Ian played a track that not only was new to me, but I was able to connect with its contemporary beat instantly.  The track was a modern reworking of Lionel Richie’s All Night Long by Benjamin Ingrosso.  I remember lovin’ the Ritchie version when it came out in the 1983 and was somewhat disappointed when I realised it was just too slow to Modern Jive to.  So, I was pleased when Ian played this exciting 2020 version that is underpinned by a very danceable beat.  I knew I could depend on Ian to give me a fab track to feature.

Keith keeps everyone cool with ice lollies (Sat 13 Aug) 

This hot weather is great for sitting outside the pub with a long cool drink relaxing with friends.  Sadly, it’s not conducive to a night on the dance floor where the temperature is hot at the best of times and for that reason numbers at class nights and freestyles have been suffering.  Even places with air-conditioning have struggled with the heat and need additional fans to keep the dancers sufficiently cool.

I was pleased, then, to see that Keith Davies of Revolution Dance posted that he was doing everything possible to keep dancers cool at their Stockport freestyle with extra fans to supplement the air con.  The effort paid off and numbers were as good as the previous month when I’d visited.  (See the link to my review below).

Numbers don’t seem to have been affected at Stockport.  Photo courtesy of Revolution Dance

No wonder Stockport has become so successful

Keith also posted that there would be complimentary ice lollies for everyone.  Now that’s the kind of thing that impresses me.  In my review, I ask the question why Stockport has become so successful.  Looking after their dancers is very important to Keith and his team and the ice lollies seem to have gone down very well.  Here’s Keith commenting on Facebook:

Not your usual freestyle but it certainly seemed to work with lots more fans than usual, free ice lollies and lots of chilled tracks.

Now that’s something I would have appreciated – plenty of chilled tracks.  I do sometimes wonder when it’s hot like these last few days that DJs don’t run the tempo down a little.

Read the review of my trip to Stockport Town Hall 

An impressive selection of complimentary ice lollies.  Photo courtesy of Revolution Dance

Shazam throws up a delicious chill-out track (Sun 14 Aug)

I’ve just started work on my review of the Ceroc River Cruise.  The first thing I have to do is trawl through the Shazams from some of the DJ sets.  As I listen to them, I’m particularly looking for something exciting and new to me that I can feature in the review itself.  Every night there was a last hour of chill-out music which served lots of new-to-me tracks.  Amongst one of Sheena Assiph’s sets was a track I didn’t know.  I quickly cut and pasted it then copied it into YouTube and listened to it through my headphones.

The track is Don’t Come Around Here by Rod Stewart and Helicopter Girl.  It was included in Stewart’s 2001 album Human.  While it was recorded some twenty-one years ago it still has a wonderful, relaxed beat that would not be out of place in the chill-out room.  It’s the kind of track that helps to break up a run of contemporary ones.  I can see why Sheena picked it out as it’s a delicious piece of music.

I find a video of Tag Dancing (Thurs 11 Aug)

I’ve nearly finished my article on Stockport Town Hall and I’m at the stage where I need to write about Tag dancing.  This is where I and my dance buddy Ian keep swopping the lead when we dance with a lady, as we did at Stockport.  Not the easiest thing to describe properly, so I went looking for a video on YouTube.  I put in the search bar ‘Ceroc Tag Dancing’.  Not surprisingly it came up with lots of Ceroc videos.  However, I persevered and kept scrolling down.  Eventually, I came across a video I could use.

It was from the Welsh Ceroc Champs in 2018 and shows some fabulous examples of how you can add fun to your dancing by swopping the lead with your mate.  I have to admit that I and Ian’s tagging is not as smooth as shown in the video, but we are getting there.  The best bit of our tagging is that we try to surprise the lady.  I’ll dance with her first, then after a few moves send her into a Ceroc Spin.  Instead of me reconnecting with her, Ian will be waiting to take over.  The look of surprise on their face is what makes it so much fun.

The fabulous track everyone is dancing to is ‘Gangsta walk’ by SNBRN & Nate Dogg

Back at the lodge to catch up with my writing (Tues 9 Aug)

With the prospect of a week of sun-filled weather and even a heatwave, I decided to head for the lodge.  Not only is it a great place to relax but I find it the perfect place to catch up on my writing.

The thing is I have a lot of catching up to do.  I’ve still to write my review of my recent visit to Stockport and I’m halfway through writing about a new collection of classic chill-out tracks.  Then I need to make a start on my review of the Ceroc River Cruise.

While I’m here I’ve decided not to go dancing locally – it would just mean more to write about.  So, it’s G&Ts on the decking and time with my laptop writing.

You can see the lodge to the right of the fence

The River Cruise ends on a high (Thurs 4 Aug)

I’ve just had the most wonderful 6 days on the first ever Ceroc River Cruise from Bordeaux.  I’ll be writing a full review but, in the meantime, I’ve got to tell you about the final night.  The dancing started down in the main room at ten, but I and along with just about everybody was upstairs on the open deck chilling out to DJ Nicola Meechan Di Folco’s smooth grooves.

After Nicola brought the dancing to an end at midnight there was the obligatory Survivors photo and then we all went downstairs where DJ Sheena Assiph played the very last set up to a two in the morning finish.  Once again there was a Survivors photo call, but Sheena wasn’t finished.  She then put on The Gap Bands Oops upside your head.  Within minutes two rows formed on the floor.  One headed by Sheena, the other by one of the crew.

What followed was the best display of the Rowing Boat party dance I’ve ever seen.  I’m not sure what my excuse was, but rather than joining in I watched from the side – that’s me in the white polo shirt on the right of the picture.  What an ending to what had been the most amazing six days and nights of holiday relaxation and dancing fun.

Even at gone two in the morning, everyone is still in party mode

A Disco hit that became a party classic

I remember back in 1979 when Oops upside your head hit the discos thinking what a great funked-up dance track it was but could any of us have envisioned that it would become synonymous with the rowing boat routine?  I’ve searched the internet to find out where this routine originated but it seems no one knows.

It seems we are the only country where the rowing boat dance is performed and when the Gap band toured the UK they were bemused as anybody to see it in action.  Now it is a staple of many parties and even weddings.  I wonder if Sheena picked it out because we were on a boat.  Either way, something tells me it’s going to be part of the tradition of the last night of Ceroc River Boat Cruises.

The song itself has a wonderful laid-back feel and I’m wondering where it would fit into a DJ’s playlist.  Perhaps best not to give it a spin.  After all, we don’t want everyone getting down on the floor.  I know when I hear it, it will bring back memories of a fabulous warm night in Bordeaux.

First night onboard the Cyrano de Bergerac (Fri 29 July)

Friday evening saw me boarding the Cyrano de Bergerac for the Ceroc River Cruise from Bordeaux in South-West France.  This is the first ever Ceroc river cruise and the one hundred and sixty dancers have the whole boat to themselves.  I arrived the day before and was able to spend the evening and the following morning exploring Bordeaux itself.  I had no idea just what a beautiful city Bordeaux is, so it got the holiday off to a great start.

The first dance has to be on the open deck

After a welcome meeting and relaxed three-course evening meal it was time for dancing.  DJ Nicola Meechan Di Folco had set herself up, on the top deck and pushed the button on some chilled smooth tunes.  After a hot day, the evening was comfortably warm, just perfect for some open-air dancing.  The weather promises to be hot every day so we can look forward to more warm evenings dancing on the top deck.

People were soon dancing on the top deck

DJ Roy plays more blasts from the past (Mon 25 July)

I love dancing to all the latest chart sounds.  They keep DJ playlists fresh but there are so many once popular tracks that seem to disappear. So, it’s great when they get a spin again.   On Monday DJ Roy Goodall was on the decks at my regular Ceroc class held at the Rolls Royce Pavilion in Derby.  Roy had a packed dance floor rockin’ with a series of older tracks.  Two stood out for me, both giving me fabulous high-energy dances.

The first was a track from 2010, the year I started to go regularly to freestyles.  I remember it rockin’ the floor then and it was great to get a chance to dance to it again.  The track is Higher by Taio Cruz featuring additional vocals from Kylie Minogue.  The track starts as it means to go on with a driving beat.  Add in catchy lyrics and you have a track that will always rock the floor.  So much so, I do wonder why I haven’t heard it for a while now.

Is this top track really 5 years old?

The second of Roy’s top tracks is another that was very popular when it first came out but it’s in danger of slipping off DJs playlists.  Pity because it has long been a favourite of mine.  I was surprised to see that it’s now five years old, so I suppose it’s had a good run.  However, it rocked the floor at Rolls Royce proving it still has plenty of life in it.  The track is Shed a light by Robin Schulz, David Guetta and Cheat Codes

It differs from Higher in the way the song is constructed.  The Taio and Kylie track races along from the off, but Shed a light uses the technique where the track slowly builds to a crescendo and the energy is released at the climax.  This climax is built around some wonderful string arrangements that you can’t help but connect with and so get a fabulous dance high – a real treat for a Monday night!

Fun with dance friends at The Summer Sounds party (Sun 25 July)

Sunday afternoon saw me doing something a little different.  I joined a whole lot of friends from my Ceroc Rolls Royce class night at the outdoor Summer Sounds party organised by Ilkeston Town Council.  It centered on the bandstand in Victoria Park, a wonderfully laid out recreational open space in the middle of Ilkeston.  While the music was provided by entertainers singing over backing tracks, the sound system was perfect.  Indeed, the singers were top notch too and the resulting sound just invited you to get up and dance.

The first photo shows me dancing with my dance buddy Joanne.  So eager was I to get up and dance we had the floor, albeit tarmac, all to ourselves.  In the background, you can see the group of friends seated around.  There were about twenty of us including dancers who had come over from Nottingham and even Sheffield.  There was even a lady dancer who was on her way back to St Neots.  So, plenty of people to dance with once the party got into full swing.

I’m one of the first to get up and dance

I think a few people needed a drink first

It’s great to get an invite to join other dancers at these kinds of events.  It’s one of the things about our wonderful dance scene that so many of us appreciate.  You can’t beat just sitting around with a drink and catching up with people in between the occasional dance.  With the first singer doing a range of Motown and Soul songs, many of the group were soon up and dancing though the same can’t be said for the hundreds of other non-dancers.  I think they need a few drinks first.

Thankfully by the time Elvis did his act (you can see him through the crowd on the bandstand), the tarmacked area in front of the bandstand was full of people doing all sorts of dancing.  You can see members of our group doing some dance-around-your-handbag style disco dancing.  Hey and why not, it’s all dancing and it was great fun.

What brought a smile to my face was that the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress also joined in.  So impressed was I with her Rock ‘n’ Roll moves, that I asked her to dance.  Well, that was a first for me and I have to say she picked up the Ceroc moves pretty well.  My thanks to Pol Hancock from the Derby Ceroc class for organising the meet up which will go down as one of the highlights of my and many others’ dancing summer.

Ceroc dancers prove they can disco dance too

DJ Gary plays a perfect chill-out track (Sat 23 July)

Last month I went to my first Pirate Jive freestyle at The Post Mill in South Normanton.  This month the venue had been double booked so the freestyle was moved to The Kirk Hallam Social Club between Derby and Ilkeston.  Like The Post Mill, this is another fabulous venue that has recently been fully refurbished.  My Derby Dance Gang friends all turned out and along with more friends from the Ceroc Rolls Royce class night we all had a fabulous time.

As always, I’m listening for the one track that will give me that special dance.  Towards the end of the night, DJ Gary Wharton played a run of slower tracks.  I was fully in chill-out mode when I recognised the instrumental opening to one hell of a delicious track.  My dance brain hadn’t registered the name of the song, but it was fully tuned in to the beautiful laid-back instrumentation.

I instantly recognise the intro

I had instantly recognised the acoustic guitar intro and when the drums burst into life, I knew this was something special.  Then, what sounded like a slide guitar added another gorgeous layer of instrumentation.  I knew this track.  It was one I’d listened to over and over again as I was writing one of my reviews.  Then the vocal started and I knew where and when I’d first heard this gorgeous chill-out track.

It was played by Rachel Pears in the Blues Room at Jamfest, the summer Ceroc Weekender at Camber Sands back in 2019, and I featured it in my music review of that event (see link below).  It’s a 2007 reworking of Al Stewart’s Year of the cat by Danish singer Hanne Boel.  Take a listen to the thirty-second instrumental intro and hopefully, you’ll understand why I think this is a perfect chill-out track.

After having the most wonderful smooth bluesy dance I was on the stage asking Gary where he found it.  ‘On iTunes, Paul’.  It just shows how much time Gary, indeed all DJs, must spend trawling around the dance music vaults to dig up these wonderful tracks.  Oh, and thanks Gary for giving me another chance to experience the joy of dancing to such a beautiful piece of music.

Read my review of the wonderful music of Jamfest

Thank God for air conditioning (Mon 18 July)

With temperatures due to break records at the start of the week, many dance organisations across the country thought it best to cancel their class nights.  Thankfully my own Monday night dance class didn’t fall victim to the record-breaking temperatures.  Regular readers of my blog will know I’m often heaping praise on my local Ceroc class.  I’m not going to apologise for that.  You see they do so many things right and my blog is after all there to recognise the great work that goes on behind the scenes.

Having said that they are lucky to have one of the best venues anywhere and it proved the case again on Monday.  As I walked across the car park in the sweltering heat, I did wonder how everyone was going to cope but I needn’t have worried.  As I walked through the door I was hit by a blast of cool air.  The feeling was best described as walking into a fridge.  It seems the venue had turned the air-con up well in advance.  Having said that, by the end of the evening, the heat generated a full floor of dancers finally beat the air con but by then it was time to go home.

The air con ensures a good turnout at Rolls Royce on the hottest day ever.

At Stockport Town hall for another fab night (Sat 16 July)

Saturday night saw me and four other dance friends pile into Ian’s car and head for Stockport.  The Rolls Royce Dance gang was on the way to the Town Hall for the legendary freestyle run by Keith Davies and Revolution Dance.  Over the years I’d heard so much about this venue and I finally got the chance to go there on New Year’s Eve 2019, before the big Covid Shutdown, and had a fabulous time.  I was reminded of this iconic venue when I was writing my review of the Revolution Dance Holiday in Majorca (see link below).

So fantastic was this latest visit to Stockport Town Hall, that I’ll be writing a full review – but give me a few weeks as my backlog is getting bigger by the week.  The pic below, of me and my dance friends, gives some idea of the opulence of this fabulous venue.  Oh, and I see I’m wearing the same shirt as in the picture from Rolls Royce below (see 8 July posting).

Under the high vaulted roof at Stockport Town Hall

DJ Paul plays a fab club remix

One of the reasons that this night was so fabulous was because of the music.  It was just so fresh and great to dance to.  The event was DJed by three teams of DJs.  First up was Paul Forber, followed by Phil and Wendy Greenall and Keith took the last slot up to the 12:45 finish.  I love it when different DJs share the music duties as it ensures a real variety.  Having three lots on was a real plus for me.

In my review, I’ll be featuring lots of the tracks to give you a flavour of the great music you can hear at this venue.  In the meantime, I’ve picked out one of Paul’s tracks from early in his set.  It’s a club remix from 2019 that was so danceable I’m amazed I’ve not heard it before.  The Crush Club remix of Sigrid’s Burning bridges everything that a main room dance track should be.  The full-force beat hits you from the off and you can’t help but connect with its uplifting vibe.  This track set me up for what was a great night of dancing.

Read my review of the Revolution Dance holiday in Alcudia, Majorca

I get the final Northern Soul track for my collection (Tues 12 July)

On Tuesday, I was up early and at my personal trainer’s gym.  It’s a once-a-week visit.  Nothing too stressful, but I get to stretch out properly and I’m sure the routine and stretching have helped me keep injury free when I’m dancing.  As in any gym my trainer Becky plays upbeat music to keep me motivated.  She’s a great fan of Motown and Northern Soul.

This week as I was doing some ab exercises a great track came on.  ‘What’s that song?’  ‘Oh it’s my favourite, I wanna give you tomorrow by Benny Troy.’  I had a good listen to it when I got home.  The track, from 1976 has a wonderful Sound of Philadelphia vibe and would make a great Modern Jive track.

Regular readers of my Quick Notes will know that I’ve been slowly building up a collection of Northern Soul tracks that are suitable for Ceroc and Modern Jive dancing.  I needed one last track and this was it.  Thanks, Becky.  Because of my backlog, it will be another month before I start the article but I’m so looking to reveal what I think will be ten great Northern Soul tracks we can all dance to.

A Photo Roll Call at Rolls Royce (Fri 8 July)

You can’t beat going to a freestyle with a group of friends.  It seems I’m now part of a group of friends from the Ceroc Rolls Royce Class Night, who are travelling around together.  Six of us shared three chalets at Southport and in September we’ve got five booked – there’ll be ten of us!

It’s never the same group, but where ever we go we know we’ll be with friends.  That’s particularly important when we go to new places as the ladies know the men in the group will ensure they get plenty of dances.  Next week a group of us will be going to the Stockport Town Hall freestyle run by Revolution Dance.  It will be the first time for most of us and being together will guarantee us a great night.

On Friday we were at The Rolls Royce Summer Party.  This was another fabulous night run by Mark and Liz Taylor and as always they organised a photo booth.  People love these photo calls and share the pictures on their Facebook Pages.  It’s great to let your friends know what a great time you’re having dancing and it’s a great way to promote our wonderful dance scene.

We were asked to come dressed in a summer theme.  I’m on the left in my Hawaiian shirt.  The lady in the middle is Liz.  She came as a captain ready to fly us all off on our summer holiday.  Follow the link below to see all the pictures and the action from another great Rolls Royce Freestyle.

See the full Rolls Royce Summer Party Photo Album

DJ Marks ends the night with a super smooth track (Mon 4 July)

I’m lovin’ it when Mark Emmans-Taylor is on the decks at the Ceroc Rolls Royce class night because you can guarantee he’ll end the night with some chill-out tracks.  He treated us to four smooth tracks including everyone’s favourite Breathe in by Daddy was a Milkman but it was the last track that I particularly enjoyed.  It’s one that I featured in my first collection of Contemporary songs for Smooth Jive (see link below) and is still a great favourite.

It seems it’s someone else’s favourite too because as the track finished one of the regular Rolls Royce dancers shouted out:

I love that track, please make sure you play it on Friday night.

Friday night is the next Ceroc Rolls Royce freestyle and I’m confident that Mark will add this delicious track to his end-of-night chill-out playlist.

The track is Sanctuary by ex-Westlife vocalist Markus Feehily.  The track is now five years old but it still has a very contemporary sound.  It has a distinctive modern pulse that is so easy to connect with.  What I love about this song is the emotional vocal performance which gives you something else to connect your dance soul with.  Can’t wait for Friday.  Surely Marks going to give it another spin.

Smooth Jive: Contemporary Chill-out Tracks Vol 1 

Paul plays a perfect West Coast Swing track (Sun 3 July)

Sunday saw me back at a West Coast Swing Workshop with Paul @ Pulse in Nottingham.  I’m pleased with my progress as I’m also getting to do some practice at home with my dance buddy Joanne.  I’m slowly building up a Spotify playlist of tracks we can practice to.  Because I’m still at a stage where I’m having to do a lot of concentrating, I’m always looking for tracks with a slow but well-defined beat.

On Sunday Paul played a track that is perfect to practice with.  It’s Spiritual thang by Eric Benet from 2006.  It has a very pronounced bass line that is so easy to connect with.  The rhythm is nice and slow, which is a great help because I’m still at that stage where I need to count the beat – one, two three and four, five and six.  Hopefully, I’ll stop this counting in my head soon.

Hitting the breaks with Ceroc Heaven (Sat 2 July)

I’ve been working on an article about the Blues music at Southport (expect it in the middle of July).  In the article, I talk about the structure of traditional Blues music and how it often has a break at the end of twelve bars, where the instrumentation stops for a second.  It’s a great feeling when you hit the break, freeze the action and fill it with some musicality.

On Saturday, DJ Ashley Davies was on the decks at the Ceroc Heaven freestyle at The Grange just outside Nottingham.  As the track started up I recognised it as a new version of the Stax classic Knock on wood.  Any Soul Boy worth his salt will know the original by Eddie Floyd as one of the greatest tracks to come out of the legendary Stax studio in Memphis.  However the original, even though it has some great soul instrumentation including a great horn hook line, is just too slow for Ceroc and Modern Jive dancing.

Seal ups the tempo

The version by Seal, however, is speeded up and it’s just perfect for a soul-infused dance.  But it’s the breaks that make this a fabulous dance track.  What’s more, you know when they’re coming – there at the end of the chorus.  I’m sure you’ll easily spot them, but just in case here’s the lyric lead-in.

It’s like thunder, like lightning, the way you love me is frightening.  I’d better knock (I’d better knock) on wood.

The break hits when Seal sings ‘I’d better knock.’  That’s when you freeze the action.  The backing singers now fill in the break with a reprise of the same lyric and you have what seems like an eternity to express some musicality.  My partner got the idea quickly that the breaks would give her some playtime.  We didn’t hit the breaks every time but we did it enough to have what was, without doubt, the best dance of the night.

DJ Marks ends the night with a super smooth track (Mon 4 July)

I’m lovin’ it when Mark Emmans-Taylor is on the decks at the Ceroc Rolls Royce class night because you can guarantee he’ll end the night with some chill-out tracks.  He treated us to four smooth tracks including everyone’s favourite Breathe in by Daddy was a Milkman but it was the last track that I particularly enjoyed.  It’s one that I featured in my first collection of Contemporary songs for Smooth Jive (see link below) and is still a great favourite.

It seems it’s someone else’s favourite too because as the track finished one of the regular Rolls Royce dancers shouted out:

I love that track, please make sure you play it on Friday night.

Friday night is the next Ceroc Rolls Royce freestyle and I’m confident that Mark will add this delicious track to his end-of-night chill-out playlist.

The track is Sanctuary by ex-Westlife vocalist Markus Feehily.  The track is now five years old but it still has a very contemporary sound.  It has a distinctive modern pulse that is so easy to connect with.  What I love about this song is the emotional vocal performance which gives you something else to connect your dance soul with.  Can’t wait for Friday.  Surely Marks going to give it another spin.

Smooth Jive: Contemporary Chill-out Tracks Vol 1 

Motown night brings back a dance memory (Fri 1 July)

On Friday I was at The Gold Soul Motown & Northern Soul Night at the Rolls Royce Pavilion in Derby.  This is not a Ceroc or Modern Jive event but a retro dance-around-your-handbags one.  Before the dance floor got too busy my group of friends could do a bit of Modern Jiving.  Most Motown tracks have a beat perfect for Modern Jive and we enjoyed some fabulous dances.

The event has a second room, where the music is exclusively Northern Soul with the DJ playing the original vinyl discs, and so we did our best impressions of Northern Soul dancing.  As a new record started up, I recognised it instantly.  It was one of the few Northern Soul tracks that work well for Ceroc and Modern Jive and it’s a personal favourite.  Thankfully the floor was not too busy so I grabbed one of my lady friends and had a proper dance to it.

The track was Wade in the water by Ramsey Lewis.  This is a pure instrumental and shouldn’t be confused with the Eva Cassidy vocal version that is very popular with Ceroc and Modern Jive DJs.  I remember when the Ramsey Lewis version got quite a few plays.  I even danced to it in the Thunderball Room at Southport.  So please Mr DJ can you give it a spin if you see me on the dance floor.

Still lots to write about (Thurs 30 June)

There are now over three hundred articles on my blog and my Google stats show me that every day someone dips into the archive of these articles.  Even with everything I’ve written about our fabulous dance scene, there is still a lot more I want to write about.  In July I will have plenty to keep me busy.  I’ve just started work on an article about the music at the recent Ceroc Southport Weekender.

Then I’m planning on working on a second volume of Classic Chill-out tracks.  It’s over two years since I put together Volume 1 and I’ve been enjoying lots more of the tracks that DJs dig out of the dance music vaults for us to smooth dance to.

I’ve also started to put together a collection of Northern Soul tracks that are suited to Ceroc and Modern Jive dancing.  There is a thriving retro Northern Soul scene in the UK and the Motown & Northern Soul Hours at Ceroc Weekenders are very popular.  However, I think some of the tracks that get played are a little fast so I thought I’d try to put together a very danceable Northern Soul playlist.

A first review of a well-loved Freestyle and another dance holiday

There will be a full review of a much-loved freestyle, as I head to Stockport next Saturday for Revolution Dance’s freestyle at the Town Hall.  I’m hoping to meet up with some of the people I met on my recent Revolution Dance holiday in Majorca.

My big adventure will be the Ceroc River Cruise in association with Fusion Holidays, which sets off from Bordeaux in France.  I’ve had a brief look at the programme and it seems there’ll be afternoon dancing on the open upper deck as well as nightly dancing inside.  At midnight the music changes to chill-out until a two in the morning finish.

Not only am I looking forward to all the dancing and the classes but there’ll be a chance to explore the picturesque towns the boat is stopping off at.  I’ll be writing a full review of my time on board.  It’s going to be a busy month, both dancing and writing.

My first visit to The Post Mill (Sat 25 June)

Living in Derby, within easy reach of the M1 (North & South) and A50 (East & West), I can travel in all directions in search of dancing on Friday and Saturday nights.  On Saturday, I decided to travel North to a venue I had not been to before – Pirate Jive’s Post Mill venue at South Normanton just five minutes from junction 28 on the M1.

This venue has been operating for some time but I just never got there.  I suppose it’s a reflection of the choice I have living in the centre of the country with excellent road connections.  Seems I’ve missed a treat because this is a lovely venue.  It’s not a particularly big dance hall but the building is impressively modern and the beautiful sprung dance floor and plenty of seating give the venue a welcoming intimacy.

The Post Mill’s dance hall is a wonderful place to dance.  Photo courtesy of Julie Murray

DJ Gary offers dancers a music choice

I soon recognised dancers from the Derby and Nottingham area.  I had danced with one of the ladies the previous night at Jive X, another independent freestyle near Derby.  The lady is also a regular at the other Pirate Jive venues in Nottingham.  It suddenly occurred to me that I never see her at any of the Ceroc freestyles in Nottingham.  I asked why.  Her answer was simple:

I just prefer Gary’s music.

Gary is Gary Wharton who runs Pirate Jive with his partner Julie Murray.  Many of the dancers in the room go to both Pirate Jive and Ceroc freestyles in Nottingham and Derby but the lady’s comment made me realise that some dancers do have a preference for a certain DJ’s music.  I’ve commented before that Gary’s music is very different from DJ Mark O’Reilly’s at Ceroc Heaven.  Mark’s is a lot more contemporary.  The music at Ceroc Rolls Royce in Derby and Burton Town Hall is also a lot more contemporary than Pirate Jive.

I’ve always thought that the two contrasting music playlists give the dancers a choice, which has to be a good thing.  I think I would come down on the side of the Ceroc playlists but Gary has a very loyal following and this was very much in evidence at The Post Mill.  While every DJ’s playlist is unique, on my travels I’ve noted the difference in the styles of playlists between Independents and Ceroc DJs.

Here’s a track that Gary often plays.  I love it.  Wake me up from Helene Fischer is an unashamed piece of Europop that’s just a joy to dance to.  I’ve heard this fun-loving track at other independent freestyles but I can’t ever remember dancing to it at a Ceroc venue.  As I said, it’s great to give dancers a choice and in the East Midlands, we are lucky to have a lot of it.

Southport Scorch captured on video (Thurs 23 June)

If you’ve never been to the Ceroc Southport Weekender and wonder what all the fuss is about, then just watch this wonderful video put together by Jay C Low.  It captures the essence of this wonderful weekender in its images of the dance action over three days and nights.  It’s all there – from the introduction from Lyndsey Hill as she starts the Friday night Ice-breaker class with Tim Stevens, right through to the survivors’ roll call at four in the morning on Monday.

Of course, if you were there you’ll be looking for a glimpse of yourself.  I think most of us get a cameo at some point and my Southport WhatsApp Group was suddenly very busy as we kept spotting another one of us again.

As always, Jay chooses some chill-out music track as the background track to his video.  Last time it was Strawberry kisses by Amber Simone.  This track would become a favourite amongst chill-out DJs.  I wonder if they’ll pick up on Jay’s latest pick for his backing track, Heat waves by Glass Animals.  The track released in 2020 has a wonderful pulse that is perfect for a smooth jive dance or a West Coast Swing one too.

West Coast Swinging to a Ceroc Classic (Fri 17  June)

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’ve been going to a few West Coast Swing lessons lately.  It’s a dance style I’ve tried to get to grips with so many times but eventually gave up with.  This time I want to persevere, so I did the West Coast Swing class on my recent Majorca holiday and I’m looking to take the opportunity to dance at freestyles whenever a suitable track comes on.  Of course, I need a partner to dance with me who is at least at the same level as myself.  Thankfully, on Friday night, I was at a Ceroc Heaven freestyle with my dance buddy Joanne, who is also on a West Coast dance journey.

Mark O’Reilly was the DJ on the decks and towards the end of the evening he played what has become a Ceroc and Modern Jive classic, Kaleida’s Take me to the river.

I realised it might just have the right beat for a West Coast dance.  I duly checked by counting out the West Coast beat pattern – One, two, three and four, five and six and it fitted nicely.  There was thankfully enough room for us to have a long slot to dance in and we had a lovely, if still basic, dance to this wonderful chilled track.  If I can keep finding opportunities to do a little West Coast at Ceroc and Modern Jive freestyles I’m confident I won’t forget what I’ve learned so far and I can keep improving.

Southport Survivors make it to Monday class nights (Mon 13 June)

After three very late nights at Southport, I still managed to get to my Ceroc class at the Rolls Royce Pavilion.  So did quite a few others and host Liz Taylor rewards us with free entry.  It’s a great way of showing appreciation to the experienced dancers who support this fantastic class night.  There have been as many as twenty Southport Survivors at the Monday night class, showing just how many Derby dancers make the trip to the three-times-a-year dance weekender.

It’s the same picture across the country at these Monday night classes.  It’s a badge of honour showing your Southport wrist bands on Monday class nights.  However, I must admit that I have to pace myself and I only join the Beginners’ class towards the end and miss out on the Intermediate lesson, choosing instead to report back to some of my dance buddies.

DJ Roy mixes up the music

DJ Roy Goodall was on the decks.  Roy alternates the DJing duties with host Mark Emmas-Taylor.  They have very different types of playlists which ensure that the dancers get a great mix of music across lots of genres of music.  Roy mixes it up the most, picking lots of classic Ceroc tracks from the past twenty years but still finding space for the best of contemporary upbeat songs.  He illustrated this perfectly on Monday night.

He played two tracks that I remember being played by many DJs during my first year of dancing back in 2009.  The first of these was Push the button the 2005 hit from The Sugababes.  This was popular because it had the perfect beat for dancing.  Something important for class nights with a lot of beginners.  The second retro track was even older – the 2003 debut from Rachel Stevens,  Sweet dreams my LA ex.  It’s another track perfect for a beginners class and it was great to have a chance to dance to it again.

Roy keeps the music fresh with plenty of current favourites

Rachel Stevens was one of the members of S Club 7 and was tipped for a successful solo career.  Sadly her star soon diminished.  That contrasts with Dua Lipa a current star who seems set for a sustained career. She burst onto the scene in 2015 with the release of her debut album Dua Lipa, but it wasn’t until New rules became the 7th single to be released from that album, in 2017, that she caught the eye of Ceroc and Modern Jive DJs.

Roy played a track from her second album Future nostalgia.  The track, Hallucinate, was the 4th track taken from this album.  It’s a song we all know and again it’s easy to connect with beat makes it perfect for a class night with plenty of inexperienced dancers in attendance.  Even after my three-day Southport indulgence I found the energy to do this fabulous track justice.

A great time with my Southport Dance Gang (Sat 11 June)

I’ve always said that the best way to enjoy the Ceroc Southport Weekender is to go with a group of friends.  For this June Dance Fest, I was joined by friends I’d made at Derby and Nottingham Ceroc classes.  Each evening we met up at seven o’clock in the evening and enjoyed a meal of freshly cooked food.  Then it was off to the Thunderball Room where we made our base for the night.  From here we would go to the different dance halls.  The Thunderball Room for main room sounds, The Boudoir AKA The SILC Zone for chill-out dancing and the Cyclone Room for some Blues dancing.

The highlight of our weekend was Saturday night when we stayed on the dance floor until gone three-thirty in the morning.  The reason for our late-night dancing was to experience DJ Tim Sant’s Camp Attack, a celebration of the music that is associated with the blossoming of Gay culture.  I’ll be writing a music review of Southport and will be including one of the tracks that fuelled a great party atmosphere in the best tradition of Gay Pride.

You might have thought we’d be off to bed after our late-night dancing, but this is Southport and you have to at least one late night.  That’s considered a little lightweight as some people danced to gone six in the morning three nights on the trot.  For me and my dance gang pals, our dance floor partying was followed by a midnight feast of cheese and crackers and red wine.  As we sat sharing tales of our dance floor antics the night slowly turned to day and we decided to take a photo that proved we had partied until the sun came up.  My thanks to Liz, Ian, Helen, Janette and Ton for being the very best Southport buddies.

The 5 in the morning look

Time to plan my Southport Weekender activities (Wed 8 June)

Just two more sleeps until the start of Ceroc’s mega dance fest at Pontins in Ainsdale near Southport.  Already the excitement is building as my Weekender Buddies start planning our car shares and journey times.  I’m sharing a chalet this time with long-standing dance buddy Ian.  He’ll be picking me up at about 1:30.  We plan on meeting up with other dance friends at one of the service stations on the M6.  I always feel that the weekend starts at this service station meet up and you can bet you see other dancers stopping off on their way to Southport.

As always I’ve had a detailed look at the programme to see what lessons I want to do and more importantly which DJ sets I mustn’t miss.  It’s a while since I wrote a detailed review of one of these hour-long DJ sets.  I’ll be waiting to see who rocks the Thunderball Room or fully chills out the Boudoir before I decide who I’m going to feature.  One set I’ve never written about is the late-night Blues music of Marc Forster and Rachel Pears in the Cyclone Room.  I’m not too comfortable with Blues Dancing but perhaps this is the time I give the music a proper listen to.

It all kicks off at 3 in the afternoon on Friday

It always amazes me that the music starts at three on Friday afternoon in The Boudoir and never stops until six-thirty on Monday morning, with Marc Forster doing the last session in the Boudoir again.  Traditionally I don’t come out until about 8:30 on Friday night and get in thirty minutes of chill-out dancing in the Boudoir before joining the Ice-breaker class in the main Thunderball Room.  This is the first chance I get to meet up with the many friends I’ve met on my travels and previous Southports.

This class is a big attraction with over two hundred people packing the Thunderball Room dance floor and when it ends the dance floor immediately bursts into life.  I think one of the most magical moments of the whole weekend is when the DJ plays that first track after the Ice-breaker and you feel the atmosphere instantly fill the room.  DJ Tim Sant has the honour of spinning that first track.  I can’t wait to see what track he kicks off her set.

I usually manage to stay up until about two-thirty on the first night and the tradition is that a group of us will meet up in my chalet for a midnight feast and share our tales of our times on the dance floor.  Hopefully, I’m in bed around four.  I can’t help but smile when I think my two daughters will be fast asleep.  How times have changed when it was them who were out clubbing until the early hours.

The SILC Foundation class is a must for me

Thankfully I’ll get a bit of a lie-in on Saturday morning, as the first class on my list doesn’t start until 12:00, the SILC Foundation class.  I’ve been to this introduction to SILC class many times and each time I learn another new move.  Tim Sant is taking this class this time and I recommend this class to anyone wanting to get to grips with dancing to slower music in a smooth slotted style.

The top Southport highlight for me comes around on Saturday afternoons.  It’s the Motown and Northern Soul hour, respectful labelled, Keep the faith.  It’s being DJed by one of my favourite DJs, Tony Riccardi.  Tony did this set back in February and he set the floor on fire with his retro spins from the great Motown and Northern Soul back catalogues.

I know many people’s favourite afternoon slot is Swingers Hour.  This is some spectacle as many of the ladies dress up in colourful Rock ‘n’ Roll style dresses.  Many of the guys make an effort too and there will be Teddy Boy and WWII military outfits on show too.  Another popular addition to the Saturday afternoon speciality hours is the Country Music one when the Boudoir is transformed into the Bucks ‘n’ Boots Saloon with DJ Miss Kitty on the decks.  My inside information is that Miss Kitty is Sheena Assiph, AKA Tiggerbabe.  Apparently Tim Sant chose the Country style name, which Sheena loves.

Beginners get looked after too

I’m always amazed how many new faces turn up at Southport and just how many are relative beginners.  What pleases me is that there is a programme of Beginner classes for anyone who needs a little extra help.  The programme starts on Friday evening with a two-hour Complete Beginner class at seven.  There are two more beginners classes Saturday morning and evening and another Sunday morning.   This time the classes are being run by Jeni Liversidge, from Ceroc Sheffield who is making her Southport teaching debut.  Best of luck, Jeni.

I see that on Sunday afternoon there is a class designed to help the beginners step up to intermediate level with a Classic lesson run by Simona Tatarova.  I’ve said many times that these wonderful weekenders are only sustainable if we keep attracting new dancers to join us in our lessons and make the leap to freestyles and eventually weekenders.  For that reason, I’m impressed to see less experienced dancers made welcome at the mega-events like Southport.

I look forward to seeing many of the regular readers of my blog on the dance floor and wish everyone a great Southport Weekender experience.

My name’s Bridgette, what’s yours (Sat 4 June)

Saturday night saw me at Ceroc Devon’s Woolwell freestyle in Plymouth.   Since buying my holiday home near Honiton, I’ve danced a lot around Exeter and know many of the regular dancers.  However, Plymouth is a good hour and a quarter from my East Devon base so when I walked in I recognised only a couple of faces.  Even though I’m a confident asker, I still appreciate knowing lots of people in the room.

Ceroc, as a social dance format, is of course very friendly.  I think we all appreciate the rule that nobody should refuse a dance but I was still a little anxious.  However my offers to dance were greeted very warmly.  One such dance stood out as an example of just how friendly some venues can be.  I asked a lady to dance, who I’d never seen before.  As we started dancing she inquired with a smile, ‘My name’s Bridgette, what’s yours?’  I replied with an equally warm smile, ‘Paul.’

That friendly exchange was the prelude to a wonderful dance as I was able to put aside any anxiety and put all my energy into the dance, ensuring that I connected fully with the beat and lead my partner smoothly through the moves.  In fact it was part of a wonderful night’s dancing.  My thanks to all the ladies I danced with.

Helen shares my enthusiasm for a great track

Helen was another lady that eased me into the dancing, asking me for my very first dance.  Helen is a lovely dancer and later I would ask her for another.  The track we danced to was one that doesn’t get a lot of plays, Don’t stop by Fleetwood Mac.  It’s a shame really because it has an energised beat that I found myself instantly connecting with.

Fully connected to the beat I upped my own energy level.  What made this dance one of the best of the night was the fact that Helen matched my enthusiasm for the track.  We all have these great dances once in a while and it’s hard sometimes to work out why they are so good.  I think the connection with the music is part of it but it’s the connection you have with your partner that is just as important.  If they match your energy and joy at being able to dance to a fab piece of music, as Helen did, then you have a chance to enjoy a wonderful dance.  Here’s the Fleetwood Mac track we danced to with its easy to connect with rhythm.

So that’s what it’s called (Fri 3 June)

Every so often I’m out at a freestyle and I hear a track that makes me realise it’s one I keep dancing to.  Sometimes it takes a while for a track to register even though it’s being played by lots of DJs and I’ve enjoyed some fabulous dances to it.  It happened again on Friday night.  I’m staying for a few days at my lodge in Devon, so Friday night saw me at the Ceroc Devon Freestyle at St Thomas Cricket Club in Exeter.  Ivan Burton was on the decks and he played a track that was first released a year ago and has been a hit all over Europe,  making No 3 in the UK charts.

I know many people read my blog because it identifies the great tracks we dance to but we just don’t know what they are called.  I thought this track was called Like my favourite song going round my head.  I’m sure other people thought the same.  In fact, it’s called Where Are You Now and is a collaboration between Belgium DJ Lost Frequencies and English vocalist Calum Scott.  So here is one of the most popular main room tracks of the moment.

To read my previous Quick Notes click the link below.

Quick Steps: Quick Notes – May 2022