DJ Joe and Tracey hold the fort for Marc & Rachel

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The Bedford Corn Exchange is a fabulous venue

On Friday night I called in at Ceroc Beds & Bucks Bedford Corn Exchange freestyle on my way down for a weekend of dancing with my friend Neil.  Marc Forster and Rachel Pears were on duty at The Ceroc Camber Weekender, so they left Tracey to manage the door and Joe Collins was on DJing duties.

Joe tells me that it was the first time he actually entered the Corn Exchange, and was quite taken back just how big the venue was, which meant that this was his debut here.  That I found a little surprising, because Joe read the floor like someone who had been DJing this venue for years.

The first think to say is that Joe’s sound system was perfectly balanced.  This is a large hall to fill with sound, and the vibe coming out of the speakers was perfect, particularly for those tracks with the bass line pumping to the max.

The second thing to say is how impressive the turn out was.  I know that the hot weather has had a negative effect on numbers this week, and it should be remembered that the Camber Weekender draws a lot of people from the Beds & Bucks area, but still the dance floor was nicely full and there were plenty of people to dance with.

Once again it shows the support that Marc and Rachel have built up for their franchise, and not forgetting Traceys warm welcome on the door.

But I have to finish by congratulating Joe on his playlist.  As I said above, Joe read the dance floor perfectly and his pick of tracks kept the dance floor busy all night.  As always I was listening out for some fabulous music that was new to me.  Two tracks stood out.

The first was the Smoma 2004 version of the Steely Dan ’70s classic Do it again.  This is a lovely chilled track with some jazzy instrumentation that really made me take notice.

 

The second was the Chromeo remix of Maroon 5’s Wait.  I listened to the original which had little going for it, but the remix that Joe played was another story.  Chromeo has given Wait a retro ’90s house treatment, based around a Nile Rodgers style guitar lick.  I connected with it’s beat instantly.   Loved it.  (Posted Saturday 30 June)

A wonderful Forum for Social Dancing

I’ve just spent twenty minutes on a wonderful Facebook Page called The Dancers Forum.  It’s open to all types of social dancing, but there are a lot of contributors from the Modern Jive and Blues scene.  You’ll see from their Facebook banner that they do not allow any advertising, so its purely chat about issues around dancing.

Here’s an example of one of the posts that started a discussion about close-hold dancing.

I love close hold. I love body connection all the way down, including facial contact if and when it happens naturally.

A dance is just a dance, for three minutes or so, and it stays on the dancefloor.

We all know that. BUT – are there any ethical lines here? I deliberately resist very close hold and especially facial connection if I know my partner is not single.

I know that, in theory, it shouldn’t make any difference.  And of course, you often have no idea whether your dance partner is single, or not.

If you are in a relationship, how do you feel about seeing your partner in close hold/facial connection with someone else?  I don’t think I’m particularly insecure or jealous, but I don’t think I would be too keen.  Is it just me?

The post generated eighteen comments from dancers from a wide range of dance styles including Ceroc, Modern Jive, Tango, Blues, Zouk, and West Coast Swing.  What’s really interesting is that people bare their souls and there were some very open comments, that I think everyone in the Modern Jive community would enjoy reading.

I hope to find time to write a full article on this fabulous Facebook Page, but in the meantime please follow the link and enjoy reading some very honest thoughts about all aspects of social dancing.  (Posted Friday 29 June)

Dancers Forum Facebook Page

DJ Mark gets me back in the groove with a funky remix

Since Southport I’ve taken a bit of break from dancing and writing, but after returning from a trip to Rome, I was raring to go again.  Lucky for me that one of my favourite venues was on last night.  As always Ceroc Heaven’s Kelham Hall was very busy and DJ Mark O’Reilly didn’t disappoint.

One of my favourite tracks was Albin Lee Meldau’s The weight is gone.  This contemporary track has a laid back funky feel that’s is so easy to dance to.  I think I may have heard it before, but now it’s registered with my dance brain I hope to be able to dance to it a lot more in the future.

But the track I want to shout about is another remix of Gregory Porters Liquid Spirit.  The original was released in 2013, but it was the 2015 remix by Claptone, with its thumping bass line and hypnotic piano riff that brought it to the attention of the Modern Jive jocks.

Seems that Mark found another remix from 2014, that gave me one of the best dances of the night, and consequently had me rushing to the stage as soon as it had faded out.  ‘What remix was that please?’  Seems it was by Knuckle G.

There is actually very little of the Gregory Porter original.  Indeed the brief interludes of Gregory’s singing seem to be there only to split up the instrumental sections.  These instrumental passages are so funky, and have elements of ’70s and ’80s disco, with a catchy Nile Rogers style guitar lick, that had me in Dance Heaven.

Loved it Mark.  Great to be back.  Now just need to get back to the writing – the next instalment of the Tea Dance Road Trip should be published on Monday.  (Posted Saturday 23 June)

Teacher Ashley does it differently

At Ceroc Heaven’s West Bridgford Class, teacher Ashley Davis tried something different for The Intermediate Class.  Instead of doing the normal three move routine he did just one moveThe Basket, but with almost twenty variations.

The Basket is one of the old time Ceroc Beginners moves that is widely used in freestyles, because it’s easy to lead and has a nice flowing action.  It’s also a good move to slow down when dancing to chill-out tracks.

What Ashley did was to explore all the variations of this move, and even I was surprised how many different ones he found.  In each variation the move starts in the same way by bringing the lady to the man’s side.  It’s the exit where the variations are.

So instead of turning the lady out once, keep you hand high and the lady is encouraged to turn for a second time.  Sometimes keep the hands low, sometimes high.  Keep hold of both hands, or let go of one hand.  Do an inside turn out rather than the usual outside one.  There are so many possibilities.

What Ashley did was to explain to the men that they could simply experiment with this one move and add to their repertoire. For the ladies it was about realising that men may vary this move and to learn to recognise the signals.

Ashley gave one great tip.

Remember if the move goes wrong, you’ve probably found another variation.  That’s how dance moves evolve, so just keep experimenting.

I would add this tip:

Remember guys that your lady follower doesn’t necessarily know your new variation, so always think about how you can lead it clearly.

I understand that Ashley did the same Basket Variation class at Ceroc Heaven’s Lincoln class and it went down just as well.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it very useful.  Hopefully more classes will take up this idea. (Posted Friday 15 June)

I live blog at Southport using my Facebook Page

Over the Southport Weekender I lived blogged by using my Modern Jive Dancer Facebook page.  I’d simply take a photo, add a little text and pressed the Post button.  It’s a great way of live blogging.

Hopefully the posts gave a flavour of this wonderful dance fest.  To see the full list of posts please search for Modern Jive Dancer on Facebook.  Here’s just one example.

I get an over dose of Funk

I’m currently updating my Southport Boudoir Taster article (hopefully it will be published on Wednesday next week).  As always I’m writing with my headphones on, as I listen to You Tube.  I’m updating the section on Vince Silva’s Funk Hour when by coincidence YouTube selects a funk track to play.

I recognise the heavy bass line immediately, and turn up the volume as high as I dare.  What follows up is a remix, very reminiscent of ’80s Chicago House, when jocks extended a disco classic by layering samples of other ’70s dance hits over it.

In this Liebrand remix the base track is People’s Choice ’70s blast of funk Do it any way you want.  I didn’t recognise all the samples but The Gap Bands Oops up side your head and Indeep’s, equally infectious Last night a DJ saved my life, were easily identified.  The result was a mash up of Funk that came close to overdose levels.

How about it for the Funk Hour Vince?  In fact why I’m at it, how about Last night a DJ saved my life please. (Posted Sunday 3 June)

To read the previous edition of Quick Steps: Quick Notes please click here