Wow, that was a fabulous holiday (Sun 29 May)

It’s time for a lie in after a late-night arrival at East Midlands Airport.  My dance holiday in Majorca is sadly over.  What a wonderful time we all had and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  I’ve still got to finish off my review of Beach Roc, the MJRoc weekender in The Isle of Wight but as soon as it’s finished I’ll be getting started.  It’s going to be a long one so give me a couple of weeks.

One great memory I have is dancing outside in front of the main stage.  You can’t beat dancing outside in the late afternoon when there is a some shade and the temperature has cooled a little.  Add in a cool glass of sangria and chilling out with some of your new friends and it takes a lot of beating.  What makes these dance holidays is meeting new like minded people, but more about that in my review.

Dancing in front of the main stage in the afternoon.

Some fabulous new-to-me music (Wed 25 May)

I’m in the middle of my dance holiday in Majorca and I’ve got to say the music is fabulous.  There are four DJs on duty, two each night, and this is guaranteeing something different every night and so much new-to-me music.  So good is the music mix that I’ve decided to write a supplementary article about the great tracks I’ve been dancing to, in addition to my review of the holiday itself.

Last night I found myself dancing to one such great new-to-me track.  It had a perfect soul beat and after enjoying a fabulous dance, I was on the stage asking DJ Russell Gibbs what it was.  ‘Lick it before you stick it, Paul by Denise LaSalle and you have to listen to the words carefully.’

Now as you know this is a family blog, so please try to listen to this great piece of funked-up dance music without listening to the words.  Russell is also providing music by the outside stage, so in the afternoon we are also enjoying alfresco dancing – more of that in my upcoming review.

I’m off on a dance holiday in Majorca (Sat 21 May)

On Saturday afternoon I’m off on my first dance holiday since lockdown.  I originally booked this week in Alcudia, Majorca back in December 2019 but like everything the holiday was cancelled as dancing closed down.  So after a two-year delay, I fly off from East Midlands Airport with my dance buddy Marion.  The holiday is run by Revolution Dance, the organisation run by Keith Davis of Stockport Town Hall freestyles fame.

I’ve no doubt I’ll have a fabulous time and will be writing a full review when I return.  Back in 2019, I was determined to make 2020 my year of dance holidays but it was not to be.  Now, however, I have two more to look forward to this year – The Ceroc River Cruise from Bordeaux in France in July and Medfest the Ceroc holiday based in Calpe on the Costa Blanca in September.  I’d better get some Factor 50 in stock!

The Iberostar Albufera Playa Hotel in Alcudia

A great response to Classics Vol 4 (Tues 17 May)

Last Saturday I published the fourth in my series of Classic Ceroc & Modern Jive tracks.  The listing got a fabulous response and was read by over four hundred people in the first few days.  It seems we all have our own favourite Classic tracks and so DJs are never going to be able to please all the people all the time.  For that reason, I was pleased to get some positive comments on the Facebook Pages where I posted the link to the post.  However, as expected not everyone agreed with my ten choices.

Andrew got in touch to say that he only liked one of the tracks.  In response, I asked Andrew to send me some of his favourite tracks.  Several were quite recent and wouldn’t have made my own listing as the criteria is that tracks must be at least five years old.  However his choice of Kaleida’s Take me to the river, Calvin Harris’ Promises with Sam Smith and One kiss with Dua Lipa are ones that no doubt will be Classics of the future.

Andrew suggests another Classic Main Room track

Andrew’s list included one track that is a fabulous main room classic, and one worth including in Volume 5 of Classic Tracks.  It’s from the Disco era with a cool funky feel –  Stomp by The Brothers Johnson.  Just to prove the point that we all have different tastes when it comes to our favourite tracks, Andrew included a Northern Soul stomper that I think is just too fast for Modern Jive.  So fast that I dive into a corner so no one will ask me to dance to it.  The track is The snake by Al Wilson.

My thanks to Andrew for his feedback and to the many others who commented on my choices.  Here then is Stomp by Brothers Johnson.  I noticed that it was produced by Quincy Jones the producer who kickstarted Michael Jackson’s solo career with the Off the wall album and would also produce the mega-hit Thriller album.

Spotify serves up a delicious chill-out vibe (Thurs 5 May)

I often wonder where chill-out DJs find their exclusive new tracks.  They must spend hours trawling through the dance music vaults to find them.  Perhaps sometimes they hit on them quite accidentally.  This week I was listening to one of my own chill-out playlists on Spotify.  When the playlist ended, Spotify automatically started playing random tracks that were in the same genre as I’d just been listening to.  This feature of Spotify serves up some wonderful tracks.  Suddenly one of these random tracks caught my attention.

It was listed as a TEEMID Remix of Little lover a 2016 track by Nick Broadhurst.  I immediately added it to the aforementioned playlist.  I then went in search of it on YouTube, knowing that it would make a good Quick Note item for the blog.  I quickly found it but also noticed another remix of the same song that is not on Spotify,  It’s been done by Etherglow and I think it’s even more chilled than the TEEMID remix.  So from YouTube via Spotify here is a delicious track that I think could find a place in any chill-out playlist.

Another West Coast Swing class opens in Nottingham (Sun 1 May)

After there being no West Coast Swing lessons in the East Midlands for what seems like an age, suddenly we have two monthly workshops.  Next Sunday, 8 May, I’ll be at the third Paul Warden WCS workshop at The Grange, which precedes the afternoon Serene Sunday chillout freestyle.  This Sunday I was at The Bramcote Memorial Hall for what is a monthly workshop with Paul @ Pulse.  

Paul was once a major player in the Nottingham area, running weekly Modern Jive classes and freestyles at the much lamented Plessey Social Club in Beeston.  Paul introduced so many people to Modern Jive and his legacy is still represented by many of the people who dance in the East Midlands.  It was with Paul ten years ago that I had my first attempt at West Coast Swing.  I got as far as learning the five basic patterns but gave up before really mastering the dance.

Now that I have two workshops to go to each month and a dance buddy who will practice with me at home, I’m confident that I’ll finally master this wonderful dance style.  I look forward to writing a review of my first West Coast freestyle.

The first hour is for absolute beginners

Just as with the Serene Sunday workshops, the first hour is devoted to introducing beginners to the dance.  I hoping that these beginner classes will swell the number of people in the East Midlands who take up West Coast Swing and that we’ll get a sustained Westie community in this area.  With only two lessons a month it’s going to take some time, but it’s a start.  I was pleased to see some people here who were at the Serene Sunday beginners class.  Hopefully, these two workshops can complement each other.

While I did both the Beginners and Intermediate classes this time, I think I’m ready to drop the Beginners and concentrate on the intermediate/Improvers classes.

I have to say that I was very impressed with the teaching style of Paul and his demo Becky Webb.  In the intermediate part of the afternoon, Paul showed us how to develop the basic patterns with easy-to-pick-up styling tips.  He also showed us two different Anchor Steps which added a nice touch of styling.  The following day, I and my dance buddy went through the video of Paul’s moves and I’m proud to say I can now get through a whole three-minute dance with a variety of moves.

Videoing the Intermediate moves and styling

Building a playlist of West Coast Swing tracks

Each time I go to a West Coast Swing class I have my phone on Auto-Shazam.  When I get home I add a couple of tracks to a playlist on Spotify.  It’s this expanding playlist that I use when I’m practicing at home.  Paul explained that while you can West Coast to any tempo of music, over the past ten years the music has slowed down.  I hope, that when I get familiar with the popular West Coast Tracks, to put together a collection and publish it on my blog in the same way I’ve done for popular Modern Jive and Smooth Jive tracks.

In the meantime here’s one of the tracks from Sunday, Back and forth by Aaliyah.  It’s a track that would find a place in a chilled playlist for Smooth Jive.  There is no doubt that Smooth Jive and West Coast go together.  You can also imagine this track finding a place in a Modern Blues class, which is the reason why Paul has teamed up with Sara White (see my posting below) to create Collaboration, a monthly West Coast Swing and Blues event in Cotgrave also near Nottingham – the next one is Friday 13 May.  Suddenly we have the beginning of a real West Coast Swing scene in The East Midlands.

To read my previous Quick Notes click the link below.

Quick Steps: Quick Notes – April 2022