Cambridge Dancers' Club
Congratulations to XS-Latin B Team for their recent WDC-AL European Championship win in Blackpool and best wishes for a speedy recovery for Michael Brown.
Here in Cambridge, the Easter term is about to start. The first normal CDC classes begin on Monday 24th April but, with the Varsity competition only 2 weeks away, the CU DanceSport Team also have some special training sessions. Eg on Sunday 23rd April in Parkside school gym from 10am to 5pm and from 9am to 7pm on Sunday 30th April.
Varsity Competition - Saturday 6th May
The venue for this year's Varsity competition is the main hall of the Cambridge University Sports Centre (CB3 0AS). The expected schedule of events is:
10:00 = Challenge Match (B Team)
11:45 = Rock'n'Roll Varsity
13:00 = Varsity Match (A Team)
15:00 = Open Events (to be announced)
If you are a Cambridge University dancing alumnus, this is a good excuse to come back and meet some old friends.
Silly GD - Friday 5th May
The future is here, possibly a day or even a few decades late, but definitely all bright and shiny with space-ships and time-travel and robots. Come and be silly with us at our free social dancing session, from 8:30pm to 10:30pm in the Main Dining Hall of the University Centre, while all the serious people are in the gym getting in some last minute dancesport practice ready for Varsity. As ever, fancy dress is entirely optional.
Saturday Workshop + Practice
The Saturday afternoon sessions, from 4pm to 7pm in the grad.pad Main Dining Hall, are suitable for complete beginners and ongoing improvers in the social dance styles. There will be slightly more emphasis on being able to lead and/or follow, even when dancing with an unfamiliar partner (ie you don't necessarily need to bring one of your own!). You get more tuition time for your money as long as you help move the furniture at the start and/or end of the session.
In the run-up to Varsity, the sessions are still being shared between social and competitive dancers rather than as formal classes with a fixed plan. The price will be £4 for all or any part of the 3 hours for anyone needing tuition, eg help with their existing class routines or wanting to learn some new figures or even learn the basics of a new dance style. If there are CUDT or CURnR members who merely need extra practice space to work on their own during the session, then the price will be £1.
The music will be largely continuous. By default this will be primarily modern ballroom from 4pm to 5:30pm (ie waltz, quickstep and then some foxtrot, tango or viennese as required) and then latin american from 5:30pm to 7pm (ie cha-cha, jive, rumba and possibly samba or even paso doble if required). But you can ask for a particular dance style if you need to do a run-through of a routine.
We try to run as many different class options as possible during university full terms. We have a much reduced set of activities during the holidays when most of the students and some of the faculty and residents are away - including our volunteer staff.
Our scheduled timetable of regular events has its own page; but there may also be occasional one-off special items and exceptional cancellations or venue or teacher changes. These exceptions will appear in announcements above, in emails to the membership and are also indicated in the outline for the term below.
The Easter 2017 Term will initially run from Monday 24th April up to half-term holiday and then only some of the classes will continue into the core exam period. There may yet be further classes in a Summer Term running from June to July.
If you're not already a CDC member for the 2016-17 year, you can print out and fill in a registration form in advance of your first class to save a bit of time in the queue (see our prices here). Don't forget to check where each venue is (see venue information here) as we always lose a few people who go to the wrong place first or don't plan how they are going to get to class on time.
Our beginners classes really are for complete beginners. You don't need any dance experience, special kit or even a partner to start learning with us. Those who were beginners in a previous term should be improvers in their next term, unless they missed a lot of classes or struggled with the dance style and would prefer to repeat beginners. We have more options for ballroom and latin than other styles, with the full progression being: Beginners → (New) Improvers → (Easy) Intermediates → Advanced.
Improvers often prefer to remain at that level for more than one term. Sometimes we can sub-divide them into new improvers (who have just left beginners) and ongoing improvers; but this isn't always possible with the class sizes and time slots. We occasionally have an Easy Intermediates level too for those who feel inspired to tackle some slightly harder dances and dance figures but are not quite ready to join the highest levels. Anyone who has been dancing for much more than a year should try an Intermediates class. At that point you should also be considering joining the dancesport practices - especially if you do happen to have a compatible partner from classes with whom you can practise your routines.
Easter 2017 Term Outline
ie the exceptional items which deviate from the regularly scheduled timetable:
Week 0 (Monday Apr.17 to Sunday Apr.23), pre-term week:
Sat. Apr.22 = B+L Workshop class combined with DS practice, 4pm to 7pm in the MDH
Sun. Apr.23 = pre-term CUDT dancesport camp, 10am to 5pm in Parkside school gym
Week 1 (Monday Apr.24 to Sunday Apr.30), first week of normal classes:
Sat. Apr.29 = B+L Workshop class combined with DS practice, 4pm to 7pm in the MDH
Sun. Apr.30 = extra long pre-Varsity DS session, 9am to 7pm in Parkside school gym
Week 2 (Monday May 01 to Sunday May 07):
Mon. May 01 = Bank Holiday, no classes with Clive in St.C's - try Paul's instead
Thu. May 04 = polling day, no classes with Russell in St.C's - try his Tuesday set
Fri. May 05 = silly GD with a science-fiction theme, fancy dress optional
Sat. May 06 = Varsity DS competition - Cambridge are at home against Oxford
Sat. May 06 = no Saturday practice or classes during Varsity
Week 3 (Monday May 08 to Sunday May 14):
Sat. May 13 = no Saturday practice or classes due to a rival event in the MDH
Week 4 (Monday May 15 to Sunday May 21): no known changes.
Week 5 (Monday May 22 to Sunday May 28): no known changes.
Week 6 (Monday May 29 to Sunday Jun.04):
Mon. May 29 = Bank Holiday, no classes with Clive in St.C's
Tue. May 30 = school half-term holiday, no more RnR with Guido and Cristina
Week 7 (Monday Jun.05 to Sunday Jun.11):
Thu. Jun.08 = yet another polling day and probably no classes with Russell in St.C's
Fri. Jun.09 = no GD in the grad.pad MDH
Sat. Jun.10 = ? do we want to hold a special alumni meet-up and end-of-term party ?
Week 8 (Monday Jun.12 to Sunday Jun.18):
Wed. Jun.14 = ceilidh in the Stoneyard Centre upper hall instead of Paul's classes
Revision notes are available for a few of our classes. This page also includes some examples of music suitable for the various dance styles, so that you can practise away from classes. There are even lists of tracks commonly played at GD. Eg for when you're trying to find something you heard there - although it's far easier to look at the playlist on the evening itself!
Our General Dancing sessions on Friday evenings, from 8:30pm to 10:30pm in the Main Dining Hall of the University Centre (grad.pad), are intended to be for everyone to practise together in a friendly social environment. It's completely free to attend GD, whether you want to dance or merely to watch. You don't need a fixed practice partner and you don't need CDC membership either. Eg some ex-members return from time to time and people also bring visitors and family along - including their children!
Sometimes there's a special seasonal theme to the music with matching decorations etc and the option of wearing appropriate fancy-dress costume for a more party-like atmosphere.
There's usually no official tuition at these social events but there are typically several experienced dancers around who are willing to show beginners (or improvers) a few steps - though obviously you'll gain more benefit by attending proper classes too! You can try dancing with different people during the evening or stick with your one special partner as you wish. So do come along and introduce yourself to the regulars.
During term-time, the first half hour will concentrate on beginners dances (pairs of waltz, quickstep, cha-cha and jive tracks with some rumba and social foxtrot) to allow new students to start to integrate fully in the social side of the club and/or practise their routines outside the class situation. But GD also continues outside academic term times into the holidays - apart from national holidays (when the building itself is closed).
Dance Practice Sessions
These practices are for people who already know what they want to practise as there is no formal dance tuition provided. You do not have to be on the team or even a CDC member to attend these sessions but you do have to agree to be bound by the club's health and safety rules (see the committee member in charge of the session). We try to book enough practice space slots to accommodate the expected number of dancers at a price the collective group of them can afford.
The subscription price for the Easter holiday period is £5.
The subscription price for the intensive pre-Varsity 2 weeks is £10.
The subscription price for the remainder of the Easter exam term is £15.
Music will be played as appropriate during the sessions - typically favouring latin american in the smaller venues and modern ballroom in the larger ones. That doesn't mean you can't practise different dances at a particular session. You just need to be considerate of other users of the space. Any RnR (or salsa!) people attending a public practice may prefer to bring their own tracks and co-ordinate with Reggie, Sofiya or Nina etc for these to be played when they want a complete run-through of a dance.
The CDC as a whole does not arrange private lessons for people. Those teachers who are willing to have their details made public are included on our links page (and, if you already attend CDC lessons, you may approach them there too). However, if you are already on the DanceSport teams or are hoping to be selected, you may be able to arrange for a private lesson with one of the team coaches. Contact the CUDT Secretary to book a specific time slot. Non-team people should contact the new CDC competitive group to find out if there are any spare private lesson slots available with the coaches.
The Cambridge Dancers' Club is a non-profit, combined town & gown, community organisation run by unpaid volunteers - ie those people you see everywhere helping out at classes. To keep costs down as far as possible for all our club members, only the professional teachers and venues we hire get paid (beyond absolutely essential expenses such as some printing costs and performance licence fees!). This means we really do need your help to keep the club going - especially as we have a high turnover among the student volunteers.
If you regularly attend more than one class per week and are committed to dancing, you might want to consider joining the CDC committee. Email the club or ask any door-duty person what this involves. There are a few perks, such as cheaper classes, too. This is obviously particularly relevant to people who attend more than one class per week (from the financial point of view alone!) and for those who want to improve their dancing, learn more things and progress more quickly (as you'll be exposed to more styles, more figures/steps and probably try out both roles).
Competitive DanceSport Ballroom & Latin
If you're a student in the Cambridge area who might be eligible to compete for Cambridge, or if you'd simply like to try the competitive side of dancing for fun, then come along to our DanceSport classes. If you were a beginner in the past competition year (ending with IVDC), then you should attend the intermediates class this term and/or continue with team sessions and private lessons.
Students who have not had lessons in ballroom and latin before can join the Cambridge University Beginners' DanceSport Team where there's no fixed limit on places and you'll only be competing against other beginners. Note that, for dancesport purposes, Anglia Ruskin students count as Cambridge students. If you're interested in competing but have other questions about eligibility etc then contact the CUDT Beginners' Captain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're a student but not a beginner then you can trial for the Cambridge University DanceSport Team - by far the most successful university team in the country last year! The main auditions are at the start of the Michaelmas term for places on several teams. For more information, please contact the CUDT Captain(s) at email@example.com.
The CDC also has members competing very successfully on the open circuit (in which non-students may compete). To learn about competitive opportunities for non-students, including out-of-term practice spaces or to seek a partner, please join the "CDC Competes on the Open Circuit" Facebook group. For more information contact our club Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another dance style featured in the inter-varsity competitions is rock and roll. This has evolved from its authentic social dancing roots to encompass continental-style high kicks as well as showy acrobatics. If this sounds and looks like your sort of thing then anyone is welcome to join and train with the Cambridge University Rock'n'Roll Team. For more information contact the CURnR Captains, Asia and Geoff, at email@example.com.
This year they will have their own DanceSport RnR class and public practice on Wednesday evenings; but it's possible to try that as well as our social RnR classes (still on Tuesday evenings) if you want to keep your options open and learn a wider range of styles and figures.
If you don't want to join the CDC at the moment but do want to receive emailed announcements of our events during the year, you can subscribe yourself to our mailing list for interested non-members (by clicking on that link). You will then have to reply to the confirmation email you receive.
If you want to unsubscribe from our lists you *must* use the exact form of your email address which you originally used to subscribe to them, not some forwarded or modified version (eg gmail is not the same as googlemail and academic sub-department addresses are not the same as generic cam.ac.uk ones). Our system can only recognise automatically the information you gave it. If you no longer have access to your originally specified email address then you'll need to request a manual removal.
See our links page for other dance groups (with their own classes and events), private teachers and suppliers of dance equipment etc.
Non-CDC activities in the immediate space-time vicinity include:
- Ceroc is on Monday evenings at the University Sports & Social Club on Mill Lane.
- The LindyHoppers have classes and social events on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
- CamTango run Argentine Tango classes and socials (though not currently their former Wednesday class in St.C's Gibson Hall).
- Cambridge Cuban Salsa is operating the Thursday Salsa Social Club and the Sunday Salsa Lounge.
- Wolfson college has cross-body salsa on Thursdays and Argentine Tango on Saturdays (7pm to 11pm).
- There is more cross-body salsa on Mondays at St.Paul's, Wednesdays & Fridays at the USC and Thursdays at OLEM Parish Centre.
- There is English, Scottish, Irish and American folk/country dancing in town plus morris and molly dancing.
- The next Tea Dance at the Guildhall will be on Wednesday 17th May from 1pm to 4pm. This features a mixture of standard ballroom and latin dances and sequence dancing.
- Tea Dances of a similar nature occur regularly in many villages around Cambridge (eg out at Prickwillow).
- More local dance events can be found via meetup.
If you are intending to take your dancing more seriously at any point,
then you may need to be fitted for specialist shoes.
The best options are usually men's ballroom or ladies' latin shoes for DanceSport B+L
(although you'll need heel protectors too for stiletto heels!)
and jazz-ballet shoes for coping with *any* dance style, especially salsa or RnR
(although light trainers / sneakers are the preferred choice of some salsa and RnR dancers).
Our local supplier, Attitude Dancewear, has recently moved a little further out from the centre of Cambridge to Level 1, 182 Histon Road CB4 3JP (ie towards Arbury, near the Aldi shop). The advantages are better parking and more space to keep more stock in store. They offer a 10% discount to anyone presenting their CDC membership card.