Where, when and how much?
As a non-profit and member-run organisation, we do not have any fixed business premises, office, dedicated telephone line or paid staff. Instead we hire the venues and the professional dance teachers that we use for our classes etc.
Our classes are run in several halls around the centre of Cambridge, on weekday evenings and sometimes weekend afternoons. For more information about our timetable and pricing please see one of the following:
Our classes are open to both students and adult residents and even visitors to the area. Only the competitive teams, CUDT and CURnR have strict eligibility requirements. However, we are unable to accept young children because of the impracticality of CRB/DBS checking all our volunteer staff. If you are under 18 or have vulnerable adult status, please contact us to see if there is anything we can do to accommodate you safely in our classes, eg if you are accompanied by a suitable guardian.
How do I start?
Just come along to a class! There's usually no need to book in advance.
If you'd like to join at your first class, please arrive 5 to 10 minutes early to allow time to fill in a membership form. Alternatively, you can download a copy of the membership form (or a pair on a page for multiple people to use), print it out, fill it in and bring this along to the class. If you'd like to try a class before joining, you're welcome to do so, but you'll be charged our non-members rate for that class. Members will be given priority if a class is becoming full.
If you're a complete beginner, you should attend classes within the first two weeks of a course starting. Unfortunately, we can't usually accept new people any later than this to avoid slowing the teaching down unfairly for everyone else; although we do sometimes run 'late starters' courses that begin 2-3 weeks after the start of term. Anyway, don't worry if you miss the deadline: we run several courses each year, so it won't be long before you have another chance to join the next term's beginners!
If you've danced before, we also run more advanced classes that might suit you better; please check the dance style pages for details. Non-beginners can resume dancing at any time, although it's still far easier to start learning routines at the beginning of a course.
What style of dancing should I try?
We like people to try as many styles as possible as they are often surprised to find themselves enjoying something which they had no idea would suit them. To that end, your CDC membership entitles you to one free class in each of our current core styles: social ballroom & latin, dancesport (ballroom and latin), rock'n'roll (social and competitive) and salsa (LA/NY or Cuban) and anything new we are able to offer that year.
If you are looking for something classy which you can use at formal social events (such as balls, weddings, corporate functions etc), then try ballroom and latin. If you are keenly competitive, then you might want to try dancesport - its flashy twin.
Another style which can easily be both social and competitive is rock'n'roll. We cover several different styles of this: authentic, modern/continental and acrobatic - and even beginners can learn some acrobatic moves.
An alternative social style, which lends itself more to informal parties and nightclubs, is salsa. We usually cover a couple of different styles of salsa. The LA/NY style is quite linear - for crowded venues. The Cuban style is more flowing and often leads on to Rueda - a circle dance.
See the dance styles page for further information.
Which level should I go to?
In most of our dance styles, we offer several levels of class, suitable for people with different levels of experience and ability.
Beginners -> Improvers -> Intermediates -> Advanced
Beginners courses are always suitable for those who have never danced the style before. They assume no prior knowledge, start right at the beginning and progress at a very gentle pace initially. Sometimes we run 'fast track' versions of these courses, which teach the same material but at a quicker pace. These are often a better choice for beginners who have danced other related styles before, and for those who are going to more than one session a week.
Improvers classes are suitable for those who went to the corresponding Beginners classes in the previous term and want to learn more. They also tend to be a good place to start if you're coming back to dancing after a long break and want a refresher course. Occasionally we can sub-divide improvers into New Improvers (for people who have only just moved up from beginners) and Improvers (for ongoing groups of improvers) because it is common to spend 2 terms at the improvers level.
Intermediates classes, offered in our most popular styles, are suitable for those who are comfortable with the material taught in Improvers and want to learn still more. Occasionally we can subdivide intermediates into Easy Intermediates (for people who have only just left improvers) and an ongoing Intermediates group (containing some people who may have been dancing for much more than a year).
Advanced classes build further on the material taught in Intermediates and are usually suited to people who have danced for at least a couple of years.
For more details, please see the page for the dance style you'd like to learn:
For social classes, you only need to go to one class per week and, although it is possible to change between teachers and days, it is probably easier to stick to the same class each week. Of course, you can go to more classes if you want to, and some courses combine well. The competitive DanceSport Beginners need to attend both Ballroom & Latin specialisms and the DanceSport rock'n'roll similarly have 2 sessions per week.
Do I need to bring a partner?
All of our timetabled classes are open to people coming as singles, couples and in groups. Most classes get several of each turning up, so the short answer is 'no'.
At Beginner/Improver levels, our teachers will usually ask everyone to change partners several times during a class. This helps to avoid developing bad habits by dancing with the same person all the time, and also means everyone gets a chance to dance if the male/female numbers aren't equal. This does mean that if you come with a partner, you probably won't be dancing with them all the time. So if you really do want to do that, our classes probably aren't for you.
At higher level classes, particularly in the competitive styles, some people will naturally settle into regular partnerships, and teachers will tend not to announce partner swaps as often. This doesn't mean you can't go without a partner, though; it's just assumed that people will swap around of their own accord if they want to.
What shall I bring/wear?
In general, the only things you need to bring to a class are yourself, whatever you'll be wearing, membership card and enough money to pay for the session. In hot weather, or when attending multiple classes in a row, it might be worth bringing your own bottle of drinking water.
Please note that many venues we use do not have secure storage for valuables; and, while we don't have a major problem with theft, unfortunately it does happen. We recommend leaving valuables at home whenever possible. Likewise, if you come by bike then please lock it up securely. If you do lose something or leave it behind at a venue, remember to check back at that venue to see whether it has been placed in the venue's own lost property collection.
We also have some pages about what to wear for dancing:
- What to wear (including formal dress codes)
- Dance shoes