Cambridge Dancers' Club

The Cambridge Dancers' Club is a non-profit town & gown society. In addition to serving students in the region (from Cambridge University but also Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge Regional College and the Open University), our classes and practices are open for other adult members of the local population who want to dance - and we even have a few non-resident members.

If you want to dance with us, make sure you check: what's on the current timetable, where the relevant venue is and that you've brought enough money for the class or practice fee (and also remembered to bring your club membership card if you want the member rate - otherwise registration can be done at the class itself). As well as formal classes (fee payable per class), we also run some dancesport practice sessions (subscription payable in advance), some free social practices and the occasional big ball or tea-dance event.

Announcements


Cambridge Volunteering

Don't just ask what Cambridge University can do for you but consider also what you might do for your community. CCVS is holding an event on Saturday 20th October at the Guildhall.

Strictly Cam Dancing - a fun charity competition for Children In Need

Many years ago, the Cambridge Dancers' Club used to run 24-hour dance-a-thons for Children In Need in Michaelmas terms. This year we're going to run a slightly different type of charity event - modelled on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing but in Cambridge style. The date is Saturday 27th October 2018. The venue is the Main Dining Hall of the University Centre.

• Competing couples must consist of 1 "professional", ie an advanced or intermediate dancer, and 1 "celebrity", ie a beginner to the particular style of dance being presented; but any combination of genders in leader and follower is allowed.

• For the 3 weeks of term before the event, any intermediate/advanced dancers may attend beginners classes for free in order to select and then mentor their chosen beginner. If the mentor has a dancesport practice subscription then their beginner may similarly join them at public DS practices for free.

• No competitive dress, no step restrictions but also no lifts unless explicitly cleared with a qualified coach beforehand. Couples will be expected to dance for about 90 seconds. It should be possible for competitors to have some choice over their music (eg tempo or even a specific track) if arranged far enough in advance.

• Some of our teachers have agreed to be the judges (each scoring from 1 to 10 as per Strictly Come Dancing rather than standard scrutineering).

• The audience vote will take the form of contributions to the charity pot of each competing couple at the event - counted after everyone has danced.

• No admission fee for spectators / audience members but please bring some cash in change for voting on whichever competitors take your fancy.

• To be eligible to enter, each couple should have managed to collect the first £10 in sponsorship donations between them beforehand, eg from friends and family. This does of course include the option of simply paying that amount yourselves.

Proposed event timings for Saturday 27th October:
3:00pm dining finishes in the MDH (start clearing furniture away)
4:00pm (or sooner) the floor should be available for last minute practising
7:30pm formal registration of competitor entries during general dancing
7:45pm judges in place
8:00pm ballroom rounds (possibly with a GD track as a warm-up before the solo dances of each type)
9:00pm (approx) latin rounds
10:00pm final counts and novelty trophy presentation
10:30pm packed up and gone
The collected donations will be deposited for the charity as soon as the banks are open.

Leader-Follower balance at classes

We don't require people to sign up to our classes as couples and yet these randomly attended classes are generally quite balanced, compared with most people's expectations that dancing is an activity which always attracts more women than men. However, sometimes we *do* have an excess of people dancing either the leader or follower role. So, for those people who prefer not to have to wait for the regular swaps of partners during classes and who are able to change time-slots relatively easily, here are the currently less well-balanced classes to which people might want to move or perhaps try and recruit a friend to come along and even things out:

• Tuesday B+L beginners and improvers could use some more followers (eg ladies).
• Wednesday 6pm B+L beginners could use some more followers (eg ladies).
• Thursday 6pm B+L beginners could use some more leaders (eg men) but the 9:30pm beginners needs more followers again.
• Saturday 6:30pm B+L beginners could use some more leaders (eg men)

While the leader role is traditionally danced by a man and the follower role by a woman, we don't restrict people to these gender stereotypes in our club. You are free to adopt whichever role best suits you - and many of our more advanced dancers practise both. However, it does help if the leader is slightly taller than the follower.

Classes

At our classes, beginners are people who have not danced that style properly before and are in their first term of trying to learn it. Improvers is for those who finished a beginners course (ie most of the 8 weeks) and are ready to progress further. People then typically remain at improvers level for a couple of terms (or even longer). Sometimes we have a New Improvers class for people only just leaving beginners and/or an Easy Intermediates class for people only just moving up from improvers. Intermediates is for anyone who has danced a given style seriously for a year or more. Advanced dancers mostly seek private coaching rather than group classes. There are also occasional specialist workshops.

Michaelmas 2018 Term

The Michaelmas 2018 term of classes runs from Monday 8th October to 30th November (8 weeks).

If you are a beginner, please join by week 2 of classes. Late starters (from week 3) tend to disrupt class progress - annoying the existing attendees and the teacher. If you can't avoid missing the start of this term, you'll have another chance to join in January. Intermediate and advanced dancers are usually more able to drop in and out of classes.

With that in mind, we are offering a 2 week amnesty period on joining the club. In those 2 weeks you can try classes at the normal member fee of £4 (up to an hour) but a 25% membership fee discount is available for students (or people on benefits) who do join the club during this time, ie £15 instead of the normal £20. After that amnesty period, there will be a £3 surcharge for any non-members attending classes - because we do need people to register and sign up to our health and safety policy and code of conduct. Beginners will be refused admission from week 4 if they can't demonstrate prior attendance / skill. You cannot attend dancesport practices at all without membership (for insurance purposes).

There is an ongoing 25% class fee discount for students who join the competitive dancesport teams, ie £3 for the relevant dancesport classes instead of £4, because they are required to attend 2 classes per week as well as a team practice session.

Week 2 (Monday Oct.15 to Friday Oct.19):
Wed. Oct.17 = first DS ballroom workshop with Ben & Stefanie
Wed. Oct.17 = no line/sequence dancing - cancelled due to lack of interest
Sat. Oct.20 = volunteering day at the Guildhall from 11am to 4pm

Week 3 (Monday Oct.22 to Friday Oct.26): full club membership required
Sat. Oct.27 = Strictly Cam Dancing charity competition for Children In Need

Week 4 (Monday Oct.29 to Friday Nov.02):
Tue. Oct.30 = no DS practice or classes in Parkside gym due to an in-school event
Fri. Nov.02 = no General Dancing due to a rival event in the grad.pad
Sat. Nov.03 = no classes due to a rival event in the grad.pad
Sat. Nov.03 = Old Team New Team competition

Week 5 (Monday Nov.05 to Friday Nov.09):

Week 6 (Monday Nov.12 to Friday Nov.16):

Week 7 (Monday Nov.19 to Friday Nov.23):
Sun. Nov.25 = Nottingham Varsity competition

Week 8 (Monday Nov.26 to Friday Nov.30):

Revision Notes

Revision notes are available for a few of our classes, including the basic figures featured in most beginners classes. If you've danced before, these may help you work out what level of class is suitable for you - ie if you recognise the names of some of the figures and already know how to do them. This page also includes some examples of music suitable for the various dance styles, so that you can practise away from classes.

General Dancing

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 dancing 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 even need CDC membership. Eg some ex-members return from time to time and people also bring visitors and family along - including children.

This weekly event is not as formal as a ball or even a tea dance. Most people wear very casual clothes; but a few do prefer to dress up a little - or simply come as they are from other events. 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.

It's not a class and normally there's no official tuition at these social events (ie any teachers present are usually just there to have fun themselves) but there are typically several experienced dancers around who are willing to show beginners (or improvers) a few steps. Although you'll obviously gain far 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 normal 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. However, GD also continues outside academic term times into the holidays - apart from national holidays when the building itself is closed or when booked by rival events.

DanceSport 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 competitive team to attend these sessions (although Tuesday sessions during term time will typically be dominated by CUDT members).

The DS practice subscription price for the 2018 summer period is £30 (for 15 weeks of Tuesdays) with a singleton practice attendance being £5. The DS practice rate for Michaelmas 2018 will also be £30 - for fewer weeks but many more evenings of practices! Note that these are the rates for *members* of the Cambridge Dancers' Club because practices are typically subsidised somewhat by the rest of the club's funds, to ensure that students can afford the necessary practice space, and also because we want people to register and agree to the health and safety rules for insurance purposes. If you don't have a valid club membership for the relevant academic year, then you should be able to purchase one from committee members at the venue.

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 the organiser-for-the-evening for these to be played when they want a complete run-through of a dance. Many people these days wear headphones to have their own music.

Emergency DS practice sessions are also running alongside some of the quieter classes where there is expected to be spare space available on a large dance floor. These are usable by club members only at £1 per session (separate from normal practice subs). Please try not to disrupt the ongoing classes if you do need to use these sessions to practise but you can still ask for the occasional run-through of a dance you've been rehearsing.

Private Lessons

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.

Club Organisation

CDC Committee

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 Team

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.

Students who have not had formal 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 dancesport-beginners@cambridgedancers.org.

If you're a student but not a beginner then you can still 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 dancesport@cambridgedancers.org.

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 secretary@cambridgedancers.org.

Competitive Rock'n'Roll Team

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 at rnr@cambridgedancers.org.

Promotions and Contacts

CDC T-shirts

The competitive teams have their own "stash" items but we are now able to offer CDC logo T-shirts again. The price is £8 each. The sizes range from adult small to extra-large (with most women being small or medium and most men being medium upwards). The new batch have red print on a black T-shirt and include some which are printed on the back instead for people who want to wear them while partner dancing; but we do also have a few other colour combinations left from the previous batch. See a committee member (ideally at St.Columba's) to purchase one.

Mailing Lists

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.

Follow Us

CDC : CDC on Twitter CDC on FaceBook + CDC on FaceBook (group)
CUDT : CUDT on Twitter CUDT on FaceBook CUDT on Instagram
CURnR : CURnR page on FaceBook (page) + CURnR group on FaceBook (private group)

Elsewhere

See our links page for other dance groups (with their own classes and events), private teachers and suppliers of dance equipment etc.

Regular non-CDC activities in the immediate space-time vicinity include:

  • Ceroc is on Monday evenings at the University Sports & Social Club on Mill Lane and on Tuesday at Storey's Field Centre.
  • 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 14th November 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.