History

Our Dance Club

Our Rock 'n' Roll Dance Team and classes are part of the Cambridge Dancers' Club.

This organisation was started in the 1950s by a small group of Cambridge University Students. Since this time the organisation has grown in size and now boasts over 2000 new members each year (2400 in the academic year 2004-2005). At the end of each academic year, the membership database is blanked and anyone wishing to participate in CDC-organised dance classes must renew their membership.

The CDC is run by a committee of around 40 people, of which over half are university students and the remainder come from Cambridge and the surrounding area. This reflects the membership of the club. Committee posts are voluntary and unpaid.

The CDC is a non-profit organisation. Due to its large student membership and mainly student-run committee, the CDC is a registered Cambridge University society.

The CDC also runs classes in several other dance styles, including salsa, ballroom (includes tango) and latin (includes jive).

Birth of a rebel: The beginnings of Rock and Roll

Like most other dances, Rock 'n' Roll does not have a 'birthday' but that does not refrain many scholars from giving it one. And if you are looking for it, the 12th April 1954 might indeed be a good choice. It is the day of the studio-recording of Bill Haley's Rock around the clock, a song that went around the world and marked the beginning of an international R'n'R movement. Already by the end of 1954 it spanned from the USA, its 'birthplace', to Europe and far beyond.

We shall call it a movement because R'n'R can be regarded as a symbol of a restless youth that was not prepared to assimilate the norms and mentalities of their parents' generation. It was very often perceived as a radical break with customs and traditions and as such partially forbidden in the US and Europe but also in Iran, Egypt and most communist countries where it was seen as a severe threat to religious and/or state authority.

Particulary problematic for white conservative masses in the US was the Rock 'n' Rollers' contribution to bridging the gap between between races and ethnicities. Drawing on black Rhythm and Blues as well as on predominantly white Country Music, the songs that Alan Freed defined as R'n'R managed to blur the boundaries. Not by coincidence, Elvis Presley became known as the 'white singer with the black voice' but also - with regard to his 'black' dancing style - as 'Elvis the pelvis'. The sexual connotations of his hip-movements were widely criticised as morally unacceptable and some city councils forbid his shows.

Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly and Little Richard are other musicians worth mentioning in this highly rebellious period of Rock 'n' Roll that came to an end in 1963. However, the Beatles and other groups made a renaissance possible that reached culminating points from 1964 to 1966 and from 1968 to 1970. From the seventies we can observe R'n'R developing into a competitive sport that concentrates on acrobatic aspects. In many respects, the spectacular has here replaced the original rebellious character. At the same time, more social forms are cultivated inside and outside of dancing schools, and there are niches for admirers of Elvis Presley and others that try to keep the spirit of the 1950s alive. For more information see the online Wikipedia.

Guido Rings 2005

Rock 'n' Roll Dancing today

European Rock 'n' Roll Dancing is an energetic fast-paced show-dance based around acrobatic figures. It is performed in a couple, with the man providing the muscle, the woman the acrobatics, and both dancing to music at speeds of up to 210 beats per minute. As a DanceSport, Rock 'n' Roll is an Olympic-Recognised sport and takes part in the World Games every four years. Competitors require not only stamina, but also strength, flexibility and nerve. As a showdance, groups of couples perform together in a choreographed routine to provide entertainment at social events.

More social forms of Rock 'n' Roll Dancing are cultivated inside and outside of dancing schools, and there are niches for admirers of Elvis Presley and others that try to keep the spirit of the 1950s alive. From the seventies we can observe Rock 'n' Roll developing into a competitive sport that concentrates on acrobatic aspects.

Why Dance Rock 'n' Roll?

  • Learn to dance - after only 8 weeks you WILL be able to dance
  • You can use the steps to dance to ANY tune that has a rock rhythm
  • It's very sociable - you'll meet around 40 new people in classes
  • You will be taught by TWO highly skilled coaches
  • There is the opportunity for you to try out for the university team. As a team member you will develop extra skill rapidly and will have opportunities to perform demonstrations and compete against other universities.
  • You will have the opportunity to develop the more sociable authentic step and the more energetic continental step (European Rock 'n' Roll) - as well as impressive acrobatic figures (see classes).