Cambridge Dancers' Club
We're now in the middle portion of our Lent term and it's becoming far too hard for most people to catch up with existing classes.
Rock'n'roll (Tuesday) and salsa (Wednesday) are still open to completely new beginners. However, ballroom and latin forms a much more interconnected collection of dances where the figures are cumulative and depend on previous work. Please don't join existing B+L (or DS) classes if you haven't danced before, unless you have a friend or partner who has gone over the steps from past weeks with you. Turning up without knowing any of the steps will slow down the whole class and annoy the teacher.
You can attempt to pick up some dances at Friday's General Dancing session but remember that this is a social event and not a formal class. Most people are there just to have fun dancing with friends.
The format of the Saturday beginners class is far more flexible for taking on late starters by tackling just one dance style at a time. Note that there will be some more courses for new beginners next term (after Easter).
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 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 (beginners) or at the end (improvers). The member price is £4 for one session or £6 for both.
Saturday 25th February will be rumba - on ways to get into fan position and what to do afterwards. The 4pm will be relatively simple figures which are suitable even for absolute beginners with some harder figures for improvers from 5:30pm. In order to dance with a range of people and introduce some variety into your dancing it's necessary to understand what the choices are at key moments rather than being stuck with a fixed, choreographed routine.
The Sunday afternoon sessions, from 4pm to 5pm in Parkside school gym, will be suitable for improvers and intermediates on the competitive dancesport side of ballroom and latin. Admittance is not limited solely to members of the DS team but also includes any social B+L dancers who want to improve their dance technique. Much of the content each week will not depend on you having your own partner. The member price is our usual £4 but CUDT discount applies.
There will be no class on Sunday 26th February while the dancesport team and their coaches are away competing in IVDC at Blackpool.
Our Lent Term of classes runs from Monday 16th January to Friday 17th March. We have a timetable for our regular classes. However, we will have occasional one-off special items and, later, there may be exceptional cancellations or venue changes. These will appear in announcements above, in emails to the membership and are also indicated in the outline for the term below. For example, the content of the weekend workshops will differ each week.
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 do often prefer to remain at that level for more than one term but we sometimes have an Easy Intermediates level too for those who feel ready to tackle some slightly harder dances and dance figures. Anyone who has been dancing for much more than a year should try an Intermediates class. At that level 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.
Lent 2017 Term Outline
ie the exceptional items:
Week 6 (Monday Feb.20 to Sunday Feb.26):
Sat. Feb.25 = IVDC in Blackpool
Sun. Feb.26 = no DS workshop or private lessons in Parkside school gym
Week 7 (Monday Feb.27 to Sunday Mar.05), business as usual:
Week 8 (Monday Mar.06 to Sunday Mar.12):
Sat. Mar.11 = a smidgin of a chance of a ball in town
Week 9 (Monday Mar.13 to Friday Mar.17), last week of normal 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 early-bird subscription price for the Lent 2017 term is £25. Or you may pay a singleton £5 price per practice if you prefer - eg if you won't be attending regularly or have dancing friends just visiting Cambridge once. Repeated singleton instalments will be capped at £30 to count as a full sub having been paid.
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.
We are also now running a separate set of practices on Wednesday evenings aimed specifically at beginner to improver level dancers who might be intimidated by the more advanced dancers at other practices or need more help. These are going to be subsidised by the club to deliberately keep the price low and accessible to as many of our new dancers as possible: just £5 for the entire set of 9 weeks in Lent or £1 per single evening. They will be supervised by the CUDT Beginners Captains, who should therefore be able to help attendees with the standard beginners dances.
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.
RnR Social Dance
Our rock'n'roll teachers have organised a social RnR dancing event for Sunday 26th February from 7:30pm in the Red Lion in Grantchester.
Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival
For those of you not heading off to Blackpool for IVDC, there's a big folk festival being run in Cambridge from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th February 2017. More details on their website.
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 22nd February 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.