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 (and term outline below), where the relevant venue is and that you've brought enough money for the class fee (and also remembered your membership card if you want the member rate).

The dancesport team will be busy training for their big competitions this term. So, if you want a free taster session, please come to Friday's General Dancing at 8:20pm to help shift furniture for a prompt 8:30pm start. We will attempt to show you the basics of a new dance each week during the first half hour while most of the existing social dancers are typically slow to arrive. If you turn up to our normal taught classes you will be expected to pay.

Announcements

If you need help with your dance steps and/or struggle to make it to classes regularly, we have online revision notes for a few dances + music and a (slightly more interactive) twitter feed. This week's beginners dance style on twitter is cha-cha (a dance derived from the original mid-tempo rumba). Last week was the quickstep (a dance closely related to the original social foxtrot). We have also covered some salsa - including the rival naming of basic steps in the different style variants. The week before that was about RnR and Jive - being mostly a comparison of the basic footwork for these related styles. Previous dances introduced at the start of term were the slow English waltz and the social foxtrot - with general dance information and specific instructions.

Classes

We returned for our Lent term from Saturday 13th January 2018 and are now over half-way through the term. See below for some exceptions and extra items to the regular schedule.

After week 3 of a term it becomes very difficult to catch up with ongoing ballroom and latin beginners classes. Hence, if you haven't already started dancing with us, you should wait until next term and a new beginners class instead - because it really annoys the teachers and existing attendees to keep going over old material for the benefit of people who've turned up late, knowing nothing, rather than the class being able to continue making progress with each of the dances.

In contrast, social rock'n'roll on Tuesdays remains open to new beginners throughout term because the figures taught each week are largely independent of those in previous weeks and are all built on the same basic footwork which can be taught as part of the class warm-up.

There may be something over Easter, but otherwise we restart on Monday 23rd April.

Lent Term 2018 Outline

Week 6 (Monday Feb.19 to Friday Feb.23):
Sat. Feb.24 = IVDC in Blackpool, no CURnR practice
Sun. Feb.25 = no CUDT practice in Parkside gym

Week 7 (Monday Feb.26 to Friday Mar.02):
Wed. Feb.28 = Guildhall tea dance from 1pm to 4pm
Sat. Mar.03 = no classes or practice in the grad.pad MDH

Week 8 (Monday Mar.05 to Friday Mar.09):

Week 9 (Monday Mar.12 to Friday Mar.16):
Wed. Mar.14 = no DS-RnR class+practice

Revision Notes

Revision notes are available for a few of our 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 need CDC membership either. Eg some ex-members return from time to time and people also bring visitors and family along - including children.

It's 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.

There's normally 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 team or even a CDC member to attend these sessions (although the Tuesday 6pm practice will be dominated by CUDT members) 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 DS practice subscription price for Lent Term 2018 is £30 with a singleton practice attendance being £5. 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 because we also 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 Reggie, Sofiya or Nina etc 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.

Non-team dancers should be aware that the practices with the highest concentrations of team dancers are Tuesday 6pm to 8pm in Parkside school gym and Tuesday 8pm to 10pm in Kelsey Kerridge Dance Studio and, temporarily, also Wednesday 9pm in Parkside school (2nd team). So the Parkside sessions on Thursday and Friday may be quieter.

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). Currently this includes Saturday afternoons to evenings in the MDH and the Monday 8:15pm advanced intermediates class in the school gym. These are intended to be for just those few people who really need them. Please try not to disrupt the classes if you do use these sessions to practise.

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.

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

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 classes and/or continue with team or squad sessions and private lessons.

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

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.

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.

CDC T-shirts

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.

Elsewhere


AfroSalsa Festival

On Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th February, the Cuban Salsa group are hosting an AfroSalsa festival with guest teachers for a range of workshops and some party events. Advance tickets are slightly cheaper than paying on the day.

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.
  • 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 28th 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.

Follow Us

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