Heading back to Ceroc after a 10 year gap ...
Author: Sue Crabtree
Date: 20th February 2020
The lovely Sue Crabtree wrote a detailed article about Ceroc for ‘The Telegraph’ in 2010. Since then she has not danced, so we invited her back to give us her review, 10 years on!
Through the power of the internet, we recently managed to track Sue down to see what she is doing now and whether she is still dancing. The answer unfortunately was no – due to her local venue closing down.
Intrigued, we invited Sue to try another class of Ceroc to compare how it may have changed over the years, and this is what she had to say…
(Oh and Sue…we are working on the last bit!)
“And five, and six, and seven, and … On the eighth beat, the dancers take a step back and launch themselves into the exhilarating freestyle twirl of arms and legs that is Ceroc.
For the first time in ten years, I’m one of them. A decade ago, I was addicted to the dance craze, enjoying my weekly fix of energetic work-out at a hall near me. But then the venue closed. I moved onto another form of exercise.
So when I walked through the doors of the Pimlico Academy in London, I wondered what it would be like to hit the Ceroc floor again. Would I remember the names of the moves, let alone how to do them? Could I still spin - an essential requirement of Ceroc for women - without keeling over? Did I even own a pair of suitable shoes with a soft sole that doesn’t solder you to the floor when the moves get fast and complicated?
Armed with a pair I tracked down at the back of the wardrobe, I lined up for the beginners’ lesson. The routine was the same as I recalled, a half hour of teaching basic steps so even the novice can dance for a track, then a quick learner freestyle followed by an intermediate lesson with harder moves and a couple of hours of serious dancing.
Teacher Steve demonstrated the cradle, the Ceroc spin, the travelling return, and my feet seemed to find the right place as we kept rotating partners. There was an even mix of men and women among the 200 dancers, so no shortage of partners with the age range varying from 20s to 60s. The only requirement is that you can move. Quickly. People had come on their own, others in couples or groups. Nervous learners and master dancers.
There were even familiar faces from ten years ago who presumably had been more faithful to Ceroc than I was.
‘Where’ve you been?’ queried one as though I’d missed a mere week or two.
‘It’s such a sociable thing,’ said another, although to be fair there’s not much time for chatting, just dancing and more dancing.
‘I keep coming for the exercise,’ whispered one lady. ‘You can’t beat it for working off the pounds.’
Very true. By the end of the first freestyle, I was gasping for water. But sufficiently confident to brave the intermediate lesson. That, as usual, was a challenge.
‘A bit like knitting,’ said a partner happily knotting himself round my neck, ‘You just have to hope for the best.’
The truth is it doesn’t really matter, because the point of Ceroc is to have a good time and if a move goes wrong and you spin off across the hall, who cares?
Steve ran the session with wit and debonair charm, (he told me to say that when we were dancing in the freestyle later), dishing out a good patter of one-liners to help struggling dancers without making them feel stupid.
It’s well organised. Beginners can ask experienced ‘taxi dancers’ for tips. The next day, I was emailed a helpful video of steps I’d learned. The music’s up to date and from different styles with a welcome smattering of slower numbers thrown in to help dancers recover their breath.
Most didn’t seem to need time for that though, throwing themselves from one track to another through moves like the neckbreak, the octopus, the slingshot. Women are lucky. They just have to follow whereas men need to lead, know what they’re doing and master floor craft so they don’t send their partner cannoning into a neighbouring couple whizzing in the same direction.
By the end of the evening, I hadn't sat down. I felt the elation of ten years ago. There is really nothing like dancing to take your mind off work, troubles, anything. As I left with my new Ceroc friends, they asked if I was going back. Definitely. Just open a venue near me.”« All blogs