I love February! Have always loved February- it being my birthday month, and this year my half century birthday, too. But Feburary is and has been, in the recent past, made even more special because February is when we go to Swish!
Swish, of all the dance weekenders on offer, is on our doorstep, a few miles down the road on the east coast of Norfolk. And Swish is something special indeed.
Held at Potters in Hopton, a five-star holiday resort, we are nothing if not a little spoiled at this Ceroc weekender. Needless to say, the workshops and freestyles spread over the three days, are second to none, but the accommodation and food are top notch too, making it, as advertised, a dance weekender like no other.
This year is extra special for me, for on the Monday I will be celebrating my 50th birthday and this weekend is the most exquisite foreplay to the start of my celebrations.
We arrived, early of course, at Potters late morning and met up with Matty, Anna, Julie, Anne and Dennis before heading off for the first of many scrumptious lunches. With laughter and conversation aplenty it was already gearing up to be a good one. After lunch, we headed back to the main room to chill while waiting for our rooms to become available. At this stage, we may have over-excitedly bought a fishbowl of Strawberry Daquiri for Anna, Julie and myself to share. Delicious and alcoholic enough to calm the butterflies already circling my stomach. Even though I have attended this event a number of times before, I always get an attack of nervous anxiety before it starts, unnecessary as it is, but it is short-lived.
Our accommodation had been upgraded since our last visit and the room was cozy and the bed comfortable – although the plan being to spend as little time as possible in it. A very short walk from the main venue, the room sported coffee making facilities and all we needed for what is merely a base for a few hours between the dancing. We settled in, had a quick shower and, passing the Aphrodite Spa, popped in to book Clive a back massage and me a manicure for the Saturday morning. I already knew Clive had bought me a new ring for my birthday so nice nails would complement it perfectly when we got home.
Regrouping with friends, and with the addition of Carol and Robert, Sylvia and Rob, Steve and Bridget, Ian and Pauline, Ivan and Nicky, this was set to be a fabulous few days.
Dinner was foremost on our minds once the unpacking and refreshing for the evening ahead was complete and we headed off to the dining rooms to select from a range of scrumptious courses, certain to refuel us for the evening ahead, with accompanying wine with which to wash it all down.
Meals at Swish (indeed meals at Potters if you fancy a break on the Norfolk coast) are incredibly tasty and in keeping with the five star rating, and I am always grateful that we spend most of the weekend dancing off the tempting excesses. For the overly energetic among us, those for whom days packed with dance workshops and nights packed with freestyle is just not enough, the resort offers a swimming pool wih jacuzzi and steam rooms and a gym, all complimentary for those staying at the resort as well as numerous activities such as, but not exclusive to, karting, segways and yoga.
The evening entertainment was provided, as always, by the Potters Theatre Company and on our first night we were dealt the delights of music through the decades taking us on a journey from the 60s through to the 90s. Songs from singers who didn’t miss a note and dancers who didn’t miss a step ensured our evening started off on a high.
The freestyle dancing began at ten o clock. We didn’t make it through to the end of the dancing at gone four in the morning on the first night, preferring to pace our weekend. However, we danced our suede bottoms off in the main room until two o’ clock and shared immense fun and laughter at the silent disco, something we had never tried before. Our sides ached afterwards, having enjoyed cheesy party tracks such as Macarena, YMCA and even the Birdie Song – don’t judge me!
Saturday morning, despite not crawling into bed until three, having showered the evening’s perspiration away, we met friends for breakfast then headed off to the Aphrodite Spa where Clive had his massage (apparently one of the best he has ever had) and I changed my booking to a double express manicure and pedicure. Once relaxed and pampered Clive headed off to join some of the others while I joined Julie and Sylvia for the ladies styling class with the energetic Becki. Having taken this class elsewhere before, I found the format to be refreshingly fun and relaxed and we looked forward to practising our grocery moves.
After another hearty lunch it was time to burn off more calories with Phil and Alex’s Celebration class, aptly named for the celebratory feeling Phil feels when certain moves just go ‘right’. It was a fun class packed with a number of moves which flowed so seamlessly, once practised, that Clive slotted them into freestyle with ease.
Dinner was, as always, filling and far too tempting for someone like me who has difficulty resisting such delights, promising myself the healthy eating will resume when birthday celebrations finish.
Freestyle did not disappoint. It being Saturday, and following a Bucks Fizz reception in the Atlas Theatre, many dancers had made an effort to dress up a little more formally than for a standard freestyle. From Ceroc Classics delivered by Joe, Paul and Tony in the main room, to another fun silent disco, the evening flew past. Tim’s new addition to the Saturday entertainment, the Party Hour at one pm kept a busy dance floor, with classic party tunes such from past chart toppers such as The Communards and Gina G to fun tunes such as Cotton Eye Joe providing an up-tempo, sweat inducing, foot-agonising foray of partner swapping, tagging and endless laughter from our closer friends. We staggered from the hall at two pm, our minds keen to stay longer, our feet and bodies calling for a much needed rest.
Sunday was another resounding success. The meals, now too fabulous to mention by name, were as scrumptious as the previous day, with as much variety on offer.
Our first class of the day, after a morning of lazily resting our feet, was a Stops and Blocks class, taught by the highly entertaining Brett. A great class with some impressive new moves, after which we headed off to our friends’ room in the hotel, accompanied by a small gathering of close dance friends, to enjoy fizz and birthday cake as a prelude to my, and Anna’s, birthdays the next day. It being my 50th, my hubby had arranged for a dancing-themed cake and we enjoyed some downtime with our fabulous Ceroc Fusion friends, before heading back to the dancefloor to join in a Double Trouble class.
Glen Brooks provided much fun and many giggles as he and his two demos walked us through some challenging new moves. The class was the last of the weekend and rounded off hours of workshops with tired smiles.
The theme for the evening’s freestyle was white with neon and if it glowed, you’d made the right choice. Neon facepaints were provided and, after the theatre entertainment was over, the floor was soon packed with blinding fluorescence. Top tunes ensured the dancing didn’t miss a beat and it was disappointing when the evening came to an end and the music finally stopped, concluding Swish 2019.
Heading back to the chalet to shower and pack as much of our luggage as possible, we fell with a positive exhaustion into our bed, just four hours before the alarm was due to rouse us.
Swish 2019 has been the best Swish we have attended so far, the team adding to the ingredients just a little more year on year. Just when you think they can’t improve upon a perfect weekend they seem to come up trumps, making it just a little more so.
The Ceroc team, consisting of Paul, Glen, Karen, Tim, Mike and the rest of the fabulous dance teachers and DJs work so hard to provide this weekender for us all, but on the face of it they smile endlessly, showing no sign of the utter physical and mental exhaustion they must feel at some points.
I can’t let this pass without mentioning the fact that I managed a dance with both Tim (Head of Dance) and his husband, Michael, on the same night (extreme awesomeness, as always) but never quite managed to pin Mike (Head Honcho of Ceroc) down for a dance. Guess I will have to wait patiently until next year…I do love a challenge!