Ceroc, Dancing, Writer's Blog

Tips for a safer dance floor!

People sometimes display the strangest, often not the safest, habits on the dance floor and here are some observations.

The drinks carrier

Why would you even consider crossing a dance floor, whether it is packed or empty, with a drink in your hand? I can, in some small way, understand crossing an empty hall but when the same hall is likely to be packed with scores of dancers later in the evening, surely even the slightest of spillages is going to be a hazard? During busy dance nights I have often witnessed people carrying drinks straight across the floor, through dancers spinning and moving in all directions and I can but wonder whether they stop to think what would happen if one of those dancers were to plough into them with their drinks. Liquid spillage would cause untold mayhem, and often does, when a simple walk around the edge of the room would cause far less danger.

Ignoring your partner

When you learn to partner dance, one thing you are taught early on is to keep eye contact with your partner and especially with their hands. Without such observation, the follower would have no idea what move is coming next, which direction to move in and which offered hand to hold onto. Interaction between dancers is key to reacting to such visual cues and leads. As the lead it is important to look at your partner for safety reasons to allow you to gauge how to be an effective leader. Its no use zoning out midway through a dance, and then expect the dance to go well.


Trying to lead a partner who is drunk

Partner dancing requires concentration and coordination (see above) and dancers who come along to dance events well under the influence of alcohol are often putting other dancers in danger of injury. While it is not seen very often, once now and again we see a dancer arrive at a dance having had quite a bit to drink, and then to continue drinking throughout the evening. Their dancing becomes more erratic and they pull harder as they try to stay upright because of impaired balance. My own husband has suffered a shoulder injury when trying to lead a clearly inebriated lady who was flinging herself around with abandonment. He politely asked her if they could finish the dance early, and he led her back to her seat but a lot of dancers do not have the confidence to do that. It is our responsibility to remain alert and capable of leading or following.

Bumping into other dancers

Inevitably, bumps will sometimes happen although not as often as you might imagine. Most dancers are aware of the space around them and lead their partners into free space with confidence. However, the odd bump is always going to happen and the only way to resolve such incidents is to check over your shoulder (for example) that all is well with the other couple, smile and politely mouth the word ‘sorry’ and move on, a little more carefully. Minor collisions can mostly be avoided but do happen. Be kind and remember nobody bumps into you intentionally.


Treating a beginner like an advanced dancer

Dance teachers cannot reiterate enough, how important it is not to dance above your partner’s level. This is more applicable when your partner is a beginner but always be aware of limitations. Some dancers do not want to be dropped almost to the floor or may have injuries which restrict some moves. Mostly, the dancer will tell you if they need you to be careful, but always be aware of your partners level which you can often gauge by how comfortable they appear. In general, when dancing with someone for the first time it is good etiquette to start off with easier to follow moves, progressing until you feel you have matched their level. Most dancers do want to be stretched (figuratively) to their limits and learn new moves but do it with manners and take it down a level or two if they appear to struggle.

Let’s have a lesson right here, right now

If a partner doesn’t follow your move, don’t stop the dance and try to become a teacher in the middle of the dance floor. Unless they ask you to show them by stepping through the move, they would more than likely prefer you to carry on dancing and either sneak the move in again with a clearer lead or leave it out. Its quite embarrassing to be stopped in the middle of a crowded floor to be shown how to do a move which you have clearly not followed, often because it was not led well in the first place.


The hand hold pressure

One of the first items covered in a beginner class is the hand hold. Ceroc dance leads are told to offer their hands at waist height with palms facing inwards and with thumbs as far away from the follower’s hands as possible. Thumbs are not there to press on the back of the follower’s hand and they are most definitely not there to stroke your partner! The grip should be loose enough for escape to be possible but just firm enough to push against each other and for the lead and follow to take place with ease. The follower drapes their hand over the lead’s offered hands in a hook shape with wrists low. Again, thumbs should be kept well out of the way. Neither one of you should be squeezing the other’s hands, a gentle grip is far more conducive to a flowing dance, whereas a tight grip can hurt the dance partner.

Be honest if you are being manhandled!

If, during a dance, you feel any physical discomfort – maybe a move twisted your shoulder or your lead is being unintentionally rough – you should feel able to mention it quietly. Most dancers will be more than happy to adjust their moves to prevent this from happening but if it continues, never feel afraid to make your excuses and leave the dance floor. Nobody should suffer injury or feel unsafe on the dance floor.


Don’t dip if in doubt

If you plan to dip your partner, make sure there is plenty of room around you and you have a firm grip on your partner, who you will already have ensured is capable. On occasion, ladies being dipped have hit the floor and injured themselves, actually been dropped or crashed as they are dipped int someone else’s dance space. You look a fool if you don’t do this properly and you risk injury and embarrassment to your dance partner. If in doubt, leave it out!

Remember, every dancer deserves to be treated politely and safely on the dance floor. let’s keep it a friendly, fun and accident-free zone.


Ceroc, Dancing, Writer's Blog

So many dancing styles!

A funeral director dancing with an IT manager or a window cleaner dancing with a beautician. Where else but a dance class such as Ceroc could you find such a diverse group of people? But over and above the outside lives of the dancers, there are so many different types of dance personality to be found on the dance floor. I aim to describe some of them here.

Dancing to the beat of a different tune

Let’s begin with, in my opinion, the worst dancer. This is the one who cannot hear the rhythm of a track, the dancer who appears to be dancing to the beat of the previous track rather than the one everyone else is listening to. For the lead dancer, being able to track the beat is a must. Each set of moves begins with a step back, on the beat, and the follower is drawn in, on the next beat. Yes, the arms and body play a large part in both the lead and follow roles, but if the feet are moving out of time, it is difficult for the follower to keep up with where the lead wants them to move. Without a good connection to the music, the dance can look clunky, at best. More advanced dancers play with the music, pausing and breaking between moves, but its all done with musicality.

Close, but not too close

Some dancers just want to be up close and personal, whatever tune is playing at the time. They seem to have a somewhat smaller dance space than most and, of course, there is nothing wrong with dancing close. Most blues and smooth dancing dictates the need for closeness but some, especially inexperienced dancers, are not comfortable with the lack of space and, hopefully, a more experienced dancer would be able to spot and react to their discomfort. If the more experienced dancer does not react accordingly, the dance becomes uncomfortable and bordering on sleazy.


Trying to pull my shoulder out of its socket?

Then there is the lead who repeatedly yanks on the follower’s arms until the follower is quite sore. The only way to avoid injury when dancing with a heavy puller, apart from walking away from the floor mid-dance, is to loosen your arms and give no resistance to the pull. At least that way you will not suffer any injury even if the dance does not flow as well as it could. Trying to look good on the dance floor is certainly not worth an injury, however minor.

Sing your heart out! 

Some dancers just cannot resist singing along as they dance. I have to admit, most photos taken of me on the dance floor, show me with mouth wide open singing my heart out. Sometimes, I just can’t stop myself. I know it doesn’t look cool but I love singing. Singing along can be fun if both dancers are enjoying it but some dancers don’t want my incessant warbling in their ear.

Full-on conversations

Its difficult enough to have a conversation with friends on a dance night. You will be in mid-flow and just reaching the punchline when someone comes along and whisks you off to the dance floor. Its hard to say no when they have plucked up the courage to come over and ask you to dance. Others like to have a full catch up during the dance. While its fine to mention you haven’t seen them at dancing for a few weeks or ask how they are, it is immensely difficult to respond to a full-blown conversation when you are being spun around and away from the person, in and out of earshot. I often nod and smile as I am dancing but have no clue what I am responding to.

The hop and skipper!

There are dancers who get hugely over-excited at the prospect of a particular tune, or dancing with a certain person that they simply cannot contain themselves. They positively leap onto the dance floor, their little feet kicking out at every opportunity, with no care for what they look like but, more worryingly, little care for those around them. They bounce through their dance with excitement and vigour.


Unaware of all around!

Some dancers have no spacial awareness at all and can often be seen crashing into others on the dance floor. Of course, everyone has the odd bump from time to time, but a good lead will keep their eyes on what is going on around them and avoid mishaps with a change in lead or movement. There are some dancers who think nothing of leading a partner around the floor with no awareness whatsoever of those around them. I try to avoid such dancers as they are a danger to me and others.

The conveyor belt dancer

Often, more experienced dancers have no bounce at all and if you watched them from the waist up you would be forgiven for thinking they are dancing on a smooth belt moving from side to side with ease and grace. These dancers are wonderful to watch, have no bounce and every move is made to look effortless.


The Clinger

We all know one of these. A dancer who holds onto their partner at the end of the dance, giving them no means of escape. I have seen one such lead, a man, who often likes to dance with the beginners, and he holds onto the new dancer through up to four or five dances. Its so uncomfortable to watch and unfair on the beginner who needs to dance with as many different partners as they can, in turn gaining much needed experience.

The Slotter

Guilty as charged, but only with a select few, including my husband. We love to dance on the slot and a lot of the more experienced dancers do this with style. Its a fabulous style of dancing where the follower dances backwards and forwards but in a line, while the lead dances around them and steps out of the way to keep the dance on the slot. I find that slotters often stick to the edges of the dance floor to keep them in their slot and away from other dancers’ space.

The Traveller

Yep! Guilty again. I love to travel with my moves and the lead often has to move to keep up with me. Travelling moves work especially well when dancing on the slot (see above) and a large floor area can be covered so spacial awareness is particularly required.

The Floor Crosser

Some dancers travel so far around the floor it is difficult to keep out of their way. They remain in one spot for a couple of moves and all of a sudden they are moving and can be found halfway across the room.  It makes it especially difficult for other dancers when the dance floor is crowded as most couples pick a spot and loosely stick within it, thus avoiding collision, but the floor crossers pay no heed to the dance space of others and dance wherever the mood takes them.

Deaf to Instructions

One dangerous type of dancer is the more experienced dancer who takes to the floor with a beginner and, despite numerous please from the dance teachers to be aware of their beginner status (in our area they were fluorescent wrist bands) and only do beginner moves with them. Those who feel they are far more capable than the dance teacher like to drop new dancers into leans and dips and moves far more advanced than necessary, risking injury to a dancer who has no idea what is coming. they like to try and prove that they are top dog (often they are far from) and show off, which is definitely not what Ceroc is all about.

For the most part, these categories are simply observations I have made over the past ten years of dancing with Ceroc. There are so many dance personalities and styles that I have barely scratched the surface but these loosely cover a lot of styles. One thing is for certain, the dancers with bad reputations are few and far between. Most experienced dancers adhere to the rules and dance safely and with awareness of those around them. its certainly the place to meet people from all walks of life.

Ceroc, Dancing, Writer's Blog

Haunting Halloween freestyle

The image staring back at me was far from friendly, more fearful, frightening and shamefully forgotten. The semi-hidden, hollow eyes hid a previously untold tale of loss and grief and I sensed they knew only of wandering darkened corridors, searching for a happiness which was long-since departed. The dress hung tattered and torn to shreds, where once draped a beautiful wedding gown of ivory silk. The now-grey floral headdress flowed, with a darkened, somewhat smoky edge, into a delicate grey-edged lace veil.

Lifting the once-pristine, lacy mask from the desperately forlorn visage, I could almost taste the loss of a life she once knew, once planned for, and now only yearned for. Her delicately painted features now hidden under a desolate mask of spidery webs and blackened veins, so dark and mysterious, seeping from the corners of unseeing eyes, trailing across her sunken cheekbones and framing her purple lips. A trail of veins carrying their once-gushing deep blue life fluids, now blackened in death, led way to a shorter, darker, reddened trail which flowed around and from her delicate, white neck, telling the story of her final, excruciating moments before she was torn from her beloved and left suspended in a land of nowhere, the eternal space separating life from death.

With one more appraising gaze from top to toe, I was pleased with the reflection of my corpse bride outfit and make-up for this evening’s annual Halloween freestyle at Ceroc. My husband walked through from the bedroom, already wearing his skeleton t-shirt and sporting an eerie green face paint broken only with temporary tattoos of scratches, bloodied bullet holes and angry gashes. I helped him add the final touches, painting him a wicked mouth and we were ready to leave.


Ceroc Fusion did not disappoint. With ghosts and skeletons, creepy spiders and pumpkins adorning the dance hall, bar and entrance, the venue was seasonally transformed into a ghoulish den of horror and fear. An array of edible treats were on offer which included chocolates, sweets, crisps and, for the healthier dancers, trays filled with a variety of melon slices.

The dance floor was soon filled with ghostly apparitions, witches of the friendly and the wicked variety, devils, skeletons, counts and even a Joker from Batman. A Cruella DeVil from 101 Dalmatians, resplendent in her two-toned wig and dress moving fluidly alongside spinning grim reapers, jesters and bleeding corpse brides. The facial make-up was both as intricate and varied as it was amusing and, for some, quite terrifyingly accurate.

Steve the evening’s teacher and DJ, playing a varied mix of floor-fillers to keep the dancing ghouls gyrating, was surrounded on his platform by severed limbs, spiders in their webs, pumpkins and even a giant flesh-eating rat. His fun lesson comprising of two moves, the Scream Switch and the Ghost Train, had dancers giggling and squealing and eventually screaming on cue, setting the scene for a truly gruesome party.

Freestyle. Ceroc Fusion.
Ceroc Fusion really know how to put on a great freestyle.

Later in the evening, the compulsory fancy-dress competition was extremely difficult to judge, with so many dancers having made such a tremendous effort but a shortlist of seven was drawn up, with fellow dancers carrying out a secret vote for the two deserving winners of a bottle of wine each. Every single person who adorned a costume and make-up was deserving of a prize but a choice had to be made.

It was lovely, as always, to welcome dancers from other areas including St Neots, Downham Market, Great Yarmouth and Bury St Edmunds to name a few of the non-locals.

Halloween freestyles are up there with my annual favourites, but a good freestyle needs good music, good hosting, a good venue and a good number of dancers and this one ticked all of the above. A ghoulishly, gruesome, garishly ghostly but genuinely glowing, great night.


Just a note, for the four people who asked me last night about my dance shoes (and for the many who have asked before), I have added a link to both colours below. I think they are available in blue, too.


Ceroc, Dancing, Writer's Blog

Dance shoes – comfort is a must!

“You have so many pairs of dance shoes!”

I hear the above exclamation often but in reality, while I do own lots of dance shoes, I make them count and I make them stand out and be noticed.

I have not counted lately, I have thrown away a few pairs which were so well-worn even replacing the suede bottoms wasn’t going to cover up the threatening hole or the weakened heel. Nobody wants a weakened heel, especially not me. While it might bring about a ripple of laughter if I tripped and fell off the stage while demoing, or fell flat on my derriere on the dance floor, I don’t relish the possibility of an injury, thank you very much.

Specialist shoes for dancing can be expensive but I prefer quantity and most often it doesn’t result in lack of quality. Yes, there are local shops which offer standard, less than glitzy in my eyes, dance shoes but they can cost upwards of eighty pounds a pair. If I spent that on every new pair I would need to apply for a new credit card!

I choose to by cheaper dance shoes online, always ensuring there is an easy-to-follow process for returning should they not fit. Some of my purchases require a patient wait for a delivery from China but there are equally reasonable shops online which ship from the UK.

My first port of call is always Amazon. My favourite shoes at the moment are a bright yellow pair which are sparkly with diamante studs and an important glove-like fit. They are flexible and snug but look amazing. While I am not a fan of yellow, it has never suited my pasty complexion or blonde hair shoes sit, obviously, far enough away for that not to matter. Those yellow shoes have an elasticated side band, snugly fitting side panels and, importantly, they zip up at the back unlike so many other dance shoes which have the alleged quick-fastening slide buckles.

I have three pairs of black shoes, a pair each of silver, white, blue, pink, red and two pairs of multi-coloured shoes. I save the black for my more difficult to match outfits but I do try to coordinate. They are, after all, a part of the overall look.

It is always useful to have at least one neutral-coloured pair on hand and I also have a couple of lower heeled pairs of which I keep one in the bottom of my dance bag for those nights when aching feet take over, although my preference is to dance in at least a small heel, so my shoes usually have at least a 2.5 inch heel.

All of the above is down to personal preference and I realise some dancers have to buy wider fitting shoes and are reluctant to buy online. Some are simply reluctant to buy online anyway and I completely understand that. Everybody has a choice.

The other shoe subject is, of course, the flamboyant dance shoes worn by my husband and dance partner. He loves to be the centre of attention (he really does!) on the dance floor, it’s no secret, and he adores colourful shiny shoes which often outshine my own.

Again, we source many of his via Amazon, although some of his are simply stunning shoes which he has purchased suede bottoms for. He is the shoe bottom suede-sticker in our house. I simply have no patience for such tasks but he does a good job. We buy the suede bottoms (around a fiver per pair) and a pair of reasonably priced everyday shoes are instantly transformed.

Unless the weather is dry, its best not to chance wearing suede bottomed shoes outside, especially if you are heading for a dance night. You might as well have not bothered, as your feet will stick to the dance floor, increasing the possibility of injury due to impaired movement.

Beginners, take heart, you do not have to buy dance shoes when you first start lessons, but please be warned that trainers tend to have too much of a grip on the floor to allow you spin and move freely. If trainers are your thing, there are specially designed ‘dance sneakers’  with suede bottoms which are both comfortable and stylish. Flip flops are not advisable, but as long as you wear comfortable shoes, your dancing will be more enjoyable.

Dance shoes can be sourced online from Amazon and eBay or specialist dance wear websites. It might take an order or two to gauge the best size, heel height or style for you but it is worth the effort to find an online source which you can return to again and again (and again, if you are anything like me!) If you are lucky, you might find friends who will allow you to try on their dance shoes for size. You have all the time in the world because, once you start dancing, it is likely you will be dancing for years to come.

When you start to go to some of the bigger freestyles, you will be pleased to find they often have dance shoe companies who bring along their wares for you to try and, indeed, buy.

Please message me in the comments section if you have any questions and all that remains for me to do is to wish you ‘happy dancing, on comfortable feet’.

Ceroc, Dancing

Back to School

There’s something about a fancy dress ‘Back to School’ party which brings out the inner rebel in a person.


My own day was a school-governed one with my school holding their Open Day during the morning, my step count way over its target before 11:00am.

The rebellion, n my case, is lost years of being the Miss Goody Two Shoes who wouldn’t say boo to a goose,who now wants the chance to roll back and become the cool kid. My teenaged disaster being the application of sneaky eyeliner, much of which was also handy  when I inadvertently shaved off my eyebrows, a tale for another time. I can, however, report that black kohl pencil, that being all I possessed in the eighties, does not make for the natural eyebrow look.


The evening, as most do, began with distribution of signs. The event calls for Little Boys Room and Bike Shed (no kissing being the order of the day), not to mention the Detention corner.


Freestylers poured through the door, beginning with a trickle but closely followed by a cascade. An impressive number of dancers considering some them, a hardcore bunch, attended a Wild West themed class only the previous night.

Scoops rattled as bags of tuck shop sweets were shared between paper bags in readiness for handing out after the fun class. Memories of years spent choosing from sherbet filled space ships, foam teeth and refresher chews flooded back. As a child, I recall pointing out to the patient shop assistant behind the glass sweetie counter, as I opted for the confectionery which gave the most for my ten pence treat. I hasten to add our dancers were given more than ten pence worth.


The music, a diverse range of tunes spanning all eras, and including some much yearned for Ceroc Nu Line dances, beat out its rhythm throughout the night as schoolboys and girls, headteachers and an Ofsted inspector ensured the only thing missing from this school disco was an array of wallflowers, reluctant to dance. Thankfully, those school discos ARE a distant memory and Cerocers never fear being the first to step out onto the dancefloor.

Gemma taught a great fun lesson with Ivan as her trusted (dressed like the naughty schoolboy that he was I am not sure I would trust him) demo, which kept the class moving and giggling.

Tables were full, non-dancers hot-chairing when they took a break for beverage and chatter. Many giggles could be heard as ‘children’ bickered and told tales to a headteachers inundated with requests for the cane to be used, mockingly of course!


With no hint of chewing gum under tables, catapults shooting dampened paper bullets (although I did notice a catapult or two poking their heads from naughty boy’s shorts pockets), pulling of hair or bullying, the overridng theme was still that of a class of naughty children overseen by a small number of authority figures.

Costumes never fail to delight at Ceroc Fusion freestyles and, while the theme remains consistent, the costumes vary immensely and the thrill of watching the characters walk through the door never fails to delight.

Laughter dominated this fabulous freestyle, closely followed by aching feet and legs which some of us felt deserving of the fast food many of us were denied as children .


The staff at McDonalds might have groaned inwardly when we piled in, freckles smudged and boaters askew but I can report that we were a very well-behaved bunch. We might have flossed, laughed a little loudly (considering some of the so-called jokes from the Headmaster and Ofsted inspector) and wolf whistled as one of the sexy schoolgirls (I hasten to add she was one of our group) walked back from the little girls room but we were far from rowdy – the food quietening even the noisiest of us to satisfied mumbling.

Having not crawled into bed until gone two, this blog is composed as I struggle to open my heavily-bagged eyes, while inhaling the welcoming aroma  of freshly brewed coffee.

Another fantastic evening. Thank you Ceroc Fusion!