Ceroc’s Southport Weekender is more than a Dance Fest

The dancing at Southport starts at 3:00 pm on Friday afternoon and doesn’t really stop until 6:30 Monday morning.  That’s over sixty hours of dance time.  I doubt anyone does the full sixty hours, but I bet myself and my Dance Gang friends were on the dance floor, in either lessons or freestyle sessions, for a good twenty-four hours.

But a Southport Weekender is not just about dancing, it’s also about having a whole lot of fun that you wouldn’t normally have back home.  It’s a time to be a little mad, to stay up until silly o’clock and wear clothes your mother would never have allowed.

What makes it all so memorable is that you do it with your friends, and that there will be pictures posted all over Facebook so you’ll never be able to forget it, even if you want to.  That’s what Southport is about, and it was no different this February.

The Ceroc Heaven Faithful know how to party

Everyone knows how to party at Southport.  Having a great time is not exclusive to my dance friends from Ceroc Heaven in The East Midlands, but I hope you’ll allow me to use their antics to illustrate just how crazy Southport can get.

Those of us in the Ceroc Heaven fold are lucky that the franchise is run by three, at times, rather mad people – Kali, Mark and Sue, who are supported by a crew of equally fun loving characters.

In amongst this team of taxi’s, venue managers and general helpers is Tel Jenkins, who is a professional photographer, passionate about recording the antics on and off the dance floor (see also note below).  It’s around Tel’s wonderful album of photos that I’ve based this article.

We are all Angels really

To their credit Kali, Mark and Sue came up with a great way of branding their Ceroc franchise.  They designed a range of Ceroc Heaven T-Shirts and tops emblazoned with a striking Ceroc Heaven logo, but then invited everyone to adopt an Angel name to print on the back.  We have all had fun thinking up relevant and hopefully amusing names.

The trio below include ‘Knockout Angel’, who is an anaesthetist, ‘Glitzy Angel’, known for her glitzy dress style and ‘Last Angel Standing’.  Now it’s not for me to say, but I think it’s a reference to her grim and joyful determination to enjoy every last moment.

Heaven must be missing an Angel

The opening Friday night is a time for all the Angels to come down from Ceroc Heaven and gather for a group photo.  Ceroc Heaven is not the only group to do this.  People come in groups of all sizes, and everyone wants a memory of themselves and their friends.  It’s Selfie City and there’s more posing than in Madonna’s Vogue video.

Here’s Tel’s official Ceroc Heaven Angels group photo.  The lady on the floor in the red T-Shirt is Sue, or ‘Momma Angel’ as she is affectionately known.  To her left is husband Mark, who is known as ‘Suggestive Angel’.  Why I don’t know – answers on a postcard please.

We’ll see you in the bar area

On Friday night the Angels congregate around the bar area – apparently this area was chosen because of the provision of sufficient seating, and has absolutely nothing to do with the proximity of alcohol.  Joking aside this gathering is a real bonus for any Ceroc Heaven first timers, of which there were quite a few this time, as it gives them a base with lots of friendly faces,

Ceroc Heaven go out of their way to look after their so called Southport Virgins, and meeting up each night around the bar makes for an inclusive experience for everyone.

One of the topics I wanted to write about, this time round, was how First-timers found Southport.  I spoke to a few of the Ceroc Heaven crowd who were experiencing Southport for the first time, and I’ll be including their comments in my article (hopefully out by Wednesday next week).  I can say right now that the comments were universally positive.

Tel captures the action on the dance floor

Of course The Angels love to dance, and Tel loves recording the action on the dance floor.  I’ve included a link to the full album below.  As ever Tel used a series of effects to capture the sense of movement out on the dance floor.   Here’s one of my favourite shots.  It shows Divine Angel (it’s a play on her name) watching the action on the main dance floor in The Thunderball Room.

Cha-Cha-Cha Angel leads the Nu-Line Dance

Ceroc Heaven are proud to have Ashley Davis as one of their teachers and DJs.  Ashley made his Thunderball Room teaching debut with a musicality class entitled Striking the cord, and many of the Ceroc Angels went along to support him.

One of Ashley’s gifts to us all is to teach the Nu-Line dance routine before every Southport.  Here’s Ashley in action on the floor, Cha-Cha-Cha-ing to this years Nu-line dance track Camila Cabello’s Havana.

The Angels go to Sunday School

The Ceroc Heaven Angels at Sunday School?  That makes the Ceroc Heaven crowd sound rather virtuous, so I’d better explain.  It’s become one of Southport’s endearing traditions that Sunday night is Fancy Dress night.  Groups large and small come in themed fancy dress that add a wonderful sense of fun and friendship to Sunday night.

This time Ceroc Heaven’s theme was St Trinians, and so all the angelic boys and girls morphed in to troublesome teenagers dressed in school uniform.  Now I must say that they all looked a bit sloppy.  The boys shirts were hanging out, top buttons weren’t done up properly and obviously their mothers hadn’t shown them how to do their ties properly.

The girls weren’t much better – I’m sure the skirts were way too short, and when were fish net stockings and suspenders part of the school uniform?  Just like the boys, top buttons were left undone, in fact in some cases the top three buttons were undone.  How the boys got to concentrate on their work I have no idea.  It makes me pleased that I went to an all boys school – no distractions there!

Fortunately the teachers look professional

Fortunately the Headmaster and his staff are on hand to keep order, and that Miss Smith looks like she won’t stand for any messing about.  Not so sure about the crossing lady though.  She already looks worse for wear and is that a pint of lager in her hand?

It must be the last day of term

Dear, dear its all getting a bit out of hand.  Looks like one of the boys has been in a fight – that’s some black eye.  This article was supposed to be about all the clean fun everyone was having at Southport, but it all seems to have the feel of the last day of term.

It seems that everyone was signing each others shirts, and does that say ‘Kiss me quick’ on that girls blouse.  Dear me, it was never like this at The Henry Mellish Grammar School for Boys in Nottingham, let me tell you.  I think we should get the Headmaster to sort this little lot out.

The Headmaster is other wise engaged

Sadly the indiscipline seems to have extended to the teachers.  God forbid, is that the Headmaster dancing with one of the pupils.  Now I don’t want to sound like a prude, but surely that skirt is way too short, and sadly the Headteacher doesn’t seem that bothered.  Is there anyone here who is going to sort this out?

Send for Miss Smith immediately

Now we’d better send for Miss Smith – I’m sure she’ll sort everyone out.  Oh it seems like she’s started already.  I understand the two pupils concerned were caught round the back of the main stage.  I didn’t dare ask what they were up to.

There was some great dancing on Sunday night

I’m happy to say that amongst all the fun and games there was some serious dancing on Sunday night too.  Tel took this view from the main stage, and it clearly shows that not all the St Trinian girls were getting in to trouble, and were still enjoying their dancing.  I have no doubt that all The Ceroc Heaven Angels had a great time and knowing them, they’ll be reserving for June now that booking is open again.

Let’s share the joy of Southport with non dancers

I know already, that the pictures from Tel’s album have been posted and shared on Facebook many times, so a special thanks as always to him for capturing the fun everyone had over the three nights.

I am sure that some people, seeing these photos of their friends having such a great time, will want to join in the fun, and will be signing up to Ceroc classes at the first opportunity.

I’ve said it many times before, that we mustn’t take this wonderful dance scene for granted.  We must do everything we can to attract new people to it.  So please share these photos, and everybody share your own too, and lets show the non dancers out there, just how much fun they could be having if they joined us.  Hopefully, come next February, there will be a whole new lot of First-timers joining in with the fun.

Tel’s video shows just the joy of Sunday night

On Sunday night Ceroc Heaven’s own DJ Mark O’Reilly had a Thunderball Room slot.  As a tribute to the efforts people had gone to with their St Trinians fancy dress he opened his set with Alice Coopers School’s out.  Fittingly Tel has used the same track to accompany his video record of Sunday night’s antics on and off the dance floor.

All the characters from Sunday night are there – The Headmaster and the much stricter Miss Smith, the spotty youths and teasing school girls and the Crossing Ladies trying to keep order as they all conga around the dance floor.  If you look carefully you’ll even see the school cat.

Thanks again Tel for taking the time to put this wonderful video together.

One last photo tells a story

I had to include one last photo that tells it own story.  Here I am with another of the fun loving Ceroc Heaven Angels watching on as DJ Tony Riccardi rocks the dance floor on Friday night.  Prosecco is of course the preferred drink of my Dance Gang friends at our After Parties.  I can report that we got through twenty-one bottles of Prosecco and wine this time.  Not a record – in June last year we did twenty – three!

It seems though that ‘Prosecco’ is mis-spelt.  I blame the printer.  None of us would make such a mistake, even when we’d had a little too much of the stuff to drink.

Tel and I on Tour

Tel is now occasionally accompanying me on my travels around the country, and for no cost at all, is taking photos at the freestyles I review.  Next week we are off to Ceroc Glasgow, where Franck Pauly has kindly given us permission to photograph and video the action on the dance floor, which will all be included in my review.

I am trying to get round more venues this year, so if you have a really big event and would like us to visit please get in touch.  We can’t promise to fulfil every request, but we will try.

To view the full album of Tel’s photos follow this link

Other Southport Reviews now available

Caroline Houlton’s Friday night Thunderball Room Set

Coming next: Nicola Di Folco’s SILC Zone set from Saturday night