My 2017/18 Modern Jive Highlights

September is the anniversary of starting my blog, and it’s time again to tell you about my highlights of the previous year.  When I started my blog back in 2016, one of my aims was to recognise and celebrate the contribution of the amazing people who put on all the events that bring us so much joy out on the dance floor.

By picking out by my Top Picks in four categories I hope to give some extra recognition to the people and organisations that made a lasting impression on me in.

The Categories, which run from September 2017 to August 2018, are the same as last year with an additional one featuring Tel Jenkins photographs (see below).  My plan is to publish the first list on Saturday 22 October and to post a new category list each following Saturday.

We shouldn’t take these people for granted

It should be remembered that the lists of my Top Picks are based solely on my own rather limited travels around the country, and are wholly subjective.  I am sure that there are many venues out there that if I had visited would have made my lists.  Even though the lists are from a relatively small sample, I’d like to think that the organisations and people that I recognised, deserve to have their work celebrated.

I know from the feedback I received, that the people I picked out last year, appreciated that their commitment to this wonderful dance scene had been recognised.

I have always felt that we should never take any aspect of this wonderful dance scene for granted, and it’s a real privileged to recognise some of the people whose dedication underpins the success of the classes, freestyles and weekenders that we attend on a regular basis.

Let’s recognise the people at all levels

If there was a category for Weekenders, then Southport would certainly feature in it.  It’s worth remembering just how many people contribute to the success of this fabulous weekender.  But Southports success is not only down to the people who organise it, and the DJs and Teachers who ply their trade there.

The real success of Southport, and indeed the other national weekenders, lies in the hundreds of people who attend them, with anticipation and an energy to throw themselves in to every aspect of these dance fests.

What we should remember that everyone of those people went to a Modern Jive class at some point.  It is there that many got the dance bug.  These people then progressed to freestyles and had so much fun they wanted more of the same.

Without the venue managers that greet us at our first lessons, and the teachers and taxi dancers who help us through those first few weeks there would be no freestyles and no weekenders.

These people are as important to this dance scene as the DJs who set the floor on fire in The Thunderball Room.  Hopefully these Top Pick lists give recognition to all these venues, big and small that make up this wonderful dance scene.

Hopefully the Lists are more representative

This year I’ve travelled much further afield from my Midlands base, including three trips to Scotland, and many more visits to venues in the South of the country.  I’d like to think that these long distance forays make this years lists even more representative.

There are a lot of new names on this year’s lists, but I was surprised to find myself picking people and organisations who made the lists in my first year.  What was an even bigger surprise was that one name (person or organisation) came out top of the list for a second time.

A new Category for 2017/18

On many of my travels I’ve been accompanied by my good friend Tel Jenkins, who takes photographs and videos at the venues.  It is of course the dancers, and the joy they bring to the dance floor, that creates the warm and fun filled atmosphere that runs through this wonderful dance scene.

I thought it an idea to select ten of Tel’s photo’s in a new category, that showed the joy that so many of us feel when dancing.  I’m really looking forward to working with Tel, to bring you this snapshot of the fun that we all have out on the floor.

Last Year’s Lists offer a taster

Here are my Top Picks from last year.  Hopefully they’ll act as a taster for the lists I’ll start posting on Saturday.  I’ve also included a link to the full article, where I explain the reasons for the selections that make up my Top Picks of The Year.

My Top 5  Classes

The sustainability of this wonderful dance scene relies on new people joining the ranks.  This means that class nights are vitally important and so I’ve made it my aim to visit a fair number.  It’s also important that the more experienced of us have the facilities and teaching to improve our dancing skills, and so in this list I’ve also considered workshops and weekender classes.

Here are the Top 5 Classes that I picked out last year:

No 1: Ceroc Beds & Bucks: Motown and Soul Class Night, Buckingham

No 2: Southport Weekender: Simply Slotted Class

No 3: Ceroc Heaven: Xmas Fun Class, Grange Hall, Nottingham

No 4: Ceroc Passion: Class Night, Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire

No 5: Ceroc Heaven: SILC in 6 Workshops, Nottingham

Read the Top 5 Classes 2016/17 Article 

My Top 5 Freestyles

For those of us who get the Modern Jive dancing bug at our class nights, it’s not long before we think about going to freestyles.  I actually took almost a year before I ventured to one, but I know some people make the leap in just a few weeks.  If class nights are the heartbeat of this wonderful dance scene, then freestyles are what make the heart pump much faster.

Here are the Top 5 Freestyles that I picked out last year:

No 1: LeRoc Surrey: Tylney Hall, Leatherhead

No 2: Ceroc Cambs: The Priory Centre, St Neots

No 3: Ceroc Heaven: Grange Hall, Radcliffe on Trent

No 4: Yorkshire Freestyle Nights: Riley-Smith Hall, Tadcaster

No 5: Ceroc Heaven: Kelham Hall, Newark

Read the Top 5 Freestyles 2016/17 Article 

My Top 10 Dance Tracks

We all have our own personal tastes in music, and it’s the same when it comes to the tracks we love dancing to.  This Top 10 Listing is not a popularity chart.  No, this is my own personal list picked from the thousands of tracks I’ve danced to in the past year.  In picking out ten tracks I also try to answer the question ‘What makes a great dance track?’

Here are the Top 10 Dance Tracks that I picked out last year:

No 1: Dizzy – DIMMI, DJs Sue Astle and Tony Ricardi

No 2: Only the strong survive – Billy Paul, DJ Chris Uren

No 3: Contact – Edwin Starr, DJs Caroline Houlton and Tiggerbabe

No 4:  Wall to Wall – Vance Kelly’s, DJs David Hyam and Jon Brett

No 5: Undercover agent for the blues – Tina Turner, DJs Rachel Pears and Marc Forster

No 6: Dancing Queen – Daecolm, DJ Ashley Davis

No 7: Played alive (The Bongo Song) – Safri Duo, DJ Rob Ambridge

No 8: Instant replay – Don Hartman, DJ Ashley Davis

No 9: Club Savoy – Rockin’ Louie & The Mamma Jammers, DJs Ian McLeod and Colin Shaul

No 10: Disco Inferno – Tina Turner, DJ Roy Blewitt

Read the Top 10 Dance Tracks Article 

My Top 5 DJ Playlists

Being a DJ is no easy gig.  It can’t be easy pleasing all the people all of the time, especially when we all have our own personal favourites as well as tracks we are a little bored by.  Perhaps a great playlist is when the DJ pleases most of the people most of the time, but I’d like to think it is more than that.  I’d like to think that a DJs playlist can be viewed as an art form, and is worthy of the same kind of critical attention we might give to a painting or indeed any other work of art.

Here are the Top 5 DJ Playlists that I picked out last year:

No 1: DJ Tony Ricardi, Thunderball Room at The Ceroc Southport Weekender

No 2: DJ Sue Astle, Ceroc Cambs, St Neots

No 3: DJ Chad Bloomfield, Motown & Soul class night at Ceroc Passion, Peterborough

No 4: DJ Ian McLeod, Pirate Jive, Nottingham

No 5: DJ Vince Silva, Funk Hour at The Ceroc Southport Weekender

Read the Top 5 DJ Playlists 2016/17 Article 

A fabulous year of dancing

My dance year starts with the September dance fest that is The Ceroc Southport Weekender.  From that point on I had a non-stop year of great dancing at some amazing venues, and I can’t wait to tell you all about all the highlights as I publish my Best of The Year Lists.

Better get writing then.  First ones due on Saturday!