A track from my own beginner’s days

I’m in London for a couple of days visiting my daughters and my best mate Neil.  So Thursday night saw me with Neil at Ceroc Surrey’s Byfleet class night.  In the first freestyle session DJ Kevin Hill played a track that took me back to my own class nights, when I struggled to get to grips with the moves.

It was one of those tracks that was played in the Beginners lesson itself, but rarely in the freestyle sessions.  I always thought it a great track to play, as its well defined beat made it so easy to dance to – particularly for the beginners like myself.

I sometimes think that the tracks, for the freestyle session immediately after the Beginners lesson, should all have a simple beat.  More challenging tracks can be played in the second longer freestyle session when most of the early stage beginners have left.

The track, that triggered these thoughts about the music for class nights, was Elton John’s Are you ready for love.

The track has an interesting history, being recorded in the Sound of Philadelphia studios in 1979.  It was produced by Thom Bell who also produced the Stylistics, and you can hear its disco pedigree.  The track that was played at my lessons, and which Kevin gave a spin to, is actually a 2003 remix.  (Posted Friday 17 March)

This is the joy of dancing

Tel Jenkins has just published his album of photos from The Ceroc Heaven Freestyle at Hucknall, last weekend.  Flicking through them I came across this image, that simply took my breathe away.  It shows two people completely given up to the moment, and surely represents the sheer joy of their dancing.

I’m sure that moments like this happened across all the modern jive events of the weekend, and perhaps some were captured on camera too.  It doesn’t really matter whether they are captured.  What matters is that we all have the chance to experience this joy every time we step on to the dance floor.  We are very lucky people.

Blues delight from Charlie via Mark

The other night Ceroc Heaven DJ Mark O’Reilly played a delicious piece of slow blues perfect for a little bit of SILC down the slot.  I was struck by it’s funky vibe, but listening to it now on headphones, it’s got so much going on.  Guitar work straight from Blues Central, wonderful horn sections reminiscent of the good old Stax days, and a funky Hammond organ underpinning it all.

I was just about to award Mark a Blues Master Star, when he owned up to the fact that Charlie, one of the regular dances at the class, had passed it on.  Great to see people sharing music they love.  Having found the the artist Delbert McClinton on YouTube, it seems he has quite a back catalogue of work, and I suspect that the Blues DJs have already dipped in to his work.  (Posted Wednesday 14 March)

I couldn’t find room for a classic chill-out track

I’m just putting together my Ceroc Southport Blush Top Ten Tracks, and realised I’d got two tracks that I wanted to feature from DJ Vince Silva.  Sadly I’d set the rule of only one track per DJ.  The track I have to discard is one from his Midnight Saturday SILC Zone set which is billed as SILC GOLD.

Here Vince plays some of the classic Chill-out tracks from the past.  I popped in right at the end, as I was reviewing Nicola Di Folco, who was on next.  Vince played possibly my favourite Chill-out track of all time.  What I love about it is that you don’t have to an expert at SILC or Smooth Jive to enjoy a lovely dance to it.

You can simply slow down your normal Ceroc moves – it’s this that makes it so popular with Main Room DJs, and why I was so pleased to see it feature in Vince’ s set.  So here is Tone Damli’s gorgeous 40 Years.  (Posted Monday 12 March) 


I’m star struck – I get to chat with JLS

The more I get known for my blog the more interesting people I get to chat to.  Last night I was at Strictly Ceroc’s Coventry freestyle and got to chat with JLS.  You know JLS – Jill, Lynn and Sandra, three girls who tell me they live in the posher part of North West Leicestershire (our little joke).

The three of them have started to branch out and visit new venues in The East and West Midlands – it was there first time at Coventry.  I asked them what brought them there.  Here’s what they had to say:

We went on The UK Jive website, and saw that there were two freestyles on tonight.  Our other choice was The Ceroc Heaven freestyle at Hucknall, in Nottingham.  We didn’t really know anything about either so we randomly chose Coventry.

It’s interesting that I had the same choice.  I decided on the Strictly Ceroc venue because I’d never been there and thought it might be interesting to review.  The UK Jive website is the place that many of us go to find out where to dance, and last year I wrote a review of what is an excellent site (see link below).

So what did JLS think of Coventry?  Well, they were happy to give me some quotes for my review, which should be on the blog by the end of next week.  (Posted Saturday 10 March)

Read my article on The UK Jive Website

Can we call time on The Short Neck-break

When Tim Sant took over as Head of Dance at Ceroc he quickly rationalised the Beginners Moves.  Some he renamed, so The First Move became The High First.  Some were modified, so The Hand Jive was shortened and called The Spot Turn.  

New moves were introduced.  One of the best is The Sling Shot.  It’s not an easy one to master – it’s difficult for the men to lead, and if you don’t get the timing right it just looks dreadful.  Understandingly my lady dance friends tell me that it doesn’t get used much in freestyling.  However it’s a great building block move, and intermediate routines sometimes end with the instruction, ‘Now slingshot your lady out’.

Some moves were dropped or moved in to the Intermediate sylabus.  I do wonder though why The Yoyo had to go, because I think it’s very widely used, and it doesn’t often get taught in Intermediate lessons.  Having said all that, I think Tim did a good job, but I wonder if its time to look at the list again.

I feel for the First-time men sometimes

If so, can we please call time on The Short Neck-break.  I attend a lot of Ceroc beginners classes, and perhaps due to my own struggles as a beginner, I feel for the new men at times.  Last night I was at a Ceroc Heaven class night in West Bridgford, Nottingham.  The sequence was listed as Basic Travelling ReturnShort Neck-break and Ceroc Spin.  

From a technical point of view it’s a good routine with a nice mix of difficulty, and I might add that Kali as always did a great job of teaching the moves.  The Basic Travelling Return is an easy move to start with, and the Ceroc Spin gave Kali an opportunity to teach the important skill of spinning to the ladies.  However I could see that as usual The Short Neck-break upped the stress levels for the men.

This move is also difficult for the women to grasp, and this makes it even more difficult for the men to lead.  The common problem is that the women start turning before they get to the man’s side.  This results in the ladies effectively leading the move and it really throws the men.  Is it any wonder that by the time the routine is linked together, and the men have to lead it twice, that they end up in a tangle of arms and a sickening feeling in their stomachs.

I know that dancing is always going to be a challenge, but I wonder if there isn’t another move that could take The Short Neck-break’s place – The Shoulder Sway for example.  Remember that all Modern Jive classes need to hold on to the men, and reducing their stress levels in the early stages is really important, if we are ever to address the gender imbalance.  (Posted Friday 9 March)

Diana gives me a bit of pain relief

I’m the first to suggest that dancing is a lot more fun way to burn calories than working out in a gym, but I have to admit that in my own battle to get the balance right between calories in and calories out, I have taken to use the services of a personal trainer.  So once a week I’m in Rebecca’s mini gym at the end of her garden.

Rebecca is a Motown and Northern Soul fan, and so we work out to her favourite dance tracks.  Every so often we have to stop the exercise (always appreciated) to check out the details of a song that’s playing.  Last week I was distracted by a more contemporary track while doing some tortuous ab exercises.

Ok Becky, can we stop for a moment.  What is that track, and who’s singing it?  It sounds a bit Janet Jackson.

It turned out to be Diana Ross.  The track was a remix of a track off her 1999 Album Every day is a new day.  Apparently the remixed version was a UK Top Ten Hit.  So, Not over yet (Metro Radio Edit) is another fabulous dance track that passed me by!

I’ll send you the link, but now lets get back on the exercise mat.  So its twenty crunches slow, then ten real fast.

You’d think that all the dancing I did would be enough to keep my weight in check, but apparently I still need the torture of gym work.  Thank God then for the occasional relief when a great dance track comes on!  (Posted Wednesday 7 March)

A great recommendation from my daughter

It’s difficult to impress your kids sometimes, particularly when it comes to music and dancing.  The phrase ‘Dad Dancing’ says it all, but hopefully my two wonderful daughters are proud of their dance mad dad.  So I was really pleased when I received this message the other day:

Heard this and thought of you . . . do you know it?

Attached was a link to Kill the lights by Alex Newell & DJ Cassidy (with Nile Rodgers).  I hit the play button and instantly connected with its thumping beat.  This is good, this surely would make a great floor filler.  Then I realise I’ve danced to it.   Then another realisation- I’ve not danced to this for sometime.

In fact I want to know why this hasn’t become a Modern Jive classic.  It has everything – a thumping beat, catchy lyrics and a production and instrumentation that takes you higher and higher.

The track has a wonderful pedigree too.  Its produced by DJ Cassidy the man behind Jessie J and Robin Thicke’s Calling all hearts.  The vocal is by one of the artists who got their big break in Glee, and just in case you hadn’t noticed the Disco God Nile Rodgers also has some input.

So, someone please help me out and give it a spin – you don’t need me to tell you what a guaranteed floor filler it is.

A remix with even more energy

It gets better.  I just found an even better mix of Kill the lights.  I did my normal trick – I put the song in to YouTube adding the word ‘Extended’ and this is what came up.  It’s got added vocals from Jess Glynne and has been remixed by Dimitri from Paris (I keep coming across him – I must look up more of his remixes).

It’s got a bongo intro that reminds me of Edwin Starr’s Contact, and you can really hear the Nile Rodgers guitar lick.  There’s longer instrumental sections, filled with disco style horns and strings, that take the track to a higher plane.  I’ve got it blasting out of my headphones, and I don’t know how I’m still on my seat.

Please, someone edit this down to four minutes and get it on the decks ASAP.   (Posted Saturday 3 March)

Sadly the Snow takes it toll of everyone’s dancing

The Arctic weather has started to effect dancing across the country.  Here in the East Midlands we seemed to have got off fairly lightly, but a heavy fall of snow on Wednesday night has caused Ceroc Heaven to cancel their class nights at Bentley and West Bridgford, and very sadly the Friday Freestyle at The Grange in Radcliffe on Trent.

The reason I mention this is because of the hilarious and very effective way Mark O’Reilly got the message out through Facebook.  Impressively the Ceroc Heaven faithful shared the Facebook posting 12 times in just the first hour.  I know some people are critical of Facebook, but it serves the Modern Jive Community very well, and what better way to tell the world that Penguins have been spotted in The East Midlands.  (Posted Thursday 1 March)

That’s the fun part done – now the writing starts

Another wonderful weekend of dancing and socialising at Ceroc’s Southport Blush Weekender.  But now comes the hard work – the reviews.  I’ve quite a few different things to write about and the one I’m really looking forward to is one I’m calling Southport – A First -Timers View.  I got to chat with quite a few people who were making their first ever visit to Southport and I hope it will give other people who’ve yet to make the trip some ideas of what their experience will be like.

I’ll also be doing reviews of Caroline Houlton’s and Mark Reilly’s Thunderball Room DJ sets, as well as Nicola Di Folco’s  Boudoir SILC Zone set.   I also spent a little time listening to Marc & Rachel’s music in The Blues Lounge – and will be using it to comment on the dancing I saw in that room.

I’ll start writing on Thursday and I’ll publish the reviews over the next two weeks.  As expected there was some wonderful music and I’ll be embedding a lot of it in to the reviews.  The picture below shows Caroline Houlton rockin’ the dance floor in the Thunderball Room on Friday night.  (Posted Monday 26 February)

Off to Ceroc’s Southport Weekender

The car is packed and the Dance Gang are ready to roll.  We are all off to Southport.  We’ll be joining up with all the Ceroc Heaven faithful – spot us all in our matching Angel T Shirts with our Angel nick-names emblazoned on the back – I’m ‘Blogging Angel’.

It’s going to be a great weekend of fun and dancing, and I’ll be doing a few reviews over the weekend.  I’m planning on doing a couple of Main Room DJs, one in The Boudoir and hopefully I’ll get some time to spend with Marc and Rachel during their Blues Lounge late night sessions.

I’m also going to interview a few first-timers, for a special article on the Southport Experience from their point of view.  I should have the first review on the blog by Thursday and I’ll then drip them in over the next few weeks.  I look forward to featuring lots of quotes from my fellow dancers.

Right, time to put the computer away and get on the road.  See you there. (Posted Friday 23 February)

Surely Rockin’ Robin is too fast

Every so often DJs play a track that is just too fast.  Even some of the best do it, and one reader of the blog got in touch to wonder why.  Terry has been Modern Jiving in the East Midlands for seven years and he takes a real interest in the music.  In amongst his reviews about some of the DJs that gig around the area was this comment – you’ll understand that in the positive spirit of my blog no names are mentioned:

The DJ played The Jackson 5’s ‘Rockin Robin’ which is 172 beats per minute (bpm) and ideal only for a 7 year old’s party.  The floor half emptied, but two very experienced Rock ‘n’ Rollers did their Rock ‘n’ Roll moves and just managed to keep up with the beat, but they both said it was awful to dance to.

Ouch!  In my reviews I tend to shy away from such criticism and only dwell on the positives, and the great tracks, but I think Terry has a valid point – sometimes DJs do play tracks that are just too fast, and like Terry I do some times wonder why.  Some experienced dancers tell me that they simply halve the beat, but I find that difficult to do.

Most Modern Jive tracks are between 120 bpm and 140 bpm.  I’m well known for liking the full-on tracks, but even my favourites like Safri Duo’s Played alive (The Bongo Song) rarely go over the 140 bpm mark.  Occasionally I’ve been asked to dance to these ‘too-fast’ tracks and I have declined and asked if we could dance the next track instead.

Like myself, Terry also learned to Rock ‘n’ Roll, and that style of dancing can cope with these super fast tracks, but Modern Jive is not Rock ‘n’Roll, and very few Modern Jivers have ever been to a Rock ‘n’Roll class.

In his message to me, Terry was full of praise for DJ Ian McLeod who built up the very successful Pirate Jive venues around Nottingham and Derby.  Ian has of course moved on, but he would play what I call ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll inspired tracks’, which had the same bouncy feel of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but were below the 140 bpm top limit.

Here’s one of Ian’s favourites.  I know a lot of other DJs play this track – surely it’s better than Rockin’ Robin!  (Posted Monday 19 February)

Notts Jive Crew bring out the Right Guard

Last night I had fabulous night of dancing at The Notts Jive Crew’s Keyworth Freestyle.  DJ Gary Warton was on top form with a wonderful mix of NJC favourites and some great new tracks.  Gary and Julie have established Keyworth Village Hall as a premier East Midlands venue, but I’m giving this great night a mention because of something unrelated to the music.

A couple of weeks back I wrote an article about my struggle to stay dry on the dance floor (see link below), and my need to be constantly changing my shirt.  Considering the article was written around my admission of being a sweaty man, it received a surprisingly high readership and was shared across Facebook.

In the article I dared to suggest that the men, with the same wet shirt problem as myself,  needed to not only keep changing their attire, but also to keep refreshing the deodorant.  I then suggested that venues might provide deodorant in the toilets.  Last night Gary and Julie did just that, and I think it’s worth a commendation.  Hopefully more venues will follow suit.  (Posted Sunday 18 February)

Murphy’s Dance Shirts & my battle to stay dry on the dance floor

Tim Sant does Motown at Southport

Looking through the programme for Ceroc’s Southport Weekender, I suddenly stopped at the listing for Sunday at 2:30 in The Boudoir.  Yes, Motown is back on the programme.

I was really excited when Motown got a slot on the Friday night in The Cyclone Room in February and June, and thought that DJs Chris Uren and John Baker did really well, so I was somewhat disappointed when it was dropped for September.  I’m pleased to see that it’s back on the programme with Tim Sant doing a Motown & Soul Hour.  Here’s what my my Soul Boy alter ego has to say about it:

Really pleased that Tim Sant’s got the Motown & Soul gig.  He’s already proved his knowledge of ’60s & 70s Soul Dance tracks during previous Thunderball Room slots.  In June last year he opened his set with a thumping Disco Soul Classic.  In my review of Tim’s set I said:

As the opening strains of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘Never can say goodbye’ ,with its soaring strings, hit me full on I was immediately in Disco Dance Heaven, and so it seemed was everybody else.

But it was in September that Tim really showed his Soul boy credentials, with a track that took me back to The Nottingham Palais in the early ’70s, when Motown and Soul ruled the roost.  It was a guaranteed floor filler then. and I couldn’t believe that Tim had plucked it from the Dance Music Archives to play in The Thunderball Room.

The track that so impressed my inner Soul Boy was Billy Butlers Right Track.  This track also gained a reputation in The Northern Soul Clubs of the ’70s and I hope Tim gives it another spin on Sunday afternoon.  To read my full review of Tim’s set please follow the link. Tim Sant’s June 2017 Thunderball Room Set.  In the meantime here’s the Billy Butler track with its distinctive intro.  (Posted Friday 16 February)

The Ceroc Nu-Line Dance 2018 is on line

The instruction video for the new Ceroc Nu-Line Dance is now on line.  The line dance for 2018 is done to Camila Cabello’s massive dance hit Havana.  I suspect that all over the country the line dance is being hurriedly taught so that it can premiered at next week’s Southport Weekender.  I know that Ash is teaching it tonight prior to the Ceroc Heaven class in Radcliffe on Trent.

Having had a quick look at the video, the line dance is based on the Cha Cha Cha, giving the dance the Latin feel of the song itself.  Last year I tried really hard to learn the dance to Justin Timberlake’s Can’t stop the feeling.  I practised the individual steps until I got them right, but failed miserably when I tried to put them all together with the music.

I’ll give the new dance a go, but I suspect I won’t be ready for this Southport.  How about I aim for June?  Here’s the instruction video.  I’m sure loads of people will pick it up quickly, and I look forward to the sight of two hundred people doing it at Southport.  (Posted Monday 12 February)

Let’s hear it for The ’90s

I’m always going on about DJ digging around the dance music vaults, so I thought I’d do some digging myself.  Hence I’ve started work on an article about ’90s dance music.  I’ve become aware of quite a few tracks from this decade making their way on to Modern Jive playlists so I thought I’d investigate a little further.

The first thing that I’ve discovered is that there is often an interesting back story to the people who created these great dance anthems.  Take the track I’ve featured below – Soulsearcher’s thumping Can’t Get Enough.  The female vocalist is Thea Austin, who co-wrote and provided the vocals for one of The ’90s biggest dance hits – Snap’s Rhythm is a dancer.

Here’s Thea fronting the Soulsearchers track which I think I have danced to on the Modern Jive dance floor.  I just love it’s energy and trance like vibe.  If you like it search for the seven minute long Vocal Club Mix – pity it’s too long for a MJ track.  (Posted Thursday 8 February)

Betty Boo does some Serious Rappin’

It’s Friday afternoon and that means I can write while listening to my favourite DJ – Silly Boy Wrighty on Steve Wright’s Serious Jockin’ (no G).  As always the dance music got me in the mood for some Serious Dancin’.  Fortunately tonight I’m at Kelham Hall, where the Ceroc Heaven Angels will be doing some Serious Cerocin’ (no G) – Sorry always wanted to do that joke.

As always Wrighty played some tracks that I wondered if they might cross over to the Modern Jive dance floor.  I’m always amazed that we don’t dance to much ’80s music, particularly because there must be plenty of people on the dance floor who grew up with it.  So I was pleased that he played a 1989 rocker from The Beatmasters and Betty Boo.

It’s a rap/house reworking of Martha Reeves and The Vandellas ’60s Motown track I can’t dance to that you’re playing.  The track uses the same piano riff, but adds a more danceable production on top.  Re-titled Hey DJ, I can’t dance to that, the track sets off at a cracking pace, but perhaps looses some of its vitality as Betty raps rather than sings the lyrics.  Even so, its not long before the chorus kicks in again, and I was Rockin’ (no G) on my seat.

Serious Jockin’ is breakin’ (no G) the Rules

One of the current favourites out on the Modern Jive dance floor is a New Rules by Dua Lipa.  This delicious contemporary track has had almost a billion hits on YouTube, proving just how popular it is.  However Wrighty and The Serious Jockin’ team have to play what they call a ‘Silly Boy’ track, so they finished the show with the Initial Talk 80s remix of this song.

The remix does have an ’80s feel, with some very obvious drum machine effects.  Whilst the remix works in its own right as a dance track, purest will no doubt grimace at how Lipa’s wonderful track has been disrespected.  But hey, that’s the charm of Serious Jockin’ – a programme that never takes itself too seriously, and loves breakin’ (no G) the New Rules (apologies for another bad pun).  (Posted Friday 2 February)

A disco classic that’s been gathering dust in the vaults

I just bought myself a new book called The Record Players – The story of dance music told by history’s greatest DJs.  I bought the book so that I can broaden my knowledge about areas of dance music I’m a little rusty on.  My next project is to start writing about ’80s dance music in the same way that I’ve written about ’60s Motown and ’70s Disco.

Interestingly the first DJ I enjoyed reading about was Tom Moulton, who was one of the kings of ’70s disco.  Tom was really a record producer, and is credited with inventing the 12″ single.  Tom would remix and extend great disco tunes to five, six or even nine minutes, so that the dancers in the disco clubs could really lose themselves in the music.

I know that extended tracks don’t really work on the Modern Jive dance floor.  Three minutes is long enough sometimes, especially if you’ve not made a good connection with your partner, or if your moves are starting to get a little too repetitive.

One of Moulton’s first successes was the six minute extended mix of Al Downings I’ll be holding on.  One of the tricks Moulton used was to extend the instrumental sections.  Now I love instrumental tracks, there’s something hypnotic about them.  What I love about this extended version is that you get one minute thirty seconds before the vocal kicks in, and another two minutes of backing track instrumental before it ends.

Amazingly I haven’t heard this track for thirty five years.  It is so good, and would work well for Modern Jive.  There is a three minute version which I’m going to see if I can get played.

Was this backing track used for a Modern Jive classic

One of the distinctive things about I’ll be holding on is the backing track, with what turns out to be a catchy banjo lick.  Last week DJ Kerry Bayley played the Club Mix of the FR Modern Jive classic Love is the music.

It’s hypnotic rhythm track was still going round my brain, when I first listened to the Al Downing track.  Now I’m convinced that the backing track of Love is the music incorporates a slightly faster version of I’ll be holding on‘s distinctive banjo lick.  It just proves, yet again, the legacy of disco music still influences the production of modern dance music.  (Posted Monday 22 January)

Perfect Modern Jive tracks from Ed Sheeran

When it comes to reviewing music, that’s suited to Modern Jive, I have mixed thoughts about Ed Sheeran tracks.  Take Castle on the hill.  This proved to be a big hit on the Modern Jive dance floor last year, but I struggled to understand why.

It just seemed too fast, and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t find a way to dance to it.  Forgive me Ed, but as soon as I recognised the intro I would quickly leave the dance floor.  In fact to ensure no one asked me to dance to the track I would sometime escape to the loo!

However one of my favourite songs of last year was the Felix Jaehn remix of Sheeran’s Photograph.  And that’s the point.  The remixes work for me because they give these songs the right tempo for Modern Jive.  This point is illustrated by the remixes that are now available of Perfect.  The original is a beautiful song, but it’s just too slow.

I suspect Blues DJs might be screaming at their screen to tell me that its a perfect track for Chillout Zones, but when it comes to Main Room playlists I can only see it as taking the ‘last track of the night’ slot.  However there are now two remixes available that really work for me.

The first is the Robin Schulz remix.  I danced to this on Saturday night, at Northern Jive Barnsley’s freestyle, where DJ Kerry B was on duty.  I had a great dance to it.

The second is Mike Perry’s tropical house remix, which I’m sure will get a lot of plays in SILC and Chill out Zones.  Interestingly the Mike Perry version seems to be the more popular of the two, receiving three times as many hits on YouTube.  I’ve embedded both versions so you can make up your own mind.  (Posted Monday 15 January) 

Great start for new Ceroc Heaven Class

Last night saw the opening of Ceroc Heaven’s new class night at The John Godber Centre in Hucknall, just north of Nottingham.  It was great to see so many new people taking the first steps on their dance journey.  It was also wonderful to see so many intermediate dancers supporting the opening of this class night.

Experienced dancers help in two ways.  Firstly they are there to help the beginners master the three move routine, but just as important to show the joy that comes from dancing as you progress through the ability levels.

Last summer I wrote an article on how Modern Jive dance organisations can use modern marketing methods to attract beginners to their classes.  It was really interesting comparing notes with Ceroc Franchise holder Mark O’Reilly, as he told me some of the tactics they used to generate interest in the class.  There is no doubt that his methods worked as there must have been twenty new starters last night.

Congratulations to the whole Ceroc heaven team, including venue manager Caroline Jenkins, who worked so hard to achieve this success.  I’m sure that Ceroc Heaven will continue to grow this class venue, and it will help maintain the strong tradition of Modern Jive dancing in the Nottingham area.  (Posted Wednesday 10 January)

A House Anthem gives me the best dance of the night

Remember House Music?  I’m always going on about how important it is for DJs to occasionally play tracks that we danced to in our youth.  There must be a lot of people out on the Modern Jive dance floor who learnt their first moves to the electronic House music of the ’80s and ’90s.  In the early ’80s record producers started to use electronic bass lines that properly thumped the dance floor.

Last night DJ Mark O’Reilly played a slab of these thumping bass lines that was just perfect for a full on Modern Jive dance.  Needless to say it gave me the best dance of the night as myself and my dance partner smashed it.  I remember dancing to it myself back in the day, but couldn’t put a name to it.  Mark kindly sent me a link.

When Show me love by Robin S was first released in 1990 it made little impression, but in 1992 it was remixed by Swedish producers Stone bridge and Nick Nice (nice name Nick), and it became a dance anthem for The ’90s. (Posted Tuesday 9 January)

A chance to compare Ceroc and LeRoc Freestyles

I had a wonderful weekend dancing at two fabulous freestyles in Surrey.  Interestingly one was run by a Ceroc Franchise and the other by an Independent LeRoc organisation.  They gave me an opportunity to make some comparisons.

First let me stress that these were two top drawer nights – I’ll be writing a full review of both of them later in the week – and the comparison is not whether one was better than the other.   They both had great turnouts and the music rocked the floor at both events, but there were two noticeable difference.

The events, on Friday night at Guildford (Ceroc) and Leatherhead (LeRoc) on Saturday, were only 16 miles apart, and not surprisingly there were a few people at both events.  The first difference was the age range.  Both freestyles had dancers from across the complete modern jive age range, but the Ceroc one at Guildford had noticeably more younger dancers.

The second thing was the music.  Again it was great at both venues, but Howie the Ceroc DJ played played more contemporary music, while Colin played less of this this and also treated the dancers to some Rock ‘n’ Roll inspired music.  So here is the ‘Chicken and Egg’ question.  Are their more younger dances at Ceroc events because of the music, or is the music at Ceroc events like this because it attracts younger dancers.  Answers on a postcard please.

Two great mixes make an interesting comparison

Here are two of my ‘What was that track’ moments from the weekend.  They are both interestingly remixes from the ’80s, but give some sense of how two outstanding DJ sets can be totally different, and perhaps appeal to different age groups.

The first is from DJ Howie’s Ceroc set.  It’s a remix of Marvin’ Gaye’s Sexual healing by Kygo.  This record producer’s remixes are easy identified by their Tropical House vibe, and Kygo’s treatment turns what is rather a slow track in to a great contemporary dance one.


The second is one of DJ Colins LeRoc picks.  Not sure when this Dimitri remix was done, but it has all the feel of ’90s Acid House, and it takes Madonna’s great ’80s dance floor hit In to the groove to another level.  (Posted Monday 8 January)

The New Year gets of to a Rockin’ start

I estimated that there were about forty Modern Jive Freestyles on New Years Eve, so I reckon between six and seven thousand people saw the New Year in modern jiving to some rockin’ tunes.  I was at Ceroc Heaven’s 2 Room Freestyle at Sandiacre in Nottingham, where DJ Mark O’Reilly treated us to a two hour Motown & Soul playlist in the smaller second room.

A great way to start what was a great night of dancing.  I’ll be writing a detailed review of Mark’s Motown playlist next, with a lot of background about the tracks for those of you who appreciate a Motown fix now and again.

At midnight after the traditional Hokey Cokey, DJ Mark O’Reilly really set the floor on fire with a thumping thirty minutes of top tunes.  It all started with Kool and The Gang’s Celebration, then Mark slowly cranked up the energy levels until Safri Duo’s Played alive (The Bongo Song) finally lit the flames.  Great start to the New Year.  (Posted Tuesday 2 January)

To read the previous edition of Quick Steps: Quick Notes please click here