DJ Asley rocks the floor at The Grange

last night I was at The Ceroc Heaven Grange Hall Freestyle in Radcliffe on Trent, near Nottingham.  DJ Ashley Davis was on the decks and by the time I arrived at 8:30 he already had a packed dance floor rockin’.  I’ll have a full review of the night on the blog by Wednesday evening.  In the meantime here’s one of Ashley’s fabulous tracks that I just loved dancing to.

Ain’t no mountain high enough was written by Ashford and Simpson in 1967.  This husband and wife team created many hits for the Motown record label, and famously also wrote Chaka Khan’s I’m every woman in 1978.  Ain’t no mountain high enough was first a hit for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, but it gained even greater success when Diana Ross did a much slower and soulful version in 1970.

Ashley played a superb modern reworking of the song from 2016 by Freischwimmer featuring the vocal of Dionne Bromfield.  This modern version has a much stronger beat than the original Motown versions and is just wonderful to dance to. (Posted Saturday 25 November)

DJ Mark gets this months Soul Boy Award

I was lovin’ the dancing at The Ceroc Heaven’s class night in West Bridgford last night, when DJ Mark O’Reilly played one of my all time Soul Boy favourites.  Now Mark knows that I love this track, but he hasn’t played it for ages, so a big thank you.  The track in question was very popular in Nottingham when I first set foot on the dance floor, but disappeared from my life for a good twenty five years.

I was at a Motown Disco Night in Long Eaton about four years ago when I suddenly heard its distinctive trumpet intro.  Fortunately the dance floor wasn’t too busy so myself and my partner got a chance to modern jive to it.  It was so wonderful to be acquainted with this great instrumental again.

The track does thankfully get plays on the Modern Jive circuit, and I remember being quite overwhelmed when it got played in the Thunderball Room at a Southport Weekender.  This track is featured in My Favourite Tracks Listing where I explain a little more about my connection to it.

So what was the track that I so enjoyed dancing to last night?  It’s Wade in The Water by Ramsey Lewis – hopefully some of you will share  my enthusiasm for it. (Posted Friday 24 November)

A very impressive London Ceroc Class Night with Steve Thomas

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing and indoor

On Wednesday I got a chance to visit the Ceroc Surrey dance class at Surbiton, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the lesson was being run by guest teacher Steve Thomas and his assistant Nardiya.  Steve and Nardiya have made quite a name for themselves on the Ceroc teaching circuit, and at the last Southport Weekender I attended their ‘Whips’ Master Class.  Sadly Steve, I have only been able to put the basic one in to my routine.

Because of other writing commitments I wasn’t able to do a full review of the class, so I thought I’d put a mini review in to this Quick Steps section.

Steve prefers to teach the Beginners class in a large circle with himself and Nardiya included as one of the couples.  This allows Nardiya to move round the circle from time to time to help out the beginner men, and Steve gets to help the ladies.  It’s a method that works very well in a large hall like the one at the Surbiton venue.

Steve has a real gift as a teacher

Steve’s real gift is his delivery of the lesson.  Steve explains the moves in a very relaxed manner, yet holds the attention of the class extremely well.  It’s a style that works very well, particularly for beginners.  What really impressed me was the way Steve added in lots of tips for both the men and ladies that are often omitted by other teachers.

It’s hard being the man and having the extra problem of having to lead the lady.  I remember being petrified at times.  Steve essentially told the guys that it was understandable if they went wrong, and not to worry about it too much.  He had similar comforting advise for the ladies too.

This class night has added value

While Steve and Nardiya ran the intermediate class, Taxi Dancers Colin and Natalie did a Beginners Refresher Class, but what was really impressive was that an Advanced Class was also held in another room, run by David Addis. 

The standard of dancing was noticeably higher than normal

Impressively I counted about a dozen people doing the Advanced Lesson and that probably explains the general high quality of dancers at this venue.  There was the usual spread of dance abilities you would expect at any Ceroc class, but during the times I was sitting out and watching the other dancers, I sensed that the level of dancing was higher than at most Ceroc classes I visit.  I certainly enjoyed some wonderful dances.

This is a very successful class night

This is obviously a very successful class.  Colin, Natalie and David, and not forgetting Keith on the door, must also take their share of the credit along with Steve and Nardiya for what was an impressively run class night.  There must have been well over a hundred people in attendance and in the final dancing session it had the feel of a freestyle.  The evening went on until eleven and the floor was still packed as Steve played the last track.

Last word  – thanks for The Chairman of The Board

Steve was also on DJ-ing duties and he played a great mix of tracks, including some excellent contemporary ones.  One of my dance highlights was to the current favourite Havana by Camila Cabello.

It seems that Steve must have some Soul Boy DNA because he played a real gem from the ’70s.  Thanks then Steve, for playing a real favourite of mine – The Chairman of The Board’s Give me just a little more time. (Posted Friday 17 November)


Click here to read my other Ceroc Surrey review – the Class Night at Byfleet

Is the Strictly effect working?

On Friday night I was dancing with a Zoe who is a Zumba teacher.  She told me that she had had an uplift in interest that she put down to Strictly Come Dancing.  Of course Zumba is not partner dancing, but it is a form of dancing.

On Monday I was at a Ceroc Heaven class night and the place was heaving.  There was as many people as if it was a freestyle.  Perhaps this was the Strictly Come Dancing effect in action again.  Sue O’Reily, who runs the door at the class, was quick to admit to there being a Strictly Effect:

We  always get more beginners once Strictly Come Dancing has started

I can believe that it might encourage new people to start dance classes, and the beginners class was certainly very busy, but the intermediate class was even busier.  Does Strictly remind those intermediate dancers who may not have been for a while what great fun dancing is.

It was the same at LeRoc Surrey’s Dorking Halls’ class last night.  The place was packed and had the flavour of a freestyle.  Again had Strictly Come Dancing got people up and out of the house. (Posted Tuesday 14 November)

Click here to read my article Inspired to dance by Strictly Come Dancing

A Swing/Jazz standout track

I’ve just finished my review of DJ Gary Wharton’s set at The Shed in Nottingham, and as always there wasn’t enough time to feature all the standout tracks.  Gary is a great fan of Swing music and here’s one of the best from Saturday night – I love being here with you by Emerstine Anderson.

This track has a driving swing beat overlaid with some wonderful jazz piano playing.  It’s a perfect track to play with your moves and express your musicality.  When the guitar solo kicks in it’s very easy to lose yourself in the jazzy improvisation.  I’m sure this type of track will find a place in second room blues and chill out rooms, but I wish we could dance to more of this type of music when there’s just one room at  a freestyle. (Posted Saturday 11 November)

I can’t miss featuring this track

I’m currently writing my full review of Kerry Bayley’s freestyle at Wetherby.  Kerry’s playlist was full of dance music delights and sadly I haven’t got enough space to feature as many as I would like.  So please excuse me if I use the Quick Steps section to feature one that sadly missed the cut.

I love it when DJs play some new-to-me tracks and Kerry served up one that had me rushing on the stage asking ‘What was that track?’  I suspect that Fats Domino’s Home USA gets a few plays in Chill Out Zones and Blues rooms , but I’d like to think that this style of mid tempo bluesy music would get a lot more plays in freestyle main rooms. (Posted Tuesday 7 November)

DJ Gary spins my guilty track

Remember yesterday I admitted to lovin’ Wake me up by Helene Fischer, which DJ Kerry played at The Engine Shed (see post below), even though it didn’t do my street cred any good.  Well guess what?  DJ Gary Wharton played it at The Shed last night and it gave me one of the best dances of the night.

The thing is that this track is very Eurovision. It’s a long way down the schmaltzy track from Calvin Harris or Sigala, but hey I love it.  I’m tempted to start a campaign to get it played in The Thunderball Room at Southport.  Perhaps I can talk Caroline Houlton in to playing it!  To hear this great dance tune just scroll down to the next item.  Don’t feel guilty if you love it. (Posted Sunday 5 November)  

DJ Kerry does my street cred no good

At Kerry B’s Yorkshire Freestyle Nights Wetherby Freestyle last night and she plays a real favourite of mine.  The trouble is it won’t do my street cred any good.  It’s a piece of Euro pop that’s so pretty and sweet – think The Archies’ Sugar sugar and you get the idea – that I’m a little embarrassed to admit I love it.

But I do, and the crowd at The Engine Shed Wetherby loved it to.  So put your street cred to one side and just enjoy  Wake me up by Helene Fischer.

DJ Kerry does her own street cred a power of good

As always DJ Kerry B played an awesome set at the Engine Shed.  I’ll have a full review of the freestyle on the blog by Thursday next week.  However there was just too much fab music that I’ll have to sadly exclude some wonderful tracks, so I’ll take the opportunity to feature one track I’d have to discard now.

It’s a rockin’ piece of blues from Fats Domino that has a simple beat that anybody can easily connect with, but its got that something extra for those more experienced dancers who want to express their musicality. (Posted Saturday 4 November)