Last night the Boy and I went to our first Ceroc dance class. What is Ceroc, you ask? According to the Cityside Dance studio (where we went last night):
Ceroc has its origins in the Second World War, when American GI’s based in France, introduced Jive to the dance scene. Locals adapted it and described it as “C’est le roc”! Soon called Ceroc, this funky partner dance quickly became popular, and took off in London in the eighties in a big way, and was trendy with the likes of Princess Diana and her Sloane ranger friends.
It’s a mixture of Jive, Salsa and a bit of everything else really and it’s tons of fun. It’s danced to modern Top 40 music or classic Rock and Roll and it’s fairly simple to learn. At least, if I can manage it, I think everyone can.
The way the class was run was interesting. There were about 20 people there and we set up in a circle, partnered up. The instructors demonstrated a move, we practised it and then the girls moved to partner with the next guy in the circle. There were a mix of experienced dancers and newbies like us and I found it fascinating dancing with so many different people. Each person has a different style and level of confidence and my confidence so often depended on my partner. While I try avoid the idea of having to be validated constantly, this was interesting because, as part of a partner dance where I have to follow the lead of the guy, I needed the leader to be confident in himself in order for me to feel confident in my skills.
There were two dancers there who were obviously quite experienced and great for a newbie partner. They encouraged me, even as I gracelessly spun and tripped slightly. They were confident in their leading – giving me no option but to follow and not have to think too hard about what I should be doing and they boosted my confidence by allowing me to forget that I was the newbie in the partnership. When I moved on from dancing with them, I felt confident and excited.
There was another experienced dancer there who made me hyper aware of my lowly status at times. He barely spoke to me and, after we’d gone through the routine, he would segued into freestyle dancing, with moves I hadn’t learnt yet. I kept up for a bit but I was nervous and unsure.
And then there were two other dancer who, while not entirely new, were not nearly as experienced. They may have been dancing for a few weeks, if that. One of them kept chiding me for not letting him lead but he was so unsure of his leading that, as the partner, I was lost on what he wanted me to do. So I’d automatically step into the next part of the routine, only to be chided again. I felt out of step and unsure, which made me doubt myself for the next partner.
While this may reflect on my own confidence more than anything, I realised that validation is not always a bad thing. When the two really encouraging partners made remarks like “you pick things up really quickly” and ‘you’ve obviously danced before” I puffed up and trusted myself more, because obviously they were seeing something there that I wasn’t allowing myself to see. When the other dancers chided me, I listened as much as I could and took from it what I needed to. To stop thinking so much and trust myself and my partner. I would have liked to have chided back “well, lead already then!” but I’m too nice and I kept quiet.
In the end, I came away holding onto the successes, realising that I’m not entirely rhythmically challenged. I also came away signing up for 6 more sessions. I’m hoping for more dance moves, more confidence and perhaps some more life lessons.
What life lessons have you learnt from the most unexpected things?