Swing Discussion Boards > Is Ceroc a Swing or Latin American Dance?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Albanaich, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Just out of interest - where do you class Ceroc (aka Modern Jive, Leroc)?

    Is it Swing or a variant of Salsa?

    I would say its the 6 and 8 beat patterns that define Swing, if it doesn't have that 'pulse' its not Swing.

    Having said that, as a WCS and Lindy Hop dancer, when I dance Ceroc I invariably end up trying to fit the moves to a 6 or 8 beat frame.

    Locally Ceroc is a sort of 'beginners class' for WCS, with folks graduating from Ceroc to WCS. It's done a lot for Swing and dancing in general in the UK and I'm surprised the model has not taken off in the USA, though it has just about everywhere else
  2. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Generally it is classified as a rhythm dance by the ballroom crowd I think which is where Swing also is, but technically speaking it is not a swing dance since it lacks syncopation, swung rhythms, and polyrhythms.
  3. DavidB

    DavidB Member

    At least one top WCS dancer has said that a Ceroc routine should go into their showcase category rather than the cabaret division. (They define cabaret as "anything but swing" in WCS competitions).

    This was a few years ago, before the recent debate about "swing content". I suspect they might class it differently now.
  4. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    It has NO relationship to Salsa or ANY latin dance.. borrowing steps and placing them in a different genre, is very common .. that does not automatically place the "new " found dance in the same genre.... It is a Swing/Jive loosely based concept.
  5. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Honestly, I don't believe Ceroc is a dance at all, I think it is a teaching methodology, it looks pretty different depending on the music, the only thing that really carries over are the basic walk (the reason it is not a swing dance) and the ballroom/hustle style "presentation" arms. but every other aspect is entirely different when it is done to latin, swing, pop, hip-hop, blues, or tango music.

    I think Ceroc is either more appropriately termed meta dance or a genre, than a single dance. My two cents (which with our economy is really about $0.0054).
  6. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member


    I'm inclined to agree with you Aristo. . .

    It is a very successful model of teaching and everyone outside the Ballroom uses it in the UK. It also acts as a sort of 'filter' for the people just want to do dance as social activity and those who are seriously into it.

    I'm astonished at the number of Ceroc folk who can't dance in time and don't want to make the effort to learn.

    Locally there is a sort of 'two - tier' dance scene with some people being directed to the Ceroc scene and others who can dance in time to music being directed to the Swing scene.

    Another reason I like Ceroc is because you get to meet some truly awful dancers. Making these folk dance - or rather making them think they can dance - is a real test of lead and follow skills.

    The reverse is also true - you meet some stars amongst the dross as well.

    The Swing scene is for folk who can dance in time to music :)
  7. MrWhip

    MrWhip New Member

    In my humble opinion, Ceroc is not Swing or Salsa and has not done a lot for dancing in general in the UK. Lead and follow, good dancing technique, connection, musical interpretation are rarely taught at Ceroc classes in my experience (and of course very little if any footwork is taught). The priority seems to me to be making money and trying to teach people 300 moves. I started with Ceroc (for eighteen months) then started Lindy Hop and had to 'unlearn' a lot of bad habits.
    Some of the WCS taught is also very suspect in terms of technique, which is probably why so many WCS dancers do not seem to be able to handle anything above 140bpm (despite it being a simple 6b dance), or lead and follow.
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Nothing wrong with making money ( that is what we do as teachers ).. its the concept, as you stated that concerns me.. but, it seems to draw " bodies " ,
    and is more of a social gathering .

    I had 2 local teachers of the genre come to my R and R class sometime back, .. there was not a lead or basic structure in anything they danced ,and had great difficulty in re "tooling " what little they did know .

    Sad to say, it also happens with salsa etc.
  9. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    I'm not sure how I strayed here from the Salsa side, but now I'm here, and I've written the below, I might as well post it!

    In my (brief) experience, Ceroc is Swing Dancing with the swing removed and the dancing deconstructed to the point of there being no point. Maybe I'm a snob but I think you should dance to the music. If you claim your dance can be done to any music then it's either a really complex and subtle art that I'd love to learn, or you're not really paying attention to the music. In the class I went to, it was the latter. I went to a lindy class the other week and loved it to bits, simply because it had a structure that went with appropriate music. If Ceroc divided up music along rhythmic and temp lines, and recommended steps that went with the rhythms, then my opinion would change about this. But all I've seen is people moving around each other in sequences of agreed movements. It has as much in common with wrestling or yachting as it does with dancing.
  10. RickRS

    RickRS Member

    Damn! Barred from another dance crowd! ;)
  11. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    The musicians in the Swing Bands of the 1940's era used to have a game of spotting the couples who could dance in time. They reckoned about 1 in 8 to 10 could dance in time.

    Or, about 1 in 5 people have any natural sense of timing.

    Until I started Ceroc I found it hard to imagine that anyone could dance out of time. In WCS swing one of my early questions was 'why triple step' surely you can do anything for the 2 beat anchor?

    Ceroc is forum in which those that have a sense of timing can discover that this is something pretty unusual.
  12. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    I've never tried Ceroc, it's pretty uncommon in the U.S.

    But the dancing in time thing is a widespread issue outside of Ceroc anyway. I was pretty shocked and surprised at the number of people who take up dance when they can't hear the beat. I always thought of dance as a hobby for people who already have a feeling for music - but I guess some folks instead figure that dance lessons will teach them to feel the beat.

    As for the WCS anchor, I noticed that too. They always teach the triple step to start out, but you don't see it that way so much at the advanced level. I think the triple step is probably just the easiest way to put you back on the correct foot in the required number of beats. The more advanced concept is to put your center back and be ready to go on the 1, or the "and" after the 1, but that's not usually taught to beginners, so far as I know.
  13. DancinAnne

    DancinAnne New Member

    I've been hearing a lot about Ceroc. But don't know a thing about it... other than what I've read here.

    As for the wcs anchor... the triple step is the basic. Anything else is a variation. And more advanced dancers will vary the basic. You are right, variations aren't typically taught to beginners, until they are comfortable with their basics.
  14. DancinAnne

    DancinAnne New Member

    Really? 1 in 5 people? That explains alot!:D
  15. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member


    I think its best to describe Ceroc in terms of being a 'introduction to dance' and although it can be criticised on lots of levels, it introduces a lot of new people to dance and has gone a long way to reviving the 'dance hall' scene of the 1940's and 1950's.

    It's a social activity first and dance second - just like the original Swing scene.

    The problem with all the other forms of partner dance - ballroom, swing, and to a lesser extent Salsa, is that some sort of ability, skill and training is required before you get on the dance floor. With Ceroc the skill required is negligible, so you can quickly get dancing, a consequence of that is you meet some trully appalling dancers at Ceroc.

    However, you also meet some very good dancers who would never have started dancing without the easy route in through Ceroc (I'm one of them). Most people with any kind of ability (I like to think I am one of the them to) quickly realise how flawed Modern Jive is and move onto something more demanding. (I did some ballroom and mainstream square dance as a teenager so I had an idea what 'real' dancing was about)

    We've got a girl at my WCS class who is absolutely never going to be a dancer, she would be able to get around the floor at Ceroc and that is where she should be - not WCS.

    Locally we've also got a 'two tier' dance system, with the 'social dancers' doing Ceroc and the others (the ones who can keep time) dancers going to venue's that do WCS - Advanced Ceroc - Salsa'

    There's a lot of crossover both ways, with WCS and Ballroom teachers actively 'talent spotting' in the huge Ceroc pool of dancers
  16. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    My WCS teacher's response to the question - 'why do I need to triple step', was on the lines, if you know to ask that question, you understand the timing and don't need to follow the rules.

    Oh - and I have an open invite to visit friends in Joplin MO, I hope to introduce Ceroc to the area when I come across next year. . . .
  17. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    This is 'Classic Ceroc'


    Remember 4 out of 5 people cannot see that they are completely out of time to the music. . .

    It's amazing. . . the physicality is there, and it would look pretty good if it was in time, it gives dancers (those who know about timing) a very good picture of how non-dancers see dancing.

    Scary huh?
  18. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Dance teaching

    If you are teaching dance, its worth bearing in mind that those with natural timing will find it difficult to learn steps. 'Natural Dancers' (and musicians) can't separate the steps from the timing. For them it is learned as whole, when they do learn, it they have the whole thing completely.

    Those with no ear for music or timing (85%) will pick up the steps very quickly, its simple a physical thing - but they will find it very difficult to do the steps in time with the music. They will never understand the meaning of dance.
  19. EmmaT

    EmmaT New Member

    While I agree that there are some appalling dancers who go to ceroc classes, there are also appalling salsa dancers who have no idea of a beat and I'm sure the same in other styles. I think there are going to be people who are shocking dancers and will never get it however hard they try or whatever style they dance. Your comment on the 'two tier' system and the WCS beginner doesn't help encourage people of all standards to get on the dancefloor and encourages snobbery across dance styles. That's basically why I mostly gave up salsa because I found it too snobby against anyone who wasn't seen to be a hotshot (and I was one of the better dancers in my classes, just not known to others at the clubs I went to)

    Personally i think anything that encourages more people to dance can only be a good thing - not everyone can be a serious dancer/competition winner. Plus the level of WCS dancers in the UK is higher because most of them have danced modern jive before (I know I'd never heard of it before I started MJ), so WCS'ers shouldn't look down on ceroc.

    I do ceroc/modern jive which I've done for 2 years now. Before that I'd done a few years of salsa (different styles), plus I've dabbled in a bit of ballroom, and also 14 years of ballet. So some people find modern jive later as it fits into their life. (ballroom wouldn't be easy for me to do as my OH won't dance and let's face it unless I got serious about it and found a partner, I'd be dancing as a man!). I'd love to try more WCS just as I enjoy trying tasters of lots of dance styles, but unfortunately outside of dance weekenders I don't have the opportunity as there're no classes within an hour of where I live. It doesn't mean that all the good dancers should leave it, and they also shouldn't be tarred with the view that ceroc is just for the mass market dancers who'll never progress.

    (Rant over!)
  20. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Some dances are inherently more difficult that others people should be aware of their own limitations, and unless they are very determined, stay within them.

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