Ceroc Teaching

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
For me, the biggest advantage of Ceroc is that it is a social activity. Classes and social dancing occur at the same place on the same night for the same price and everyone is encouraged to dance with strangers. The nearest equivalent is Argentine tango (class with practica). However, the Ceroc people dance with everyone; the tango people only dance with people they regard as worth dancing with. With salsa and swing, you do the class, and then have to go to separate social event, where you may or may not get a dance.
Traditionally, AT is danced with the same partner for an entire "tanda", or set of songs. You change partners during a "cortina". This is part of AT culture, where the "culture" part is taught and followed. Not meshing with someone for four entire songs becomes more and more painful the better you get.
Tango "milongas" are considered by many to be a large part a social event. You aren't expected to "dance very dance". Quality is valued more that quantity.
Still, many milongas and practicas in the US have a beginner lesson before the "dancing" starts. Beginners stay for a while, dancing what little they know, often with helpful more experienced dancers.

The country western "dance hall" scene is similar in that, where there is a regular cilentele, there is a high social content to an evening of "going out dancing".

Sitting and standing around socializing is part of an evening out.

Salsa venues also have lessons before dancing starts.

If you are taking lessons at a studio, you get lessons at a studio.

If you are new to any scene, and don't know the dances, it can be a tough row to hoe. CW bars throw in "rock n roll" type songs for the people that don't take the time to learn anything. Then of course there's the all purpose "slow dance".

Lots of people show up (both CW and AT) and never really learn how the do the dances very well. They "learn on the floor", usually with very mixed results. As someone wrote not too long ago, they find like minded indivduals, and they are happy. Meanwhile, they are probably thinking that the people who HAVE put lots of time, energy, and money into learning how to do the dances well, are "snobs" for not asking them to dance.
 
I would also like to say to Mr Bailey that I am more than a little disappointed that you seem to find it all very amusing, as in the past I've found your experience and insight (much of it mirroring mine, only better expressed) always worth reading.
FWIW, I apologise for any derailing of this thread, simply because I was annoyed at one poster.

I no longer want anything to do with this thread and, given by the sudden drop off in posts, neither does anyone else.
Well, blimey, all threads die in the end. This one's lasted longer than most, but personally, I simply forgot about it for a few days... :D

As for Another Poster, yes as Dave says, we've both encountered a fair amount of dance snobbery. Often, it's from people who are frankly not very good dancers or teachers. In my experience, to paraphrase Robocop, good dancing is where you find it.
 
I have been to Argentine tango classes and paid my $15 and had my 40 min beginner class, and sat through the 40 min intermediate class, and then had nobody to dance with in the 1 hour practica.
Hey, pain is part of the process in AT, you know... :D

Yes, you can watch a group of people doing Ceroc and see a lot to laugh at.
Ultimately, to take the words of one of the more respected dancers on the circuit, when you look at a group of people doing Ceroc, then first and foremost you should see a group of people having fun in partner dancing.

And that's worth admiring.
 
Traditionally, AT is danced with the same partner for an entire "tanda", or set of songs. You change partners during a "cortina". This is part of AT culture, where the "culture" part is taught and followed. Not meshing with someone for four entire songs becomes more and more painful the better you get.
Tango "milongas" are considered by many to be a large part a social event. You aren't expected to "dance very dance". Quality is valued more that quantity.
Still, many milongas and practicas in the US have a beginner lesson before the "dancing" starts. Beginners stay for a while, dancing what little they know, often with helpful more experienced dancers.
I understand and accept what you have said about the "tanda", although I did not think that applied in practicas.
I understand a "milonga" (not the dance) to be a social event, in one sense equivalent to the Sydney Ceroc dance parties (which do have a beginner lesson to start).

But I am not trying to compare social dance events in Australia with social dance events in the US. I cannot do so; I have never been to the US.
I can compare my experience of dance styles as taught and practised in Sydney.

And I say Ceroc crowd are best for getting dances. The AT people are very friendly in conversation, but quite discriminating in who they agree to dance with. I've not been to a swing social so I don't know where they fit on this scale. And I don't go to salsa venues because I don't like salsa music.
 
Not meshing with someone for four entire songs becomes more and more painful the better you get.
There's something to that, yes - although, to be fair, most tango tracks only seem to last a couple of minutes, and in London it's usually 3 dances.

But yes, there's more of a commitment in AT to each new partner than there is in Ceroc / salsa.

If you are new to any scene, and don't know the dances, it can be a tough row to hoe.
Yes - every dance scene is intimidating to a beginner.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
I understand and accept what you have said about the "tanda", although I did not think that applied in practicas.
It depends, apparently, on where you are, who the organizers are, etc.
Some people try really hard to recreate the Buenos Aires vibe, some don't.

I don't think I've ever wirtten anything eith pro or con about Ceroc. I'm just trying to put it into a wider perspective.
It's occurred to me that in frontier days in the US, dances were big social events and people would somtimes travel for days to attend. "Dance Masters" were rare. This frontier period lastest for several hunderd years, and no doubt is part of dance culture here.
So, if many people have a "dance outlet" by going to the local honky tonk/church dance/dance hall, etc, there is less opportunity for a big, organized, "corporate" organization like Ceroc to gain a foothold.
I would think that Austrailia would have a similar history, but have never looked into it.

BTW, it was really, really tough for me to go back to square one when I learned AT, and then again when I learned the more intense apilado style - as a beginner after a year of AT.
But, you know, I think a healthy dose of humility is a good thing, and helps keep the whole thing in perspective.

(You probably didn't see see the world champ gymnast take the dance pro to the gym last night on DWTS. Now, there was an interesting example of trying to walk a mile in the other person's shoes (except that gymnasts don't wear shoes)). The gymnast said that she realized her pro was human!
 
BTW, it was really, really tough for me to go back to square one when I learned AT, and then again when I learned the more intense apilado style - as a beginner after a year of AT.
But, you know, I think a healthy dose of humility is a good thing, and helps keep the whole thing in perspective.
Amen to that... We were already well into our ballroom/latin training before we jumped into AT. What a change that was...

Worked out well though, and now AT is thoroughly enjoyable.
 
I think Steve, (and most of the Americans) you're missing the point about Ceroc.

Ceroc came about because in the 1980's because partner dance as social activity more or less disappeared in the rest of the English speaking world. It's big corporate entity, but there are lots of smaller non-affiliated Modern Jive teachers out there.

However, it needed a large, standardised model to get to a large audience - it could not have been done any other way, and all the other dance forms in the UK, AT, Swing have benifited from the huge number of new dancers who been introduced to dance through MJ
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
Ceroc came about because in the 1980's because partner dance as social activity more or less disappeared in the rest of the English speaking world.


NOT in the U.S.....it was one of the most productive eras. Latin Hustle was responsible for bringing people into studios in droves.

And.. it was a world wide phenomenon. ( even in the UK )
 
I think Steve, (and most of the Americans) you're missing the point about Ceroc.

Ceroc came about because in the 1980's because partner dance as social activity more or less disappeared in the rest of the English speaking world.
Actually, I think that is Steve's point - partner dancing in the USA never disappeared to such an extent as in the UK, so there was never such a gap in the market.
 
Excellent stuff - so now we understand each others perspectives :)

The impression I get is that the USA while it has well established dance communities, it also has 'dance deserts' on the UK model of 20 years ago.

It's a 'big country'
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
There's a story about Bob Wills (famouse Western Swing musician) and his band showing up a a place in the middle of the desert somewhere in the Southwest. They thought it must have been some sort of mistake. But when it was showtime there were hundreds of people who had come from miles around.
I'd rather drive an hour or two in the country than an hour in traffic any day!
And that story about Bob Wills riding a mule 50 miles or so to see Bessie Smith the blues singer comes to mind, too.

There are lots of places where people don't do anything very fancy, places like the Blue Moon north of Kalispell, Montana, or the Safari Club in Estacada, OR. But they dance! You might not count polka ot two step or just grooving in place as the same kind of dance as "ballroom" dances, and none of it is organized and maybe no one anywhere gives lessons. So, in some repects it IS a "desert". But people are more interested in dancing rather than being "good" at it.
The mass media has a tendency to present what is new and hot, and that's the case for a long long time. So, if people were dancing swing at honky tonks around Jackson TN when Carl Pekins started playing in the late 40s/early 50s, no one paid any attention. When "rock n roll" got big, they made movies with dancing in them, and everyone said, "Hey, they're dancing again!"
And, yes, more peole were dancing swing, but latin dance had become popular, too, and there was in fact lots of music to dance to, and places to go. It just had a low profile.

Anyhow, been running on....
 

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