Blitz lose Prize Club – Follow Up

May 25, 2006

Following on from our previous news flash

A new team has taken over running freestyles and club nights at Bowden’s Cinnamon Club in dramatic fashion.

 

Blitz has run its club night at the venue for over ten years, recently on Tuesday and Thursday nights, with the occasional freestyle. Blitz is the dominant MJ organisation in the north of England, running nights at around 12 venues.

 

On Saturday April 29, about 10 minutes before its midnight finish, two ex-Blitz employees, Claire and Rak Kapur and their son, flanked by the venue’s security staff, entered the freestyle and handed out fliers to the 80+ dancers attending.

 

The fliers promoted “Cinnamon Jive’, taking over Blitz’s established Tuesday and Thursday nights at the venue. Fliers also had been placed dancers’ car windscreens in the car park.

About the same time, Blitz venue manager, Suzzanne, was called to the office of Cinnamon Club’s manager. She was told that Blitz’s agreement was cancelled with immediate effect and that the Cinnamon Club would be taking over the nights.

 

Within days, an email was sent to many Blitz customers, informing them of the changes and promoting Cinnamon Jive.

 

Dancers attending the freestyle criticised the way the changes were announced. "In all the years I've been coming here I've hardly ever seen the security guards. Tonight they came in like the Gestapo … it was very intimidating. I've no doubt they were there for the benefit of the team handing out the flyers, not for the benefit of the customers,” one dancer said.

The attitude of the new team handing out flyers was also criticised. A Blitz crew member said: "I was most disgusted and shocked on how this takeover has been done. I was there on Saturday when it all happened and felt that (Blitz Franchisees) Rob and Suzanne handled it with professionalism and grace. Which was most different from Claire and Rak attitude which was to me over the top and like "up yours".’

Cinnamon Club Director Neil Hughes explained the reasons behind its takeover of the club. In his eyes, Blitz had brought the problems on itself. It hadn't entered into a formal contract with the Cinnamon Club and, in his opinion, had not managed the venue well. This was evidenced by the numerous changes of franchisee managers in 2006 and customer complaints.

Mr Hughes said he was totally legitimate in protecting 'his' customers by taking the club over and putting his staff in to the run the nights. When asked about why he was putting in staff that Blitz had allegedly sacked for poor performance and customer complaints, he said that that was Blitz's opinion, not his.

Blitz declined to comment on this story.

 

On8 will be publishing an editorial about this incident and the current competitive state of the Modern Jive Buisness in the coming week

 

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Breaking News – Blitz kicked out of home club

May 1, 2006

In a shock move last Saturday (29/4), the Blitz organisation lost its prime venue, the Cinnamon Rooms in Bowden.  This club was the genesis for Modern Jive in the North West and has been in Blitz’s hand for around 10 years.  In an unprecedented move, the owners of the venue, The Cinnamon Club, cancelled the contract with no warning, bringing in a team of ex-Blitz crew to run the Jive nights for them. 

At the time of writing there is no confirmation of who will be the resident teachers nor what response Blitz will be taken.  The impact on dancers is unclear at the moment though eye-witnesses reported several Blitz crew members being visibly upset by the surprise change. 

On8 is currently contacting all parties to establish the facts before publishing a full report next Saturday, including a full account of the events on the night, which included two security guards being involved!


Response – Does the Ceroc Model Work?

May 1, 2006

This is a readers letter. This is not purported to be an ‘expert’ view on a topic, but rather an opportuntity for a reader to counter the view of one of our ‘Gurus’. Brave man! 🙂

Author: Gadget is a dancer at the Ceroc Scotland Clubs. Though not a ‘Guru’, he has been an outspoken contributor to the Ceroc Forum for several years. He has been taught at many classes and events provided by Ceroc from many different teachers over many years. He has not competed, has little interest in competing and is a product almost solely of the ‘Ceroc’ teaching model.

In Tribal’s previous article, he posed some questions and gave a quite good description of what goes on in a regular Ceroc night. But the conclusion that simply because there is little taught on a regular class night about connection, frame, musicality does not automatically mean that there is nothing to learn on a regular class night about these things.

Some people time turning up specifically to miss classes; solely because the dancing environment allows them to practice, dance and have fun. This is part of the Ceroc model. Some people turn up for the beginner’s class and leave as soon as it’s over. This is part of the Ceroc model. Some people turn up before the DJ and have to be kicked out. This is part of the Ceroc model.

The whole thing can be dipped into and pulled out of at any point in the night without disrupting the night it’s self. People can immerse themselves or simply dip a toe in. The model allows people choice and flexibility in how people learn, at what rate they learn, at what times they can attend, it is all things to all people.

One minority that Tribal highlights are not being catered for on a standard night are those that want to focus on specific techniques and style. But is this better learned while stuck in a mass of people watching the top half of a dot on stage, or be in a closer environment where the numbers are smaller and more focus can be given? Is there a better place to practice and advance your own technique than during a class where you already know what is being taught?

A harsh statement within Tribal’s article says “Whether you like it or not, if you are the person who doesn’t get-it you are the reason the class is going so slowly!” conveniently laying the blame for slow teaching at our feet rather than the teachers: If what is being said is above people’s heads, then is the fault with the person speaking, or the person listening?

What does “going slowly” actually mean? That the teacher has to explain some fundamentals of what they are teaching? If a class is advertised that the pupils must meet a certain criteria, then why should the teachers dip below that? If it is advertised that pupils must know X,Y and Z, then the fault would lie at the pupil’s feet. However, if some ambiguous terminology like “suitable for advanced intermediate dancers” is used, how are we meant to know what that means?

Tribal’s closing statement is “The Ceroc teaching model is a good one. It works well but it will only take the more serious dancer so far. After that dear reader you are on your own.” This is true up to a point. If you take “The Ceroc Teaching model” to mean from the time you step into the venue to the time you leave it. But what it fails to take into account are all the satellite things that go on outside of this (like workshops & events) and the general willingness/eagerness of students to help and learn from each other.

The Ceroc teaching model does not teach you how to dance Modern Jive; it can’t. No teaching model can. What it does is give you the building blocks and foundations, then shows you how you could put them together. It gives you guidelines not rules. After you learn these dear reader, you are on your own. You have to find the classes; you have to turn up; you have to learn.

While the Ceroc model may not teach every technical nuance of movement, timing and style from the stage on a class night, it does gives you every opportunity learn these through specialist workshops and individual coaching.

The whole crux of Tribal’s article seemed to stem from the fact that Ceroc is more of a social dance it rather than a formalised dance style. Which is true. But this fact has no relevance to the quality of teaching available, or the technical aspects that can be contained within it, or the musicality that can be expressed, or the connection, or anything else. The Ceroc Model of teaching allows me, the punter, to learn as much or as little as I want to (or am able to). It allows me to dance as much or as little as I want to. It allows me to socialise and enjoy myself. The model is as flexible and forgiving as the dance it teaches us.

Does it work? Yes. Is it the best way? Don’t know. I can find very little to improve upon, but it’s not a fixed model it evolves and changes. It may not be the best way yet. But it is trying to be. It will give you everything you want and nothing that you dont!