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!