Ceroc is a partner dance best described as a fusion of Salsa and Jive, but without the complicated footwork. It is derived from many other dances including French Jive, Swing, Lindy Hop, and Rock and Roll, the main change being simplified footwork which makes it more accessible to beginners.
The footwork and hand patterns are similar to Merengue, but with the inclusion of outward turns, multiple turns and dips. It is danced to almost any music typically 60s through to modern popular music.
It is generally danced to music with 4 beats to the bar (quadruple or common time), from latest chart hits to big band music and everything between, in a wide variety of tempos from slow to very fast. Some styles may concentrate on particular musical styles, such as swing.
It does not require special clothes, though for both men and women, smooth soled (non-rubberised) shoes that are easy to turn/spin in are highly recommended.
Ceroc is, like many partner dances, traditionally a male-led dance. Despite this tradition many female dancers today also learn the lead role, even though few male dancers learn the follow role. This is usually because Ceroc events have more female participants than male ones, and many males are less comfortable engaging in a partner dance with a member of the same sex than females are.
It is sometimes suggested that Ceroc is suited to any type of music, but it best suits a tempo ranging from around 100 - 150 beats per minute. Outside the UK, Ceroc is less common, although it is very popular in Australia and New Zealand, and is slowly spreading to other areas of the world.
The name 'Ceroc' is said to derive from the French "C'est le roc" (it's roc), used to describe rock n' roll dancing in France.
History of Ceroc
Ceroc was created in London, England, by James Cronin, the son of writer Vincent Cronin, and grandson of Scottish author A. J. Cronin. In January 1980 he held the first ever Ceroc event in Porchester Hall in London. By 1982, Ceroc had a cabaret team that performed routines in London nightclubs and venues. Throughout the spring and summer of 1982, the Ceroc troupe worked with choreographer Michel Ange Lau, whose classes Cronin and Sylvia Coleman had attended at the Centre Charles Peguy, a French youth centre, in Leicester Square. The first recording of Ceroc moves appears on the description for the "Gold Bug" routine, performed at the 1982 Ceroc Ball, a charity event, at the Hammersmith Palais.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Cronin and Sylvia Coleman created Ceroc Enterprises, registered Ceroc as a trademark and started to sell Ceroc franchises around the country. In 1992, the Ceroc Teachers Association (CTA) was created, with associated examinations - all Ceroc teachers had to pass the relevant CTA examinations to be licenced to teach Ceroc. In 1994, Ceroc introduced taxi dancers to their venues to assist beginner dancers.
In the early 2000s, Cronin and Coleman sold Ceroc Enterprises to Mike Ellard, the current owner. By 2004, Ceroc Enterprises were running over 100 different venues, and claimed attendance figures of 500,000. In 2006, Ceroc started expanding into the "Weekender" market.
As of 2008, Ceroc Enterprises has franchises operating in Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, the UAE, Canada, the United States and Hong Kong. As of September 2008, there are over 30 Ceroc franchises running in the United Kingdom and 150 Ceroc venues there. There are also Ceroc organizations in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa and Dubai.
Apart from the franchises described above, there are Ceroc organisations in Australia and New Zealand. Ceroc Enterprises is a separate company to Ceroc Australia and Ceroc and Modern Jive Dance Company or CMJ (also based in Australia). These Australian companies are not franchisees of Ceroc Enterprises. Similarly, there is no legal connection between Ceroc Enterprises and Ceroc New Zealand.
Ceroc and Modern Jive
In 1990, Robert Austin, an original Ceroc franchisee who had broken away from Ceroc to form LeJive, coined the term "Modern Jive". This became an alternative generic term for the dance form, and was used by teachers and clubs that were not part of the newly created Ceroc Enterprise.
Most Ceroc venues run regular classes, every week, usually on Monday through Thursdays.
Ceroc class formats are quite different from most other dance forms, in that:
Students are typically taught in rows taught from a stage, rather than gathered around the teacher.
Class sizes are typically larger - often over 100 people per class in some UK venues.
Classes are highly-structured; a precise routine is taught to the men who have to lead the females
Beginner routines are centrally-controlled; each venue teaches the same beginner class on a given day.
Partners are rotated frequently - typically every couple of minutes - so allowing Ceroc to advertise classes as "no partner required".This helps in the learning process as when you attend a Ceroc lesson you will dance with experienced and beginners alike. Lessons are organised so that partners are rotated every few minutes, or every couple of moves.
A small number of volunteer experienced dancers (called taxi dancers or taxis) are often available specifically to dance with beginners.
Dancers pay for the evening, rather than paying per class.
In the UK, the franchise nature of Ceroc enforces a degree of uniformity across all teachers and all venues. Ceroc classes typically follow the same format, and comprise:
A Beginners lesson, involving a routine of 3 moves drawn from a restricted repertoire of 12 moves, and lasting approximately 45 minutes. The Beginners routine taught on any given day is the same across all teachers and all venues. This is intended to allow beginners to practice what they have learned with beginners from other venues.
A freestyle period of approximately 15 minutes, in which beginners are encouraged to practice what they have learned, and experienced dancers are free to dance whatever they wish. No moves are barred during a freestyle period, except aerials, and moves are improvised on the spot to the music. Partner swapping occurs whenever the music changes, and does not require leaving the dance floor.
An Intermediate lesson, involving a routine of 3 moves drawn from a much larger repertoire of Intermediate-level moves, and lasting approximately 45 minutes. At least one of the Intermediate moves will be a Classic move which is intended for new Intermediate dancers. Many of the harder Intermediate moves are based around these Classic moves. There are 24 Classic moves. Individual teachers are less constrained as to the content of the intermediate-level lesson. Intermediate moves are more complex and may contain footwork.
In many venues, depending on available space, a Beginners Practice Session takes place at the same time, where beginners may review the moves taught in the Beginners lesson with the help of the taxi dancers. Beginners may instead watch the Intermediate lesson, if they so choose. The usual recommendation is for Beginners to complete approximately six Beginners classes before attempting to move up to Intermediate level.
A second freestyle period lasting for the rest of the evening, which is around an hour and a half to two hours.
The start time varies from venue to venue, but is generally between 7pm and 8pm. Sunday classes often start earlier. Whatever the start time, the entire evening lasts three to four hours in most venues (with rare exceptions).
A Beginner Progression class (also known variously as Bridging, Beginner Consolidation, Intromediate or Freestyle class) taught at the same time as the Intermediate or Intermediate/Advanced class has also been introduced in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide, involving a breakdown of technique and either a review of the preceding Beginner class (possibly with some extensions or variations to the moves from that class) or a new routine drawn from a mixture of intermediate and beginner level moves. This class is taught at the same time as the Intermediate class.
Individual teachers are less constrained as to the content of the Intermediate classes, however there is generally a stronger focus on technique (footwork, frame & connection, balance etc.), intermediate skills (dips & drops, leans, spinning etc.) and styling rather than just teaching moves.
Most Australian schools teach "Step" footwork.
New Zealand Format
In New Zealand there are typically Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced classes, with the clearer separation of moves between the classes. Moving up the classes leads to moves which are more complicated, more syncopated and physically closer. Beginners moves have 2-4 timing, preserve contact between partners at all times, have single speed, single turn spins, the dancers keep their balance (no leans, drops or dips) and partners only contact with each other is hands, arms and shoulders. Intermediate moves introduce single speed double spins and assisted double speed turns, contact with the partners back, and leans (in which one partner takes the others' weight with their body). Advanced moves can include multiple speed, multiple turn spins, loss of contact, significant syncopation, dips and drops (in which one partner takes the weight of the other with their arms) and/or contact with different body parts.
Most Ceroc venues occasionally put on special events, termed freestyles, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. (Sunday freestyles are often termed tea dances.) The format of these is less rigidly determined by the franchise agreement, and franchises often exercise the greater leeway that they thus have to differentiate their own franchises from others. Some franchises organise their freestyles exactly as they do normal weekday classes, with Beginners and Intermediate lessons; some have just fun lessons, with "guest" teachers or unconventional moves, near to the beginning of the evening; some simply have freestyle dancing, with no interruptions, for the entire evening; and some organise themed events, sometimes even to the extent of having accompanying dance workshops through the daytime, prior to the main evening event.
Many Ceroc teachers also occasionally run daytime dance workshops at weekends, which in the UK are known as Cerocshops. A workshop lasts for four hours, and covers more moves than are covered in a single regular evening class. The standard Ceroc workshops are graded (Beginners 1, Beginners 2, Beginners Plus, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, and Intermediate Plus). Specialised workshops may also be available which cover more advanced techniques and styles such as Dips & Drops, Baby Aerials, Double Trouble (one lead, two follows), Switch it Up (swapping partners), Ceroc to Blues, Footwork, Frame, Spins & Turn technique, Musicality, Connection & Posture. The frequency and content of these workshops depends on the resident teacher or guest teachers who may teach various workshops over the course of a weekend often with a freestyle party in the evening such as Ceroc Aberdeen's Beach Ballroom Weekend or Ceroc Conexion's Extreme Mini Weekender.
Ceroc Enterprises holds an annual UK Ceroc dance championship. This is held in London at the beginning of May with a mix of freestyle dancing and competitions. Competitions range from beginner oriented ones, such as the Lucky Dip (a Jack and Jill competition) and the Intermediate's Freestyle, all the way up to the Aerials, Showcase, and Team competitions.
There are other championship held on a regional or franchise basis, for example the Australasian, Midlands, Ceroc Scotland and Welsh champs.
In 2005, Ceroc Enterprises completed the purchase of Rebel Roc, along with its annual dance weekender event at Pontins, Camber Sands. The first such event under the ownership of Ceroc Enterprises was Ceroc "Storm" at Camber Sands in March 2006. Ceroc Enterprises has been expanding its weekender offerings, and has taken over weekender venues from JiveTime (Camber Sands) at the end of 2007, and Jive Addiction (Southport) in August 2008.
"James Cronin - Dance Coaching"
"How to jive - spotlight on Ceroc"
IPO trademark details for "Ceroc"
Ceroclondon.com - History of Ceroc
Ceroc franchises in the UK
Ceroc Franchising information
Clare Bowman (December 2003). "Ceroc -- a new dance craze to get you jiving". BBC News (BBC).[dead link]
Christopher H.D. Davis (August 2002). "A little bit of everything". Dance Today! (Dancing Times Limited).[dead link]
Folu Merriman-Johnson (April 2005). "Ceroc". Dance Today! (Dancing Times Limited).[dead link]
Clare Spurrell (2005-06-15). "Ceroc dancing: the place to find a date?". iVillage (iVillage Limited).[dead link]
"What to expect of a Ceroc Night". Ceroc Enterprises. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
"Ceroc Beginners Moves". Ceroc. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
"Cerocshops". Ceroc Enterprises. Archived from the original on June 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
"Ceroc Aberdeen". Ceroc Scotland. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
"Ceroc Conexion". Ceroc Conexion. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
"Ceroc Championships". Ceroc Enterprises. Retrieved 2008-08-08.