Modern Jive. Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Lindy Hop, Waltz, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Ballroom, Tango, Argentine Tango, Quickstep, Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba........
It all started when I went to see a band playing in our local pub. I can remember them playing Johnny B Goode and as the song got going, two couples emerged from the rows of people watching the band and started to dance. How I wanted to join them - my feet were itching. It looked like Rock and Roll but different in some way and when I asked one of them after wards what dance they were doing, they said it was Ceroc or Modern jive.
I found out there was a class near the town where I live and decided to join. Luckily, I went with someone who had been dancing a while and, with his help, picked the dance up quickly (it is the best dance to start off with as you don't have to do any set footwork). This was in 1996 - little did I know that sixteen years later I would still be dancing - this and other dances.
What is great about Modern Jive classes is that you don't need a partner. Classes are organised so that men stand in one line and women stand in a line facing them. You dance with that partner and the teacher teaches you the first move. When the next move is taught, the women move on a set number of men so you have a new partner. It is a great way of getting to know people before the freestyle dance session at the end of the lesson.
The freestyle session at the end is arguably where, as a woman, you will learn the most. At this stage you can't be shy! It is perfectly acceptable for the women to ask the men to dance (if you don't, you may end up not dancing all evening) and the men will be very pleased if you ask them. If the man you dance with is a competent lead, you will be led easily into moves you haven't even been taught and of course each dancer has his own unique style. When I was first learning to dance, I made a point of asking the better dancers to dance so that I could learn faster.
Most importantly - don't give up! It may take a few weeks to feel you are getting the hang of the dance but once you do, you will have a hobby for life.
When you feel more confident, there are dance weekends that you can go to. These are great fun. My husband and I go to one on Hayling Island. There are dance workshops during the day and dances in the evening - you also get fed well.
Next weekend we are going to a jive dance near Battle and staying overnight in the hotel - what a treat!
The bad news - two rejections from Woman's Weekly (a magazine market I have yet to crack).