When I was a little kidlington, I wanted to be a tap dancer like Fred Astaire, and was very disappointed to find that the tap lessons I took started with the basic basics, rather than cutting straight to the spectacular fast tapping routine. My dance school kept trying to get me interested in doing other dances, and even managed at one point to get me to take a folk dancing exam, but my heart was never in it. Several years ago, I took up partner dancing, in the form of modern jive, as taught by the Ceroc® Megacorporation. How I wish I learned to partner dance ten years before I did. I'd have wowed the chicks at university. Anyway, since starting with jive, I've tried many other styles, including salsa, merengue, tango, shag, and my great love: Lindy hop.
Ceroc® is a trade name, of a school with many branches, which teaches modern jive. There are many other schools of modern jive, many of which do the same as the Ceroc® schools, that is, they pretend that what they teach is entirely unique to themselves. In truth, modern jive is modern jive, and the difference between the schools lies not really in what they teach, but in how well they teach it, and how good the atmosphere is at the dances they hold.
The first lesson I went to of Ceroc®, I remember very well. There was a basic lesson of four linked moves to start with. When I first saw the routine, I thought that it would be a great challenge. Actually, it was quite manageable, and I gave the intermediate lesson later in the evening a go too, and I found that I could muddle through. After my first lesson, there was a time for "freestyle" dancing, that is, they put on music, and people then dance with each other to it, not to a routine, but to what they make up on the spot. When jiving, the man leads a move from his vocabulary of learned or invented moves, and the lady follows, while the man tries to work out what he's going to lead next. Neither task is much easier than the other, but for a beginner, it is generally easier to be the woman, since you need only learn the knack of following, and don't have to learn all the moves. A dance to a musical number consists of a series of moves, most of which will be familiar to both partners, but linked together in whatever way the man decides. I was flattered that a lady asked me to dance. "Okay," I said, "but be aware that I know four moves." As it turned out, I managed to make my four moves, linked in varying orders, last the whole number. It wouldn't have been the lady's best ever dance, but it gave me confidence. For the weeks that followed, my every Ceroc® evening was a highlight.