Cambridge Dancers' Club


Starting late or changing lanes?

We're now in week 3 of term and it's getting hard to join existing classes as a new beginner if you didn't attend at least one of the week 1 or 2 classes in that style. Please don't leave it any later than this for most of our dance styles; eg the salsa classes (with bachata and rueda) or Russell's and Clive's ongoing ballroom and latin classes.

However, we are opening a late-starting *new* beginners ballroom and latin class at 7:30pm on Wednesdays in St.Columba's hall for anyone who missed the start of term altogether. If you find the steps easy, you may be able to fast-track into the ongoing class at 8:30pm. Existing 8:30pm class attendees will continue to progress onto harder figures and new dances.

Tuesday's social rock'n'roll class is always open to new beginners, because of the more modular nature of the figures in that dance style. Guido and Cristina will go over the basic footwork again as a warm-up for anyone new.

It's also still possible for existing class attendees to switch between DanceSport and the various social ballroom and latin classes, eg if you haven't tried the other style yet and you're not quite sure which you prefer or if you simply want to see what a different teacher is like. But you will have to make the effort to catch up with the specific choreography of the class.

For anyone planning a more radical change, such as joining salsa late or leaping ahead to improvers level in a dance style, because of having some prior dancing experience in a related dance style and/or a deadline to meet (such as a ball or a job!); try to come to Friday's General Dancing session extra early (from 7:30pm or so) or arrange to meet a club committee member before the class itself to get a quick primer on what you need to know using whatever spare space we can find at the venue!

Remember that you can also practise away from classes using suitable music. If you want to watch dance videos, be very careful that you choose the correct style (since US dance steps are often not the same as UK and international ones).

The Gender Gap

Many of our classes are surprisingly well balanced for the number of leaders and followers, even though most attendees (particularly at the beginners and improvers level) have come as individuals rather than as pre-matched couples. However, much as the week 1 Thursday cross-body salsa ladies were slightly bereft of suitable men, the new men who joined us in week 2 were then left wondering where all the ladies had gone! So it would be better for everyone if both sides could manage to come to class at the same time this week instead of continuing to alternate throughout the term!

NB while leaders in partner-dancing styles are conventionally men and followers are conventionally women, there is no obligation to stick to these roles in our classes. Although there is still a distinct advantage in having the leader be taller than the follower.


Our Michaelmas Term of classes began on Monday 10th October with another wide range of options available on the regular timetable (but do remember to check each week for exceptions to this). If you still can't see the new timetable then your computer may have cached the old page and you'll need to clear this cache before it will load the current version for you.

Cambridge Dancers' Club classes cover a wide range of social dance styles and the competitive styling versions of some of them (with technique tips that are useful even for non-competitors!). Our non-member class fee is £8 but, if you do decide to join us, CDC membership for the 2016-7 academic year costs £20 for adults or £18 for students (or anyone on benefits). Your membership card then includes 7 different free class slots on it to try out each of our various dance styles once; and also means you only pay our cheaper member class fee (typically £4 per class) after that.

Our beginners classes really are for complete beginners. You don't need any dance experience, special kit or even a partner to start learning with us. Those who were beginners in a previous term should be improvers the next term, unless they missed a lot of classes or struggled with the dance style and would prefer to repeat beginners. We have more options for ballroom and latin than other styles, with the full progression being: Beginners → (New) Improvers → (Easy) Intermediates → Advanced.

Improvers do often prefer to remain at that level for more than one term but we sometimes have an Easy Intermediates level too for those who feel ready to tackle some slightly harder dances and dance figures. Anyone who has been dancing for much more than a year should try an Intermediates class. At that level you should also be considering joining the dancesport practices - especially if you do happen to have a compatible partner from classes with whom you can practise your routines.

Michaelmas 2016 Term Outline

Week 3 (Monday Oct.24 to Friday Oct.28):
Sun. Oct.23 = the DS Workshop will be taught by David Mallabone (head coach and latin specialist)
Wed. Oct.26 = cuban salsa will be moving to the Gibson hall - ie still in St.Columba's
Wed. Oct.26 = *new* ballroom and latin beginners class at 7:30pm in St.Columba's
Wed. Oct.26 = continuation of existing ballroom and latin class at 8:30pm in St.Columba's
Fri. Oct.28 = high danger of halloween theme and dance music at General Dancing

Week 4 (Monday Oct.31 to Friday Nov.04):
Sun. Oct.30 = details of the DS Workshop have yet to be announced
Tue. Nov.01 = DS-Ballroom practice in Hills Rd 6th, no RnR classes

Week 5 (Monday Nov.07 to Friday Nov.11):
Wed. Nov.09 = *new* DS beginners practice at 8:30pm in Parkside school gym
Sat. Nov.12 = OTNT DS Competition at University Sports Centre

Week 6 (Monday Nov.14 to Friday Nov.18): no known timetable changes.

Week 7 (Monday Nov.21 to Friday Nov.25):
Fri. Nov.25 = no GD in the grad.pad MDH due to a rival event - but there's a ball out at Ely Maltings
Sat. Nov.26 = Nottingham DanceSport Competition

Week 8 (Monday Nov.28 to Friday Dec.02): last week of normal classes.
Fri. Dec.02 = Cuppers Competition

General Dancing

Our General Dancing sessions on Friday evenings, from 8:30pm to 10:30pm in the Main Dining Hall of the University Centre (grad.pad), are intended to be for everyone to practise together in a friendly social environment. It's completely free to attend GD, whether you want to dance or merely to watch. You don't need a fixed practice partner and you don't need CDC membership either. Eg some ex-members return from time to time and people also bring visitors and family along - including their children!

Sometimes there's a special seasonal theme to the music with matching decorations etc and the option of wearing appropriate fancy-dress costume for a more party-like atmosphere.

There's usually no official tuition at these social events but there are typically several experienced dancers around who are willing to show beginners (or improvers) a few steps - though obviously you'll gain more benefit by attending proper classes too! You can try dancing with different people during the evening or stick with your one special partner as you wish. So do come along and introduce yourself to the regulars.

During term-time, the first half hour will concentrate on beginners dances (pairs of waltz, quickstep, cha-cha and jive tracks with some rumba and social foxtrot) to allow new students to start to integrate fully in the social side of the club and/or practise their routines outside the class situation. But GD also continues outside academic term times into the holidays - apart from national holidays (when the building itself is closed).

Dance Practice Sessions

These practices are for people who already know what they want to practise as there is no formal dance tuition provided. You do not have to be on the team or even a CDC member to attend these sessions but you do have to agree to be bound by the club's health and safety rules (see the committee member in charge of the session).

The subscription price for the remainder of the summer is £10. Or you may pay a singleton £5 price per practice if you prefer (eg if you have dancing friends just visiting Cambridge once). The early-bird subscription price for the Michaelmas term will be £20 (with late or singleton instalment payments capped at £25).

Music will be played as appropriate during the sessions - typically favouring latin american in the smaller venues and modern ballroom in the larger ones. That doesn't mean you can't practise different dances at a particular session. You just need to be considerate of other users of the space. Any RnR (or salsa!) people attending a public practice may prefer to bring their own tracks and co-ordinate with Filip, Sofiya, Nina or Reggie for these to be played when they want a complete run-through of a dance.

Private Lessons

The CDC as a whole does not arrange private lessons for people. Those teachers who are willing to have their details made public are included on our links page. However, if you are already on the DanceSport teams or are hoping to be selected, you may be able to arrange for a private lesson with one of the team coaches. Contact the CUDT Secretary to book a specific time slot. Non-team people should contact the new CDC competitive group.

CDC Committee

If you regularly attend more than one class per week and are committed to dancing, you might want to consider joining the CDC committee. Email the club or ask any door-duty person what this involves. We really do need your help to run the club and there are a few perks, such as cheaper classes, too. This is particularly relevant to people who attend more than one class per week (from the financial point of view alone!) and for those who want to improve their dancing, learn more things and progress more quickly (as you'll be exposed to more styles, more figures/steps and both roles).

Competitive DanceSport Ballroom & Latin

If you're a student in the Cambridge area who might be eligible to compete for Cambridge, or if you'd simply like to try the competitive side of dancing for fun, then come along to our DanceSport classes. If you were a beginner in the past competition year (ending with IVDC), then you should attend the intermediates class this term and/or continue with team sessions and private lessons.

Students who have not had lessons in ballroom and latin before can join the Cambridge University Beginners' DanceSport Team where there's no fixed limit on places and you'll only be competing against other beginners. Note that, for dancesport purposes, Anglia Ruskin students count as Cambridge students. If you're interested in competing but have other questions about eligibility etc then contact the CUDT Beginners' Captain at

If you're a student but not a beginner then you can trial for the Cambridge University DanceSport Team - by far the most successful university team in the country last year! The main auditions are at the start of the Michaelmas term for places on several teams. For more information, please contact the CUDT Captain(s) at

The CDC also has members competing very successfully on the open circuit (in which non-students may compete). To learn about competitive opportunities for non-students, including out-of-term practice spaces or to seek a partner, please join the "CDC Competes on the Open Circuit" Facebook group. For more information contact our club Secretary at

Competitive Rock'n'Roll

Another dance style featured in the inter-varsity competitions is rock and roll. This has evolved from its authentic social dancing roots to encompass continental-style high kicks as well as showy acrobatics. If this sounds and looks like your sort of thing then anyone is welcome to join and train with the Cambridge University Rock'n'Roll Team. For more information contact the CURnR Captains, Asia and Geoff, at

This year they will have their own DanceSport RnR class and public practice on Wednesday evenings; but it's possible to try that as well as our social RnR classes (still on Tuesday evenings) if you want to keep your options open and learn a wider range of styles and figures.

Mailing Lists

If you don't want to join the CDC at the moment but do want to receive emailed announcements of our events during the year, you can subscribe yourself to our mailing list for interested non-members (by clicking on that link). You will then have to reply to the confirmation email you receive.

If you want to unsubscribe from our lists you *must* use the exact form of your email address which you originally used to subscribe to them, not some forwarded or modified version (eg gmail is not the same as googlemail and academic sub-department addresses are not the same as generic ones). Our system can only recognise automatically the information you gave it. If you no longer have access to your originally specified email address then you'll need to request a manual removal.


See our links page for other dance groups (with their own classes and events), private teachers and suppliers of dance equipment etc.

Non-CDC activities in the immediate space-time vicinity include:

  • Ceroc is on Monday evenings at the University Sports & Social Club on Mill Lane.
  • The LindyHoppers have classes and social events on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
  • CamTango run Argentine Tango classes and socials (though not currently their former Wednesday class in St.C's Gibson Hall).
  • Cambridge Cuban Salsa is operating the Thursday Salsa Social Club and the Sunday Salsa Lounge.
  • Wolfson college has cross-body salsa on Thursdays and Argentine Tango on Saturdays (7pm to 11pm).
  • There is more cross-body salsa on Mondays at St.Paul's, Wednesdays & Fridays at the USC and Thursdays at OLEM Parish Centre.
  • There is English, Scottish, Irish and American folk/country dancing in town plus morris and molly dancing.
  • The next Tea Dance at the Guildhall will be on Wednesday 9th November from 1pm to 4pm. This features a mixture of standard ballroom and latin dances and sequence dancing.
  • Tea Dances of a similar nature occur regularly in many villages around Cambridge (eg out at Prickwillow).
  • More local dance events can be found via meetup.

If you are intending to take your dancing more seriously at any point, then you may need to be fitted for specialist shoes. The best options are usually men's ballroom or ladies' latin shoes for DanceSport B+L (although you'll need heel protectors too for stiletto heels!) and jazz-ballet shoes for coping with *any* dance style, especially salsa or RnR (although light trainers / sneakers are the preferred choice of some salsa and RnR dancers).

Our local supplier, Attitude Dancewear, has recently moved a little further out from the centre of Cambridge to Level 1, 182 Histon Road CB4 3JP (ie towards Arbury, near the Aldi shop). The advantages are better parking and more space to keep more stock in store. They offer a 10% discount to anyone presenting their CDC membership card.

Parkinson's UK have launched a When I Dance competition to raise awareness of Parkinson's Disease. Entry is by video (from 1 to 3 minutes long) submitted between 9 and 30 November 2016.

Follow Us

CDC : CDC on Twitter CDC on FaceBook
CUDT : CUDT on Twitter CUDT on FaceBook CUDT on Instagram
CURnR : CURnR on FaceBook (private group)