PC 192 Why You Should Try Something Different – Ceroc?

In the coming months I suspect we are all going to have to be more open to different ideas, be more creative to achieve what we want to do, more accepting of restrictions and understand their necessity. When the future is uncertain and confused, it is natural to be cautious but it’s important not to let caution become a suffocating habit. Let me illustrate this from my own experience.

It was a busy late afternoon in early October, you know, when one begins to sense the evenings drawing in and feel the hint of autumn in the air; must have been about 1993. The Morgan & Banks office was in Brettenham House, opposite Somerset House on the north side of Waterloo Bridge in London. My desk telephone rang. (Note 1) It was Sophie, a bubbly friend who had established herself as the Office’s caterer for Boardroom lunches. Those of you who regularly read my PCs may remember a visit Celina and I made last year to The Anchor in Walberswick, run by Sophie (PC 153  Courgette Neutral June 2019).

“Why don’t you come Cerocing?” she screamed – she always screams, does Sophie.

“What the hell’s that?” I asked defensively, my alarm bells ringing, immediately thinking of reasons why I couldn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t!

“French Rock & Roll (See Note 2) – it’s great fun and I’m getting a party together – Thursday in Fulham; see you there about 7.30.” ……. And with that she ended the call ….. probably without hearing my “Not sure it’s my thing but thanks anyway.” Much relieved, I put the phone down and got back to work, resigning myself to the fact that Sophie rarely took “no” for an answer. Sure enough, two days later, another call to seek my participation!

“Come on! It’ll be fun.”

“But I’ve never done it/I can’t do it!”

“Doesn’t matter; everyone’s got to start at some time.”

“Thanks but no thanks!”

PC 192 Ceroc 1

All shapes and sizes have fun

Then on the Thursday morning a final “COME ON” – I had nothing on that evening but still my inclination was to say “no”. Yet the request and my response to it had me niggled; why had I been so dismissive, why did the negative response come first, particularly as I really had no idea what Cerocing was. Oh! Of course I could imagine …., I could visualise the evening … a disaster …. uncomfortable …everyone pointing to the chap who couldn’t do it.

Eventually, on my way home from the office on the Northern Tube Line, I began to take a more rational approach to my thoughts. OK, so I didn’t know what Cerocing was, so why shouldn’t I find out? I had never danced Rock & Roll effectively in the ‘60s, never did master Chubby Checker’s The Twist, but that should be no barrier to trying it now. “Oh! I see, you think everyone else will be able to do it quite well, and you won’t and you’ll feel stupid, inept, embarrassed by being completely uncoordinated. And anyway, what sort of people go Cerocing anyway, would I have anything in common with them?” the thoughts rumbled. Rational brain said I had no answers to these questions as I had never experienced it … so why didn’t I try it? Whoa! Get out of my comfort zone and try something different? No way! But why NOT?

My mind in turmoil, I eventually decided to call Sophie and tell I was coming. She was predictably delighted and I took down the directions to the ‘Dance Hall’, trying all the time to push the seeds of doubt further and further away.

I arrived in Fulham Broadway and found the alleyway – as I passed the flashing arrow pointing to the venue I almost, almost turned back! Then the sign-in, the table lit by red lights and the sound of music beginning to lift my spirits – “in for a penny, in for a pound” I thought. I made my way into the hall, looking for Sophie, but am met by an amazing sight: on the stage a couple with throat mics are explaining the next step whilst on the main floor six lines of dancers, alternating between all male and all female, filled the space, practising as instructed. At the end of the sequence, newcomers were asked to join a line.

Suddenly I find myself in front of a girl I’ve never met – “I’ve never done this before” I mumble by way of excuse. “Don’t worry, not many people have, let’s just enjoy it.” And so we did! Every so often the lines moved so that you danced with someone different and gradually, so so gradually, it all began to make sense. And the evening is now a lovely memory of music and dancing and fun – but more that that.

PC 192 Ceroc 2

Maybe this Ceroc move requires some practice?

It’s an important reflection of why you shouldn’t let your perceptions put you off from trying something new.

Richard 20th August 2020

Note 1 An office was somewhere you went to work BC, to engage with your work colleagues, to exchange gossip over the water cooler. We each had our own desk and could book a small meeting room where, in my case, I could meet clients. My ‘desk telephone’ was a landline with push-button controls; ‘the mobile’ was a bit of a misnomer as they were the size of a house brick and you needed to work-out in the gym to lift them. One person in the office had a ‘dial-up’ internet connection; that dialing sound remains with me as an example of technological change!

Note 2 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. Ceroc is an international dance club which has with over 200 venues across the UK as well as national and regional competitions and weekend events throughout the year. It also has franchises in many other countries in Europe, Asia and in The Antipodes.

 

 

2 thoughts on “PC 192 Why You Should Try Something Different – Ceroc?

  1. Hi Richard,
    I hope you and Celina are well.
    I learnt Ceroc we called it Le Roc, [probably because it didn’t come under the Ceroc franchise] in 1996 in Brighton. It was a very large hall with the stage at the end, where the teacher gave instructions and a couple demonstrated on the stage. There were always more girls than boys, so the long line of girls extended out into the foyer, until, as the girls moved one boy forward, they eventually met a boy. This was the start of my dancing ‘career. ‘ I then went onto Salsa, and after impressing Jackie with my moves, [the rest is history] we took up Ballroom Dancing. Now we have a full range of dances from Ceroc or Le Roc, to the Tango and Waltz to
    Paso Doble.
    Hope the Bikram is going well, I’m thinking of starting back at CJ’s. No changing rooms though! I think she is the only teacher!
    Best wishes to both of you.
    Derek.

    Like

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