Here are some questions people ask. If you cannot find an answer you need use the contact form.
We welcome everyone keen on dancing to our practice nights, balls and competitions. We encourage people to consider becoming a member and reap the benefits of reduced prices, but we do not insist on membership.
Our Secretary Peter Jones is always happy to speak to you and send out membership forms to anyone interested. The annual fee is very modest and will be reduced if you are joining part way through the year before renewal is due.
Formal dress may be requested at our party nights, particularly the Christmas Ball and Summer Party. This will be made clear on the ticket. “Formal” may be taken to mean DJ/Tux and bow tie (or at the very least a suit and tie) for the men, and long skirt or dress or cocktail dress for the ladies (but always with the freedom to dance in mind). One of the pleasures of ballroom dancing is the excuse to dress up!
Where not specified, at other parties and tea dances, smart-casual is expected with due respect for your fellow dancers.
Practice nights are different. Competitive ballroom dancing is an athletic sport, and dancers practice in whatever they find comfortable (within the bounds of decency!).
Yes. There is no standard set or examination of any kind. We are keen to see everyone try to improve their dancing through practice. All we ask is that you respect the right of other people to share the floor and to progress around the room in a reasonably disciplined way.
No, we do not coach people or offer formal lessons at our practice nights. It is designed to do what it says on the label – it is a place for people to practice their steps and their skills independently of any teacher. We try to help each other with advice but we do not train people.
We are, by definition, strictly “amateur” – and by the rules of the British Dance Council therefore cannot engage in any activity which might be deemed the proper function of a professional.
We do not provide classes or tuition of any kind, as this would be outside the mandate of a purely “amateur” club. Medals are an excellent target to pursue with a suitable teacher, and you are welcome to come to our practice nights.
Practice Nights are specifically for the five traditional ballroom dances and five traditional Latin & American dances that are competed in ballroom & Latin competitions – ie Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep, Viennese Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Jive, & Paso Doble. Two or three tracks of music suitable for each dance are played in an order which alternates ballroom and Latin, at strict competition tempo, and at two interludes all five of the ballroom or Latin dances are played together as if in a round of competition (for the practice).
Our social events (tea dances and party nights) are rather more free and easy: expect a mix of the ballroom and Latin dances (except, maybe, Viennese and Paso), with a fair smattering of the better known and popular sequence dances.
The vast majority of our music is played from CD (or other digital storage).
Salsa is separate from the traditional ballroom and latin dances, and is not accommodated at our events. Please look for a specific Salsa class, lessons, or club.
Argentine Tango is separate from the traditional ballroom and latin dances, and is not accommodated at our events (although suitable music may be played occasionally at our social dances). Please look for a specific Argentine Tango class, lessons, or club.
We welcome all dancers, whether competition or social dancers, and we encourage all to join in the events. A number of Avon Dancers are, or have been, active competitors and use our facilities to improve their standard. On practice nights there is often a short competition-conditions practice period when each of the five ballroom dances are played for a minute or so each in a way that competitions arrange the order. Similarly, five Latin dances may be played for a brief period in the same way.
There are no examinations or tests of any kind at Avon Dancers. We leave individuals and couples to make their own decisions about the level at which they wish to dance.
Tea dances are held on Sunday afternoons once a month, and non-members are welcome at all our events.
The music is a pleasant mix of ballroom, latin, and popular sequence dances, and refreshments are available for purchase at the interval.
Sorry, but no. If you wish to come in the hope that you might meet somebody suitable, that’s your own business, but we should point out that the vast majority of people who come to our practices, tea dances, and parties etc, are already partnered up with no interest in dancing with somebody else.
Unlike salsa clubs, or line dancing (for example), keen ballroom dancers have an intense commitment to a permanent partner, with whom they have practised for hundreds of hours to develop a deep understanding of each other’s movement, and dancing with another individual is of little or no interest and unwelcome.
There are introduction web sites for unpartnered dancers looking to meet another dancer, of all abilities, so by all means link up with someone there and arrange to meet at one of our events, but we cannot be held responsible for the consequences (good or bad, but hopefully the former).
While our club nights and competitions are purely ballroom and Latin, we do play some sequence dances at our social functions (tea dances and parties). However, these are to provide a pleasant mix of dancing to suit all tastes, and are restricted to the well-known “standards”, with music played at a “fun” rather than “serious” tempo, and never to dominate the programme. There are hundreds (or even thousands) of sequence and Old Time dances, and new ones are being published all the time, so if sequence dancing is your particular thing you should look for a sequence dancing club.
The following is an approximate list of sequence and Old Time dances likely to be played at our social dances, although over time some may fall out of favour or others be brought in if they become popular enough. There is no guarantee that all of them will be played at any particular event, especially if time is short, but we are open to requests (especially if there are several couples present who know the dance).
Blue Angel Rumba
Queen of Hearts Rumba
Sally-Ann Cha Cha Cha
White City Waltz
Note that, unlike sequence clubs, the dances will not be lead. Everyone starts at the beginning of the music (or has to join in as they go), and if you are unsure of the steps just follow the couple in front.
Perhaps not to start with, but in the longer term that’s a definite “yes”!
For a dancer, the quality of contact with the dance floor is vital, just as vital as for a golfer, a runner, or a rugby player (and any number of other sports). A proper dancing shoe has a chamois (or similar) sole which provides just the right amount of slip and grip on a polished wooden floor. Try to twist over a foot shod in rubber, and you will damage your knees. Leather soles will slide out from under you, and you will end up in a heap.
Dancing shoes are also lighter and more flexible than normal footwear. They allow your foot to flex, allow you to feel where the floor is and not land with a thump, and are not so damaging to your partner if you tread on them or kick them! If you have never tried dancing in proper shoes, you will be amazed how much easier it becomes.
Having dancing shoes means you are not so tempted to wear your outdoor shoes straight onto the dance floor. Doing so brings dust, grit, and damp onto the floor – a considerable disservice to your fellow dancers. And it goes without saying you don’t wear your dancing shoes outdoors!
That is not to say you should buy dancing shoes before you know whether you enjoy dancing and intend to carry on with it, but bear in mind that when you do decide to invest it will make your dancing more enjoyable still, and in the mean time try to respect the other dancers and avoid trailing muck onto the floor.
Is it “sissy” to be seen in dancing shoes? ‘Course not. Women’s shoes are as pretty as any other, and men’s shoes can look as normal as you like. Is it sissy to be seen in running shoes when running? No. Would you be allowed on a golf course without the appropriate shoes? No. Are dancing shoes expensive? No more expensive than keeping a normal pair of shoes in reserve for dancing. Women, in particular, might like to look at the Topline range for economical social dancing shoes.
Sometimes a dance floor will be found to be too slippery. The better a dancer you become, the more slippery you will like it, but sometimes it is too much even then. Chamois soles can be roughed up with a very stiff wire brush (sold for the purpose) to increase the grip. If a floor is too grippy, an older pair of shoes with smoothed off soles can help. What we do not allow is the use of any substances to affect the floor – what might suit you won’t necessarily suit other dancers and could become a hazard.