The Obelisk Centre
Dance Synergy were originally based at the recently built Caroline Chisholm School south of Northampton, just north of junction 15 on the M1. They ran a modest sized club night and some quite large weekend dances in very spacious halls. Some of these were highly innovative, including in the summer the use of outside areas on specially built dance floors.
Then suddenly, just days before one of these big events, everything stopped with the announcement there will be no more dancing at the school.
Silence ensued until suddenly Dance Synergy reappeared in the Obelisk Centre in Kingsthorpe – a northern suburb of Northampton.
No two venues could be more different. The Obelisk Centre is truly hard to find – one of a large number of turnings off the meandering Obelisk Rise – the best way to find the place is to download a very detailed local map. Sat Navs don’t help much as they just think your car is “off road”.
There is parking on site, and when I’ve been its been perfectly adequate. As for the venue, its more a small night club / party centre than dance venue, but this works perfectly with the numbers that the club gets – maybe around 50 or so dancers, many of whom really are good.
It also boasts “Fully working airconditioning” but on my second visit there was none of that. Indeed I couldn’t understand why I was getting hot after just four dances, until I found that there were heaters on. Something was done on my request, but a heater in the entry lobby (which is not separated from the rest of the arena) was gouging out hot air and set to 33 degrees. It was turned down and the very good air con switched on, but the heater stayed on all night. a
They boast a “A warm and friendly” team, and yes, when I made my request the air con was put on, but I’m not at ease environmentally with a heater and air con on at the same time.
But this is just a gripe – as a modern jive dance venue it is very unusual, and actually really good. The dancers there are enthusiasts or beginners – and for once the claim about being a friendly club is true. It is friendly, and it is good fun for a Wednesday evening.
One really nice touch is that they retain the notion of half an hour dancing between beginners and intermediate class, whereas some venues are now giving you just three songs to dance to. The break between classes makes much more sense for beginners, and is a nice introduction to the evening for those who turn up at the end of the beginners session.
- Air conditioning: 5 out of 5 – it works brilliantly, I just had to ask for it to be put on.
- Atmosphere: 5 out of 5. Not the atmosphere of the heaving big venue, but the atmosphere of people who are really happy to be there.
- Do ladies ask men: 4 out of 5. Yes they do. I still have to do most of the asking, but yes, the ladies do ask.
- Facilities: 4 out of 5 – the gents is in a slightly odd place, but that’s a detail. The bar is right by the dance floor, and there is a separate room for beginners refresher course.
- Free water: Yes.
- Friendliness: 5 out of 5. Everyone talks and there are no cliques
- Location: 1 out of 5. Deep in the heart of a modern housing estate, a long way off the road, and just one sign that is hard to read. Actually it is not the location itself that is wrong, it is the total lack of decent signposting to give reassurance.
- Music: 5 out of 5
- Parking: 5 out of 5. For the numbers the parking is fine.
- Space: 5 out of 5 – although if the numbers really did go up there would be a problem.
- Venue overall: 4 out of 5.