University Sports And Social Club, Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX
The first thing to say is that this club is currently hard to find online – largely because the links with UK Jive don’t work, and typing Cambridge Ceroc into Google brings up The Cambridge Motel, Dunsbridge Turnpike, Shepreth SG8 6RA.
What is frustrating is that the links via UK Jive still don’t work, over a month after I pointed this out to Ceroc. I really don’t know how it can be that hard to get this sorted.
So, in case your are here because you have typed in into Google, “Ceroc Cambridge”, let me say that the club meets at 7.15pm on Mondays, but not bank holiday Mondays. It follows the normal Ceroc timetable, although at a slightly earlier time than most clubs, with the beginners’ class starting at 7.30, and the evening closing at 10.30pm.
And let me also say, this is just about the most buoyant, fun and enjoyable Ceroc club I have ever seen. The numbers are about as high as you would want in what is a modest sized room, and the commitment from the members is palpable. The teacher is the most energetic positive and driving personality I have ever seen on a dance club stage and he gets everyone involved.
Then when the freestyle periods come along there is none of that sitting on the sidelines having a natter stuff that some venues have – this is everyone joining in, and (certainly in my case) welcoming in an outsider. I didn’t have to go looking for dances – I was asked to dance all the way through the evening.
The vibrancy and energy of the evening can be gauged by the fact that if you compare this with other clubs where the numbers are getting a bit thin by the end of the evening, in this case everyone is still there by 10,30pm at the last dance. And as a celebration of the evening the dancers have evolved a game in which couples change partners throughout that last dance. It’s great fun – but be prepared for it.
In fact so enthusiastic is everyone that after that last dance everyone stands on the dance floor and applauds. Compared with many Ceroc venues where at the end of the evening people are slinking away or gathered in their little cliques, this is something very special and well worth a visit even if it means going way out of your way.
The only negative I have is the old issue of water. Ceroc Cambs proclaims that no bottles or drinks can be brought into their venues. That’s fair enough, but the law says free water must be provided where alcohol is sold.
Ah but we don’t charge for water, we charge for the plastic container, say the licencee that seek to get around this. Well, since plastic cups sold in supermarkets normally cost about 0.2p each charging 50p for the plastic container would make this illegal in that here is case law of theft by overcharging. Not that anyone is likely to bring a case, but 99% of venues don’t do this – it just happens in a handful of venues (Rugby, St Neots, and Leicester are three they have refused to back down although Rugby do provide a tap in a room that is very hard to find). Anyway, it’s just my personal hang up. No one else seems to care, not even the licensing authorities, and I suppose it gives me something to mumble about.
- Air conditioning: 5 out of 5. Seemed the right temperature.
- Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 – everyone I met was friendly and welcoming. I couldn’t have asked for more.
- Do ladies ask men: 5 out of 5. Every time I turned around I was asked, unless I started asking first.
- Facilities: 3 out of 5. It’s got a bar downstairs and a good dance floor. but it could be bigger – but of course there is a shortage of viable venues in Cambridge. Signage would help pointing to the bar. It need sprucing up, but the jive club can’t do anything about that. They are using the location they have and after the first dance you don’t notice it is a bit shabby.
- Free water: No – it is 50p for a plastic cup. Literally and metaphorically criminal.
- Friendliness: 5 out of 5 for the Ceroc crew, and everyone I met there.
- Location: 3 out of 5 – it is in Cambridge which means it is down a small road with no car park. Make sure you have a street map if you don’t know the area.
- Music: More than 5 out of 5. Don’t think I heard one standard Ceroc song – it was all hugely adventurous and great fun. How wonderful to dance to songs you don’t know.
- Parking: 0 out of 5. It’s not the club’s fault, as no matter where you put a club in Cambridge there is not going to be parking. I parked at the underground car park about five minutes walk away. Tons of space, perfectly secure. It costs £1.25 an hour at night – which if you are used to free parking is a lot. But I am sure if you don’t mind walking for ten minutes there will be places much closer.
- Space: 4 out of 5 – there’s a limit, but for the numbers when I was there, it is fine.
- Venue overall: 5 out of 5. It could do with a freshen up, and if numbers grow it is going to be very crowded, but it is all compensated by the energy and vibrancy of the instructor and anything less than five would be churlish. A real find.