Our First Birthday

27 Sep 2017 - by Graham

On Monday the 19th September 2016, Jivebeat was born. At around 8pm I switched on my microphone, took a deep breath, and stepped up in front of a room full of people to give my first ever dance class. To say that I was nervous would be a huge understatement, but it wasn't the speaking to a group that scared me or even the teaching aspect as I had done both of those things many times before. No, the thing that I was most worried about would be how people would react to me as a dance teacher. Most people knew me as the taxi-dancer (beginners' coach) at the Ceroc venues in Bromley and Chislehurst, and if they didn't know me from there they probably remembered me as the slightly nervous new arrival at Ceroc Hayes after I relocated from Hampshire back into Kent a couple of years earlier. What would they make of me standing up in front of them and suddenly being their teacher?

I need not have worried because despite all of the things that could have gone wrong, it worked! Everyone loved the class. We had a great time, and our second launch night (Thursday that same week at Hurst Green) was even more successful. Jivebeat was clearly here to stay.

Fast forward a few months and in response to the things we were being asked about by our members we began to make some changes. We stopped teaching a beginners' LeRoc class followed by an intermediate / advanced one. We added in workshops and tried out a "beginners' course" format to the evenings. We added in more freestyle time to some evenings, and mixed up the music a little. And then a few months later still we changed the format again and accidentally introduced Argentine Tango to the classes which was an unexpectedly popular move, and that's where we are at the moment.

Teaching at Jivebeat has been a learning experience for me and for the rest of the crew, but we have loved every minute of it. We have made new friends, met amazing people, and been inspired every week by the love we get back from everyone we teach. There is nothing else like it, and just being a part of it - let alone having been the one to put it all together - is an amazing privilege. We get so much encouragement from our regulars, and this week we were even given a birthday card to celebrate Jivebeat turning one. That was amazing, and really brought a lump to my throat. You people are very special...

We have probably made a few mistakes along the way during this first year. I wonder at times if had we done things a bit differently whether some of the people who decided that dancing was probably not for them would still be coming along. I wonder if a different format to the classes would have meant that Jivebeat would be bigger than it is now. But none of that really matters, as Jivebeat is exactly what I hoped it would be and far more than I thought we could achieve. We are unique (as far as I know) with our mix of LeRoc and Tango, and we have the best atmosphere and friendliness of anywhere I've ever danced. What more could anyone ask for?

So happy birthday, Jivebeat!!! Here's wishing you many more of the same!

Posted by: Graham   Permalink: link   Keywords: Argentine Tango  LeRoc  Birthday  

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