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  • Writer's pictureDawn Matthews

Reviewing a Ceroc weekender: Ceroc Bliss at Camber, November 2022

Updated: Apr 17

Reviewing a Ceroc weekender - blog banner. Image shows the survivor's photo at Ceroc Bliss, November 2022

Dance weekenders are something that I’d not considered attending before, even though I’ve been dancing for over 15 years. That’s partly because I’ve never had anyone who wanted to go with me before, and I wasn’t brave enough to go by myself – something that is definitely changing within me now! I didn’t want to be sat waiting for dances in case nobody wanted to dance with me, and I hadn’t worked enough on asking people myself – even after all the years I have been dancing!

So, when I talked with my favourite dance partner Rob about how much fun it would be to go to a dance weekender earlier in the year, when tickets went on sale for Ceroc Bliss at Camber in November 2022, we decided to go for it. The countdown commenced, and as it got closer to the date, we started to ask around for advice about what to expect, what to take with us, and more.

Advice we got beforehand was mixed. We heard how much fun they were, and how we’d definitely love it. We also heard how sketchy the accommodation was, and some of the things we would need to take with us, like bedding, what sort of clothes to take, and so on. With all this in mind, I thought I’d do a roundup of our first dance weekender experience.

What is the Accommodation Like at a Ceroc Weekender?

Ceroc work with Pontins to host weekend events at the Camber and Southport holiday parks several times a year. We had been told by a number of fellow dancers not to expect an awful lot from the accommodation at Camber – and when we got to our chalet, we could see why immediately. Mismatched curtains, a wonky toilet seat, and cheap, poorly fitted furniture all featured in our chalet – and that was at first glance!

The cleanliness of the chalet was dreadful – the floor clearly hadn’t been cleaned, and we attacked the kitchen with antibacterial products, as well as boiling the kettle a couple of times before using it.

We were lucky that the weather was relatively mild, but very rainy. I say lucky, because the curtains would be flapping around even when the windows and doors were shut, and we had an unexpected breeze that blasted through the cutlery drawer when we opened it! If the weather had been cold, it would probably have been far less fun.

Luckily, not all Ceroc weekenders are held at Pontins – there are other weekenders, as well as holidays that are hosted at different locations such as Spain, the Alps, and a number of cruises. However, the weekenders held at Pontins are some of the most affordable on the calendar, with prices starting at under £150 for the whole weekend – that’s 3 nights of dancing, plenty of lessons, and your accommodation.

What Lessons Did We Attend?

Once we’d unpacked the car and got the chalet set up, we sat down on Friday night with a glass of wine and the weekender book, which had already been sent out via email a few weeks prior. We had loads of time, since we’d been keen to get there and get the fun started as soon as possible, so we talked through and decided which classes we wanted to attend.

Unfortunately, there were a few clashes for classes that we wanted to go to, and so we had to weigh up the pros and cons of each. While it was sad not to be able to attend some, you can purchase all the lessons from the Ceroc Hub – so as long as you’ve a bit of space, and a partner when you get home, you can follow along with the ones you missed. I definitely thought this was worth doing, and would do so again, even for the extra £20 it costs (if you’re buying during the weekend or the day you get back).

Also, if you’re only vaguely interested in a particular lesson, and decide not to go for it because you’re resting your feet or taking a tactical nap (more on those later!) then you can watch the lesson on the Pontins TV channel.

We attended the ice breaker class on the Friday night, which was a bit daunting – there were far more dancers than any class we’d ever been to! But that was good, as it meant we could spot people we knew. I wasn’t keen on the style of the teachers for that class, they were a bit too Pontins Bluecoat in their teaching – although I do wonder if some of that wasn’t nerves.

After that, at around midnight on the Friday, we attended a Tango Taster class, we definitely felt was more suited to dancers that already had a grounding in the tango. Unfortunately, the room was too small for the number of dancers that wanted to do the class, which definitely wasn’t helped by there being a hole in the middle of the ceiling that was leaking – and the bucket on the floor! Again, that isn’t something under the control of Ceroc – but nobody from Pontins seemed to be concerned, despite the health and safety implications of that.

The Saturday and Sunday mornings were pretty full-on for us – we attended more than 3 hours of classes each morning, after being up until… well, who knows what o’clock at the freestyles!

Saturday morning, we attended both SILC sessions, which we’d not done before. These were great introduction sessions, and we enjoyed them. Then, having attended a handful of ballroom classes, we attended the introduction to the waltz session. Footwork was taught in lines; a lot like at the other ballroom classes. I find this pretty tricky, and so Rob and I stepped off to the smaller dancefloor to work on the steps together – which was much more successful. After that, it was back to the chalet for some food and a tactical nap.

Sunday morning was my favourite. We started out with the Rumba Rhythm class, taught by Karen, who is a ballroom teacher married to a Ceroc dancer – they’ve fused the two styles together really nicely, and taught it clearly. After that, we did Dale’s Classic Line Dances class, which was absolutely loads of fun, even if I definitely wasn’t the best at it! A bit more practice from the Hub and I’m sure I’ll get them! After that, we were undecided. We went to see about doing the pub quiz, but the bar was full with standing room only, so we went to do the scrolls class – but that was in the room with a leaky ceiling, and so we ended up stumbling into the rock n’ roll class, which turned out to be absolutely brilliant, and I’d 100% do again.

Outside of these, we watched some on the Pontins TV channel, but those were the main lessons we did, and honestly – that was probably enough. We were super tired, and so we ended up doing the tactical naps, which I am assured by other dancers is an essential part of the dance weekender.

How Do You Survive on so Little Sleep?

There’s plenty of other names for the tactical nap. The disco nap, the Nanna nap, the little snooze – but if you’re up late at the freestyles (the dancefloors are open until the small hours) and you’re planning to stay up for the Survivor’s photos on Sunday, they’re going to have to be part of your strategy for a weekender. Luckily, Ceroc have budgeted the time for this, and there’s a couple of hours between afternoon classes ending and the floors opening in the evening. Obviously, you don’t have to get to the floors as soon as they open either – there are so many hours of dancing available in the evenings! There are plenty of chalet parties that are on the go before people head there later on.

What Are The Freestyles Like at a Ceroc Weekender?

You might have been to local freestyles, but let me tell you – the energy in the main room at Camber was like nothing I have ever experienced before. With so many people in the room that are absolutely buzzing from hours of dancing, as well as great music… I can’t explain how incredible it is.

Should I Attend a Ceroc weekender?

I am more than a little bit biased, because I had such an awesome time, but I definitely think it is an experience that you would love if you’re a dancer. The issues with the accommodation are the one hesitation I would have, but Tim from Ceroc HQ assured us after the event that they are working with Pontins on the complaints from dancers about the accommodation.

If you go with absolutely no expectations for the accommodation, and don’t stress about that – bring all your home comforts, and go for it. You’re there for the dancing, and your chalet is just somewhere to eat and sleep, after all.

Can I Attend a Ceroc Weekender Alone or as a Beginner Dancer?

Definitely! Ceroc host beginners and those that are on their first weekender with a team called the Mad Cab. You don’t have to be on your own, or a beginner to join in with the Mad Cab team, you can join them to make new friends and so on. As experienced dancers, Rob and I wanted to do our own thing for the weekend, but if I had been on my own, I’d definitely have gone along with the Mad Cab team.

What Will We Do Differently Next Time?

We did pretty well in terms of the food we took with us – but we did go quite overboard with the number of sweets we had with us! We’re already planning ahead and figuring out the meals that we’ll take with us next time, but we’ll definitely be repeating our stash of picnic food. The most fun of the weekend was getting back at crazy o’clock in the morning, having a glass of wine and snacking to wind down, while dissecting what we’d seen and the fun we’d had. I’ll definitely be packing more cereal bars, bananas, and so on for taking to the dancefloor with us.

In terms of cleanliness of the chalet, next time, we’ll be taking a Flash mop with us, as well as making sure we’ve got slippers or flip flops. Your feet take a lot of abuse during a weekender, especially if you’re going for the full three nights straight, and finding my feet dirty simply by walking from the shower wasn’t great.

The other thing I’ll do differently will be what I’ll take to wear. The dancefloors get super hot and sweaty, and so next time I’ll be taking shorts to dance in, rather than trousers – and I’ll probably bring fewer clothes, although maybe that’s a bit optimistic!

Final Thoughts: Ceroc Weekenders

The one thing I have realised about Camber… it has made it really hard to get back into work mode after so much fun at the weekend. This whole week has been a real struggle for motivation, and to get back in the swing of things. I work for myself though, which might have made things trickier… I set my own schedule and I don’t answer to anyone. Booking the next weekender as soon as possible means that we have the next one to look forward to, but that’s a long way off – especially when it is November to March. However, there’s a lot of Christmas and New Year dances to help get us through, so at least those weeks should fly past, and then it is just conquering January before the countdown really begins.

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