Review: Jive Addiction "Eclipse"

18th February 2009

Weekender Date: Friday 13th - Monday 16th February 2009

Location: Butlins, Skegness

So, what was it like?

Since Ceroc got Jive Addiction unceremoniously booted out of Southport in 2008, a different location had to be found, and they came up with the Butlin's venue in Skegness.

A dearer option for us punters, but that didn't seem to mind as there was a camaraderie feeling about following Jive Addiction in defiance to Ceroc management - with the proverbial couple of fingers up at them for their unfairness in the way they did it (dependent on who you believe).

So, we all hoped for the 'new Southport', or 'Southport East', just a matter of upping sticks and plonking it in a new location, you would think. Well, er, not exactly. More later.

Now, I want to slant this write up in regard to Tango, after all, this is the topic I write about, but to do this, I have to give some background. At Southport, there was Tango, but it was always pitched quite low, to cater for the beginner.

The first class

True to form there was a beginners class, where lead & follow, posture and distance was stressed. Asking the filled main hall of Tango wannabees to rotate anti-clockwise was a non-starter, and the on-the-edge folks just stuck to their own partners.

Some women had problems getting dances, a tad unfair really.

The second class

The next class later on in the day in another room had a full contingent, and a more challenging lesson. Pivots and ganchos were practiced, and it was a bit tricky, it made you think. Oh, and no rotating this time either.

Spare women were assigned to some helpful volunteer Tango dancers, and some changing partners did happen. The message from the first class had been heeded.

The Tango teachers were extremly helpful, hands-on too.

The third class

The final lesson was on Sunday morning at 10am, the first class of the day.

Now I will never understand the scheduling of this final more advanced class being at this time. Saying that, for the first time ever, I actually went to it. I thought it would be more a 'private' lesson with a few keen beginners and absolute diehards in tow, but no, a good number of Tango people made the effort!

This class emphasised forward turns in turn with ganchos either side. Yep, that doesn't sound right and difficult to explain now that I am reading it back, but just believe me when I say that it was a good move that required precision when carried out (oh, just ask me and I will show you the next time I see you!).

The Tango cabaret

Did I like their cabaret? Yes, I could appreciate the complexity of the moves they did, although I don't think others did.

I heard nonsense from a (very) few people saying the 'didn't like the cabaret, lacked a bit of 'polish'. Well, you get up there then mate and show us how it is done...

Was I happy with the Tango teachers? Yes.

Was I happy with the Tango classes? Yes, apart for the first one for beginners, but I'm not complaining, after all, what am I doing at a beginners class? Checking out who was there, that's what.

The milongas

It was confusing about what room I should have been in, the venues were too far apart so I couldn't 'flit' between rooms - too far away to walk, it would have involved taking my coat and bag etc.

I was confused about a milonga scheduled to happen exactly the time the Tango cabaret was on, so went to see the cabaret and got to the milonga afterwards only for the DJ to then say 'last record'. Bugger. It wasn't the best experience for Tango milongas this weekend.

Summing up

Why did I go to Skegness? Not for learning Tango, I can get that in London.

I just wanted a nice weekend away from home, meet up with a few folks that I hadn't seen for some time and do a bit of slow jive and/or some neo Tango when the Milonga's were scheduled.

Did I get that? To a certain extent, yes. The West Coast Swingers had a lot of their music played in the Blues room - no change there then - and a lot of belly aching was had by some about not being able to get to other rooms quickly, the music, when things were on etc.

Would I go again?

Honestly? Well, I will give June a go, you can't tell on just one visit, but after that I'm not sure. It's a long way to go for Tango to be playing second fiddle to the West Coast Swingers. It's their venue, with a bit of introductory Tango marketing thrown in.

Final word

First impressions can give misleading signals, best give it time to allow for things to be 'got right'. Jive Addiction management gave clear indications that they were doing their best and wanted feedback on how people felt. So tell them!...

More details: www.jiveaddiction.com

- Ken Royden, 18th February 2009

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