There are groups running classes, courses and social dances in various dance styles in and around Reading. Classes and courses generally run weekly. Courses are series of classes where they start with the basics and build up week by week (so you need to start at the beginning of the course). Classes are where you can start any time - they often have beginners' lessons earlier in the evening with more advanced lessons later. Most have some social dancing at the end of the evening after the lesson(s). Levels of difficulty/competence are often described as beginners, improvers, intermediate and advanced.
Most dance forms are partnered dances, although you usually don't need to take a partner and even if you go as a couple to a lesson the teachers usually ask people to change partners so everybody gets to practice with everybody else. Most dance forms also have leader and follower roles which are generally assigned to men and women. Where there is an imbalance in numbers what usually happens is that surplus men or women take turns standing by while other couples practice a move, and then as participants change partners they will get their turn. Sometimes surplus participants will practice a move on their own (with an imaginary partner) until they move round to the next real partner. Sometimes, if there are more women than men, some women will take leader roles to balance the numbers. It is less common for extra men to take follower roles although in some social dances men will dance with other men as well as women with other women.
There are also solo dances (such as taught at Reading Swing Jam's Jazz / Charleston classes) which can be performed by a group ensemble or by pairs or groups dancing improvising and responding to each others' moves.
There is some scientific evidence that dance may improve brain health, reduce risk of dementia, improve mood and certain cognitive skills such as visual recognition and decision-making, reduce stress and help develop new neural connections, especially in regions involved in executive function, long-term memory, and spatial recognition, and even to be therapeutic for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
- 1 Salsa
- 2 Cuban style / La Rueda
- 3 Swing
- 4 Tango
There are various styles of Salsa and different classes teaching them and social dances centred around them.
Red Hat Salsa run classes at different levels followed by social dancing upstairs at RISC, weekly on Tuesdays and monthly on Saturdays They say you can get your first and 4th lesson half price and 10th lesson free - these aren't advertised at the venue.
Cuban style / La Rueda
La Rueda / Rueda de Casino is danced in pairs in a circle. Moves are called out: they have names in Spanish (although the names don't necessarily have obvious meanings, e.g. dile que no means tell her "no"). Many of the moves involve changing partners around the circle. This video shows examples.
Rising Sun Arts Centre
Jive, Lindy, Balboa, Jazz, Charleston etc
All Jazzed Up
Ceroc is a Jive dance with simplified footwork making it easy to learn, and also the proprietary trade name of the organisations running lessons and dances. Ceroc Thames Valley runs classes in Wokingham and Twyford and Ceroc Newbury in Newbury.
Reading Swing Jam
Reading University Swing Dance Society
Jive Cats run classes in Caversham, Woodley and elsewhere.
Milongas are Tango social dances.
Berkshire Tango Club
The Berkshire Argentine Tango Club (note web page plays unsolicited audio) runs classes in Caversham and Woodley.
Reading Tango Club
Reading Tango Club runs classes at St Luke's Hall in Erleigh Rd, and Milonga socials.
Rising Sun Arts Centre
The Rising Sun runs Tango classes on Thursday evenings.