“IF you never take a risk you never achieve anything,” said Ruth Mitchell this week as builders were putting the finishing touches to Chester’s first dedicated dance club.
In just a few short weeks the former furniture store on Watergate Row has been transformed into a sophisticated venue where dancers can enjoy everything from salsa to tango.
For Ruth and her husband, salsa DJ and teacher Mike, setting up the club, which opens tomorrow night, is the realisation of a long-held dream.
“We are really excited about it. We can’t believe it is finally happening,” said Ruth. “This is something that Mike has wanted to do for years and years. It has taken a long time to get to this point but it’s been worth it.”
Finding the right venue proved a major headache. “Nothing was perfect until we found this place,” said Ruth.
The club’s name, D’Meltin’Pot, accurately reflects the vision Mike, aged 54, has for the venue. “We will be having all kinds of dance and all kinds of music for all kinds of people.” he says. “It’s for everyone.”
Mike, who runs Funky Salsa, is well known as a salsa teacher and DJ across the North West. Until this week he ran classes and parties at the Groves on Chester’s riverside, and his monthly salsa parties at the Northgate Arena attracted up to 250 dancers from as far afield as Liverpool, Manchester, the Lake District and Nottingham.
“The dance scene in Chester is huge,” he says. I’ve been here for eight years and have come to realise that this club is what people are crying out for. It’s a great way for people to enjoy themselves, get fit and have fun. And the social side is great. Anyone can come along – you don’t need a partner.”
Since moving to Chester eight years ago Mike and Ruth have been building up their salsa business and as the popularity of the classes grew, they realised that their dream of a club was achievable.
“We started with one event every three months, that went to one a month, which grew to twice weekly events at The Groves, now we will be open six nights a week,” says Mike.
“I realised that there were a lot of people going to salsa classes but there was no outlet for them to dance, to really practise what they were learning.”
“I believe that 75% of what you learn in dance is actually learnt on the dance floor. It’s a fun thing, a social thing and the music is a very important part of the experience.”
Live bands will play as much a part of the club experience as the dance and there will be jam sessions for musicians on Wednesday evenings. Tomorrow night’s opening event will feature the funk and soul band The Funky Doctors. In contrast, on Sunday evening a belly dancer will be travelling from Belgium to give a demonstration.
On the six nights that the club is open there will be salsa, street dance, reggaeton, tango, jive and belly dancing. There will be weekly party nights and guest teachers from across the North West, London and Cuba, the home of salsa.
There will even be a teacher travelling from Belgium to demonstrate soukous, an African dance.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone here,” said Ruth. “We are broadening the range of dance and music we offer and are always open to suggestions!”
On Sundays there are salsa classes from 7pm followed by dancing from 8pm; on Tuesdays there are salsa classes from 8pm; on Wednesdays there will be jam sessions and open mic from 9pm; on Thursdays there will be a street dance /reggaeton class at 8pm followed by dancing; and Friday and Saturdays are party nights.
For further details visit: www.dmeltinpot.co.uk.