The Cactus Club has been offering line dancing classes since 1993 and you can find the group at The Two Brewers in Clapham every Tuesday evening. The Cactus Club founder and organiser Peter Flockhart explains more.
The Cactus Club has been offering line dancing classes since 1993. We’ve gone through many changes over the years, but the basics stay the same – good music, good company and a fun time where you can learn, exercise and socialise. We have the occasional themed party but our aim is always the same – to get everyone dancing.
We’re in the back bar of The Two Brewers every Tuesday evening, with a beginner’s hour that starts at 7pm, when newcomers to line dancing can expect to learn the step patterns and get familiar with the language used. Even after just one class, they should be able to do 3-4 dances, if all goes well. We charge only £3 for this hour.
From 8pm, we have the main class, which consists of three additional lessons aimed at regular members, although we are seeing our beginners join in here as well (£8 for non-members, £5 if you’ve already paid for the beginner’s class)
We support the lessons through our website, which has well over 400 dance scripts to encourage practice at home and you’ll also find plenty of line dancing videos online to supplement our lessons. The more you attend, the more dances you will learn but we only charge per class and don’t lock you into a course.
Over the years, hundreds of people have come along to the classes to learn the routines and dance socially afterwards. You can expect a wide age range, dancers from different nationalities and backgrounds – we welcome everyone. And the great thing about line dancing is its international appeal. We have visitors from all over the world dropping in when they visit London, and with other gay line dancing clubs in New York, Chicago and Toronto, Berlin, Amsterdam and Copenhagen, you can make some instant friends when on holiday.
We’re nothing if not musically eclectic at The Cactus Club, dancing to everything from Latin to pop to euro-dance, but of course line dancing will always be primarily associated with country music. In celebration of this, on the first Tuesday of every month, we’ve introduced a special night, Country Roots, when we play and dance to nothing but country music. The evening has proved very popular and we encourage you to dress accordingly. Chaps, denim, cowboy hats and gingham, whatever floats your yeehaw, but please, no spurs (you could injure other dancers on the floor) and no guns (it’s not big, it’s not clever, nobody wants to see your pistol).
Not only does this special night let us celebrate our own country roots as a club, it lets us highlight how much the country music scene has changed over the years for LGBTQ+ folk. With new out and proud singers and songwriters like Steve Grand, Drake Jensen and Brandy Clark breaking through, joining the likes of long-time allies like Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks, country music has never been more inclusive than it is now.
We celebrated 26 years of gay line dancing in London in July but you can also join us at Brighton Pride where we are in the Pleasure
Gardens on 4 August for our free classes. As usual we will try and dance to the music you will hear on the main stage – so expect Kylie to feature.
For more information go to thecactusclub.co.uk
LGBT line dancing is international
Clubs in the UK:
London – The Cactus Club, Manchester – Prairie Dogs, Birmingham – Gay Centre.
Some clubs in Europe:
Munich Lads, Copenhagen Outliners, Amsterdam Amigos.
Some clubs in the US and Canada:
Big Apple Ranch in New York, Sundance in San Francisco, Charlies in Denver, Wranglers in Toronto, Timberline in Vancouver.
All of these clubs offer lessons in line dancing and some offer gender neutral partner dancing too, especially in the USA.