This year we will provide classes that help gather new repertoire even to the most experienced lindy hoppers amongst you. We will focus on swing dancing beyond Lindy Hop, not only historically and geographically – as back in the days (and without youtube!) people used to dance differently in different places – but also musically. The musical range used to be much wider than nowadays, there where not only ALL tempi played but also other accentuations such as latin grooves or completely different rhythms like Waltzes! A beautiful variety that we miss on today’s dancefloors…
One other thing that we would want to see more on today’s dancefloors is people who don’t consider themselves as a ‘Blues’ or ‘Lindy’ or ‘Balboa dancer’ – but as one who enjoys moving to the whole range of swing music in all its aspects: From the ragtime origins to what dance inspired music became after the actual swing craze. That’s why you won’t see separated floors for different dance styles at Swing Castle Camp, but one beautiful ballroom with skilled musicians and DJs providing the whole variety of danceable music – in all tempi.
Therefore we asked our knowledgeable teacher couples what they would like to teach you besides classical Lindy Hop. And we came up with a concept that allows you to choose yourself what you want to learn from which teacher – and combine the different dance styles as you please.
Each teacher couple will focus on 3 different topics. Each topic will be taught for 4 units (which equals 5 hours) so that you can really dive into that new old style rather than rushing through it in one poor taster class…
(You can chose one from each row…)
|PETER & KATJA||CHRISTIAN & JENNY||GAS & ALBA|
|Option 1||Walking Charleston||Collegiate shag||Slow Lindy|
|Option 2||Peabody||After Seben style Lindy||Latin swing|
|Option 3||Vintage Foxtrot||St Louis Shag & Jitterbug||Lindy in close position|
More info about each of those dance style:
Let’s start with Christian & Jenny’s option #1: Surprisingly they will teach St. Louis Shag & Jitterbug – which could look like these powerful St. Louis style swingouts from Club Imperial. And you can be sure that those two will underline that class with in-depth information about the historical aspects of not only that famous club but the whole dance scene in St. Louis back then and today…:
Reigning supreme on the list of universal dance styles is the One Step, easy to adapt to all kinds of music and all skill levels. Peter and Katja will bring you a delightful historical form of it: The Peabody with its characteristic Yale position. Who has ever been at Swing Castle Camp knows the energy that occurs when the whole ballroom starts a Peabody race and thus transforms into a 1915 mosh pit… But as you can see in the gif this dance can just as well be elegant, weightless and playful. Peter and Katja are visibly able to reenact the whole ragtime feeling – except for William Frank Peabody’s ‘embonpoint’ of course. (Which could – in theory – change in the end of the camp as we keep working with the same caterer…):
Have you ever wondered why people can’t relax while dancing slower songs while they are all quite comfortable in their medium tempos…? Gas and Alba, our third teacher couple, will help you change that. They will – amongst 2 other dance styles – make you discover the beauty of Slow Lindy: Where all movements have time to develope and flow through until being redirected. Where follows have time enough to fill the dance with their own voice and interpretation. Where both dancers can stretch the time endlessly to stay looong behind the beat – and catch up on it again:
You all know this famous clip made from the movie After Seben (1929): ‘Shorty’ George Snowden doing the Breakaway, a Harlem version of partnered Charleston, and at the same time pioneering the first ever Swing Out captured on film. Yep, it’s the visual proof of Lindy Hop in its earliest stadium – so what would make more sense to take a closer look at than that…?
You can do so with Christian & Jenny at this years swing… – underlined with serious historical background information. So you have the chance to become not only a real smart ass but also an energetic and snappy dancer that can swing out to the fastest music on the smallest (and most crowded!) of all dancefloors. Woohoo!
PS: Watch their smile – it’s beautiful…:
And here comes Peter and Katja’s 2nd option for classes: the walking Charleston! As you can see in this little clip taken from a Charleston competition in the 20’s you can transform into an ecstatic metropolitan bird on cocaine (aka flapper) as well as on a overall wearing cowboy busting out surprising moves… And as we don’t see too much of this partnered 20s Charleston version on nowadays dancefloors: let’s change that!
But be aware: We seriously hope that not too many people will choose this option as (according to Variety Magazine) the vibrations of Charleston dancers led to the collapse of Boston’s Pickwick Club in 1925. So let’s not tear the castle down – we still need it for at least another century!
Alba and Gas have of course been equally influenced by ‘Shorty’ George Snowden and friends – just as any other swing dancer nowadays. And that’s why they will bring you their 2nd option: Lindy in close position! Yes, I’ll say it again: LINDY in CLOSE position. And as this alone would (maybe) be far too intense, they will add the Breakaway – and once you really let go of your partner they will show you how to introduce Jazz steps into your partner dancing.
As you can see in this video there’s a plenty joyful ways to get together again with these two dancers…:
All good things come to an end: Here comes Christian & Jenny’s third and last option, which you should choose before getting older… They will teach (or refine!) your Collegiate Shag. And – as the name implies – they will thus transform you into a bunch of giggling college kids – or teens, ok… As this video proofs, this funny dance is playful, impulsive, ebullient and profoundly silly. And therefore contagious. So good luck with it!
Jenny and Christian’s approach plays with different rhythms to better fit the music – and they dance it in close position, which makes it even more fun to alternate the different patterns…:
Here comes Peter & Katja’s last option: Vintage Foxtrot, a delightful little dance ‘with a tendency to put everyone in good humor.’ (A 1914 critic about vaudeville performer Harry Fox, who is credited to be the inventor of the dance.)
And these words still hold true today: It is very pleasant and at the same time funny to trot (or saunter) your way around the dance floor together. And compared to other Ballroom dances it leaves much more space for improvisation – making the whole dance so versatile that it basically fits all swing music. The pattern itself is so easy that you can quickly let go of your brain and simply enjoy the movement – whilst having a bad ass and upright attitude on today’s dancefloors.
If you decide for that option Peter and Katja will teach you 5 full hours of Foxtrot – you can be sure to learn crazy little hopped crosses and other fun stuff to do with that jewel of a dance…:
Gas & Alba ‘s third option is the last of 9 dance styles that you can add to your personal castle schedule as you please… And this option is an exciting one: You all know these songs – St. Louis Blues being the most popular one – where the rhythm section starts using other syncopations than usually. Which makes not only the whole feeling of the song different – it also feels a bit odd to start the dance with your usual lindy circle – swing out combination… And that’s why Gas and Alba came up with the idea to dedicate one of their 3 blocks entirely to what they call Latin Swing. They will use patterns from other dances (such as Salsa, Samba, Forró, Merengue, Cumbia or – as you can see in this gif: Tango) to not only pepper up your Swing repertoire but (even more important!) to make your dancing fit to much more rhythms and songs than before. And in order to give you the possibility to practice (and shine) with what you will have learned, Gas will also play a DJ set with latin influenced songs. And let us tell you: We can’t wait to see that dance floor!
So now you are basically spoiled for choice… Hehe.