We think we have the responsibility to preserve not only Lindy Hop, but also all the big variety of other swing era dances from being forgotten. Therefore we chose instructors that are capable of reflecting a broad interest and knowledge in the history of those dances. And that means you will get to know useful (and very beautiful!) Jazz era dances such as Shag, Peabody, Charleston, Foxtrot and Jazz Waltz (just to name a few) when attending the vintage swing track. And you can even choose which ones you want to learn! Because the more dances you know, the more music (and the more tempi!) you will be able to dance to. And the more fun it will get for you and your partner…
Our main dance instructors:
Vintage Swing Track:
* Jenny & Christian
* Katja & Peter
As you all know these guys you’ll find more info about them below – but let us first introduce two very distinguished new faces to the castle, who will guide your way from vintage swing to bebop and modern jazz music:
Alina & Fedor teaching evening classes
Fedor Nedotko has been one of the first professional dancers in East European region to promote jazz dance, swing dance, African dance and salsa in the early 2000s. Based in St. Petersburg, Fedor remains one of the most influential instructors in Russia and its neighbor countries. He is a founder of Casa Latina dance club, where he has educated several generations of swing and salsa dancers, applying his fundamental approach of the African rooted nature of these major American social dance styles.
“For me, jazz is not an abstract music, it is, first of all, a dancing mood, a state of emotional excitement. I don’t follow any particular swingdance styles as all of them create unique swingdance world. I consider musicality, comfort, freedom and partnering to be the most important in dancing.”
Alina Sokulska started her path as a solo dance artist since the very early age gaining experience and knowledge in many dance styles and cultures. Jazz dance has become her major passion and for the moment she is one of those dancers in the swing dance community elaborating on her own dance language with intertexts of swing, blues, bebop, UK jazz, afro and latin. Same as Fedor, Alina comprehends jazz as an African rooted artform. Through her theoretical researches of jazz dance history she broadens the limits of what is called “swing dance” to African-American dance, both in practice, art and teaching approach.
Fedor and Alina have been working together for about 7 years, teaching African-American dances both locally and internationally, as well as researching its history and anthropology. As a result of their passion to cultures and dancing, they created a festival of African-American dance, Evolution Solo Weekend, that they are running for 5 years already at the home studio, Casa Latina in St. Petersburg.
And here you can see them delightfully battling Ksenia and partner:
Our main instructors or how we see them…
Partnered Swing track:
As always at Swing Castle Camp you will hear this dude blowing his horn: Peter Winqvist Loggins, who’s idea it was to start a second week for all kinds of Swing dances besides Balboa in the first place – and who shall be blessed for that forever and ever… As you can see here this party- and workaholic has everything right under control and a typical day at the castle for him looks like that: get up (hardest task), have a beer, teach things you cannot learn form anybody else, have a beer, teach, hold a lecture that you won’t hear from anybody else, have a beer, put the band together, play trombone all night long, dance and dj in between, drink beer, go to the sauna, have a beer, lecture the last one standing at the bar, maybe get a tiny little bit of sleep – and from the top…
You better come to the castle and learn to keep up with him!
But even Peter Winqvist Loggins shouldn’t teach alone…: He comes with Katja Završnik, another castle repeater since the very first version in 2014. This slovenian beauty of a dancer strikes your eyes with elegance and your abdominals with a remarkably dry sense of humor. Being an organizer herself (Ljubljana SweetSwing Festival) she is the most pleasant instructor ever to have at a camp: she just eats everything, parties joyfully and is generally hilarious from morning till the next morning… And she doesn’t only bring Peter – we are also fortunate to hear her husband Blaž Završnik with his guitar joining the students’ orchestra. Slovenian dancers (and everybody else): follow them to the castle!
One of the rare opportunities to see this man without a perfectly fitting suit might be in the sauna at Swing Castle Camp… (Although we can’t promise that officially of course!) What we can promise though is that you can learn the unique styles of St. Louis Shag and Jitterbug from Christian at daytime and listen or dance to his beautiful piano playing at night time…
Those classes, held with Jenny, will be as authentic as it gets: the two of them not only hail from St Louis, but they have learned to dance from their own last local old-timers. So if you mix up that authenticity with a profound interest and knowledge of history, a sometimes subtle, sometimes sonorous sense of humor and a general, well-mannered understatement in quite everything he does you can imagine how nice it will be to hang out with him at the castle…
Or simply watch this little gif:
Christian wouldn’t be complete without his teaching partner Jenny Shirar. They hit the castle for the first time last year and are both very excited to be coming back to teach the whole Swing track. Jenny – playful as a dancer and self confident and joyful as a teacher – arrived at the castle and melted into the atmosphere on the spur of the moment: A bit of teaching and a lot of socializing, and most important relaxed days to recover from long nights filled with contagious laughter and powerful dancing.
Back home in St. Louis Christian and Jenny built a solid scene that embraces the dance as well as the music – and crowned it with the annual Nevermore Jazz Ball, where we advice everybody to go in November. But before that: Let’s get wild at Swing Castle Camp and get your dose of St. Louis Shag!
Solo Swing track:
There’ll be a third solo jazz track again!
Here you can see Daniel Larsson expressing his joy ’cause that’s what’s bringing him back to the castle. He has been there the first year, sharing the one tiny solo track (and the salary!) with Rikard and wrapping it in so much love that everybody keeps coming back ever since – everybody except Daniel himself, whose many talents makes it impossible to schedule everything he wants to do in the short period of one year…: Besides being a classically trained Ballet & Modern Jazz dancer he knows a shitload of Tap styles, plays piano, sings AND acts. On stage. (!) But the most remarkable thing about Daniel is that all those skills come with modesty and gentleness: “Never stop learning” is his guiding principle. And you will feel that not only when taking his classes – his ability and interest to social dance (in the truest sense of the word) will also add some warmth to those wild parties.
Rikard Ekstrand, humble as he is, considers himself a teacher and student of rhythm. He has been taking care of the Solo Jazz Track since the very first year of Swing Castle Camp. His honest devotion to each and every one of the students in that tiny track makes it a very special experience to spend that week under his wing. And if you are lucky, you will not only have the possibility to dance with him at night but you will also see him tap-dancing to the live music and even hear him playing piano with the band.