The following is a short piece I wrote for the Tea for Two newsletter last month that covers the swing dancing scene in KW. Just thought I’d add it here too!
Summertime often means a hiatus for dance lessons but it certainly does not lead to a dance drought. After spending the rest of the year in lessons and attending weekly dances, summer is the season for exploration. Whether you’ve just finished your first session of Lindy Hop or have been perfecting your swingouts for years, you’re now ready to get out and dance. Exploration can take on a variety of forms. Dancers may continue their journey through lessons at a number of dance camps from Camp Jitterbug in the west to Swing Out New Hampshire in the east, or even across the ocean at Herräng dance camp, purportedly the largest swing dance camp held over five weeks in Sweden.
Dance camps may not be your style of adventure but perhaps you do like to travel. So, dance camps aside, there are dozens of dance exchanges happening that can help you explore dance scenes from all over whether it is the Hamburg Lindy Exchange in Germany, the Leeds Swing Exchange in the UK or the San Francisco Lindy Exchange in the US. Find more workshops and exchanges listings at Yehoodi Calendar at http://www.yehoodi.com/calendar or ask Hep Cat instructors for their recommendations.
The fabulous gift of Lindy Hop and other related dances is their flexibility. There’s always an occasion to dance – you don’t have to look very far! So if traveling afar isn’t in your sights, just look around Waterloo Region where there is plenty of opportunity to fill your dance cravings. From the recent Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival, to the upcoming Kitchener Blues Festival or even the Mill Race Festival in Cambridge, there’s almost always music playing! While Lindy Hop is best done to swing jazz, many forms of music borrow from each other and it is not too hard to find blues or folk music that has a bit of a swing to it; just dance how the music moves you! What you have learned throughout your lessons is how to move your body and use it no matter which way you choose to groove.
Dancing does not need to be saved for special occasions either, though it does come in handy during this busy wedding season. As a dancer you can break it out at any time! Enjoying a band during Open Streets? Do a little Lindy. Bored in line at the amusement park? Hand-to-hand Charleston will while the time away. Snappy tune at the market? Balboa with your grocery cart. Is the bus taking a bit too long to arrive? A little solo jazz goes a long way to relieve your boredom and add a little fun!
Not only is dancing a great way to pass the time and express yourself but it entertains those around you. Despite this not being your goal, your joy and passion shows through your dance and those around you will be entertained and delighted to see you dance.
Dancing brings joy and so it is best not to keep it bottled up but to open up and share! Get out into the world, experiment, go on to exchanges, explore on road trips and just have fun! After your journey, whether just to the local festival or across a continent, don’t forget to return to the classes to integrate those experiences into your learning and perhaps share them with your instructors and dance-mates!