Camp Savoy 2015 – Fire trucking epicness … twice … squared!

Don & A few men of Brat Pack!
Don & A few men of Brat Pack!

Hello, as you probably already read on my Facebook feed that it’s time for me to move on with my life so I am starting to vlog about lindy hop, not just blog! With that in mind, my first vlog entry should be sometime this week and it will not be the same material as here in this post but it still be a “review of Camp Savoy 2015”. I can’t wait!

So, as you guessed, I went to Camp Savoy last weekend for the second year in a row. This is the first time that I am actually returning to the same event. I just love to mix things up and travel to different events because … why the hell not? I am very glad that I decided to come here. I will also be returning here next year for sure!

I hope that you have prepared a cup of coffee/tea/water before you start reading this post as this post is the longest post I have ever created on this blog. It has over 2,000 words, so … have fun reading it 😀

As always, I want to start with my complaint about traffic. What normally would take me 1 hour to drive, took me over 2 hours because of bloody traffic on M25 and then more traffic nearer to Guildford.

/rant.

Getting saved twice by Camp Savoy crew

I was saved by Camp Savoy crew … twice. First of all, I booked my accommodation about 3 or 4 miles away from the University of Surrey. I came straight to taster classes on Friday afternoon and then went to my hotel after my lunch. I was very disappointed! They said to call them before I arrive to confirm everyting. I did that … I made around 20 calls within 30 minutes to receive a message from them saying “I am busy, call me later”. What kind of customer service is this? This was bullshit and I would not recommend Portofino guest house in Guildford to anyone. At least I will not have to pay for their shitty services. So I went back to the uni and then I thought I would at least dance on Friday night and then go home, maybe skip classes on Saturday morning and figure out what to do about the accommodation so at least I can attend Sunday’s classes. Do you know what happened? I enquired about accommodation at the registration desk and about 20 minutes later, I found out that they had one spare en-suit room left with private bathroom and all. My weekend was saved …

Then on Saturday night I lost my wallet. As I was taking my jacked out of the bag, my wallet probably ran away (due to stink in my bag because of all the sweaty shirts there). I realised that I had lost my wallet on Sunday morning. I was reunited with it during my dinner. Imagine if I had not been reunited with my wallet? I had everything there – my cards, driving license, other important things and I would have needed to re-apply for all of these! Yup, my life was saved for the second time by the same crew!

So, just a shout out to the Camp Savoy crew for saving my life … twice squared!

Accommodation and wi-fi

Sherrif Don & Poncho Man Alex
Sherrif Don & Poncho Man Alex

I was lucky to get my accommodation on site on Friday! The room was good, one bed, private bathroom and all … except there was no wi-fi. There was wi-fi in all the public places but not at my room! Therefore, I couldn’t work properly … but it’s okay, I had a great time nevertheless (the fact that I had a great excuse not to work made my weekend vastly greater!). I did work a little bit while sitting on the bench. I was able to have a few pints of beer as I didn’t have to drive. That was one of the highlights! No, really, I don’t drink when I drive to London … and I always drive to London.

Taster classes

The London Boys
The “London” Boys

So on Friday, I arrived before 2 PM and I was on time to do all the taster classes. The first class I did was with Richard and Felix. We had this simple jazz routine which I was able to do. I will not be outing what we did in detail but I must say that both teachers are professionals at what they do and what they teach. It was quite easy to follow the steps!

Then I had swing and soul taster class with Mr. Nice Guy (usually) and the amazing Moe. I was terrible at it. It was a great class and I love that whatever kind of music it was they played but if I can’t dance, I don’t dance. I felt more comfortable later on but it was a great taste of that kind of dance 😀

The last taster class was, again, with Mr. Nice Guy (usually) and one and only Jenny Thomas! It was swing and tap taster class. Honestly, I don’t know why it’s called tap, I don’t think there was much of tap in that class or perhaps we didn’t go that far through. We did rock step and other step variations. It was actually quite easy to follow their instructions, especially when preparing for heel-dig variation. It was a good class!

Then I died on the dance floor at the socials (after sorting out my accommodation problems).

Remy & Jenny

One and Only Jenny Thomas
Swinging out with one and only Jenny Thomas

This class was very challenging and at some point I was considering whether I should go to a lower level class at this camp or not. Don’t get me wrong, it was very exciting to learn such awesome moves but I felt like I wasn’t ready for that level just yet. I decided to try other classes as well and if they were too hard I was ready to do lower level classes.

Anyway, Mr. Nice Guy (usually) and one and only Jenny thought us very exciting sequence of moves. Those moves, however, required such precision and accuracy that even Hawkeye would be jealous of these skills! I still managed to get couple of these moves right and I executed them at socials! I must say that even though I did not get all the moves due to my own dancing capability and level, I still learned good stuff and enjoyed the class as the teaching duo was really amazing at teaching.

Hasse & Marie

Hasse, Don & Marie
Hasse, Don & Marie

This was the first time I was taught by Hasse and Marie. I had 2 classes with them and it was amazing. In first class we did a lot of left-to-left hand stuff. They were quite easy to do but very unusual but there were spins and twists and other neat stuff. I was able to do some of them at the socials!

The second class involved a lot of diziness. Yep, you got it right, we did lots of swing outs and there were lots of swing out variations mainly for followers. I came in about 20 minutes late to the class as I was a bit naughty and I napped. Lucky for me, we did leader’s variations at the end of the class so I didn’t miss much … or did I?

Anyway, I enjoyed the classes. The footwork variation class was last class for me on Saturday and then I had dinner, took shower, came back to socials to die there again and then loose my wallet. Day spent well.

Remy & Moe

Remy & Moe
Mr. Nice Guy (usually) Remy, Don & the amazing Moe

This was fourth and last class with Mr. Nice Guy (usually) and the amazing Moe! This class was great, lots of footwork variations. There were lots of triple step and rock step/step step replacements in very basic moves which made it looks a lot cooler than usual rock step, triple step, triple step, rock step, etc … this class was quite easy to learn but hard to master. As far as I remember, I was practising these variations during the socials … or perhaps I was just too tired to triple step? 😀

Frida & Rikard

Frida, Don & Rikard
Frida, Don & Rikard

This was the first time that I was taught by Frida & Rikard. In this class we did more footwork variations. It was quite exciting to do things like very little hop-downs/heel-tap-downs, slides, etc …this class was really well thaught and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did some of these variations during the socials and I believe I executed well, epseically when these variations are not led 😀

Michael & Evita

As always mind-blowing as they are, this time, Michael and Evita were whole-universe-blowing. I am not talking just about workshops, their choreographies, cabarets, etc … are so awesome and well executed … it is quite humanly impossible to replicate them. When they dance together, they look so awesome! It’s not just their dancing, it’s the way they teach that makes them so adorable and amazing people.

"Fathering" Michael, Evita & Don
“Fathering” Michael, Evita & Don

The class material was great, we did quite a bit of moves. One of the highlights of the class was Michael “fathering” us about leading. It was honest and I completely agreed. Followers should not pretend that leads led them “that way” so we all can progress to the next sequence of moves. This makes leading inaccurate … but then again, leaders or dancers, in general, should be honest about their dancing level. Next year I may come back to INT/ADV class instead of ADV and I know that I will still learn a lot of great stuff!

This class was amazing. I have to apologise for skipping wild wild west line-up taster class as I was just tired and napping. Then I had dinner, dressed up as a sherrif and really died on the dance floor.

Teachers’ Cabaret

Don & Jordan
Don & Jordan

Teachers’ cabaret was probably best I have ever seen! I will not talk about it, my words just won’t describe even a one percent of what it was like as 1 minute of it on Youtube. And the cabaret took about 30 minutes! I just tell you this – I truly loved the transition from one show to the next. A true masterpiece!

Jazz competition

I did not compete at the competitions! I don’t normally watch competitions (whether it’s strictly, J’n’J or even invitational ones), I watched it fully this time. There were lots of participants and then 5 made it into the finale. After spotlight dancing, audience was responsible for choosing the best one. I loved the voting system. Participants didn’t know who we were cheering for. Then two finalists had a super finale where they had one on one battle with no rules. It was amazing competition! Both won free entry to the next Camp Savoy and some other prizes. Yay!

Social dancing

Don & legendary Robin
Don & legendary Robin

Social dancing was amazing at the Camp Savoy. There were a lot of great dancers and the floor-craft was incredible! I was not kicked or bumped at even a single time. The music was great! I can’t remember what kind of music they played in 2014 but it was the best music I have heard in a very long time. It could be a bad thing though – I really wanted to dance to every single song but I couldn’t due to limited supply of stamina (that is why I am hitting gym for cardio and stuff to gain more stamina!).

On Sunday night, we had a lot of people dressed up for wild wild west theme. I was a sherrif and took a lot of selfies with other people. I REGRET NOTHING!

The Basin Street Brawlers were mind-blowing. This was the first time I heard them live. I immediately fell in love with this band after first song. They play for dancers, not for the performance to watch.

To summarise this event, I have to say that this camp was best event I have been to in the UK. I think it actually is on the same level of awesomeness as London Lindy Exchange 2015 but I can’t really compare these two – one is exchange, another – camp. Despite the two really big problems (which, thankfully, didn’t add a single wrinkle on my face), I had the most amazing time learning from world class teachers, getting my mind blown by teachers’ cabaret, dancing until I dropped dead to DJ and live music, having a few pints of beer and catching up and meeting old and new friends! What more could I ask for? Can I have another Camp Savoy in September? Pretty please?

Next time you will see me at the Super Swing Pit this Sunday in London. Please do come and say “hi” and let’s have a dance or two … oh, and selfies, obviously 😉

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Don Mazonas

Don Mazonas

CEO & Founder at Don Markets Limited
Hello, internet marketing (blogging) and swing dancing are two of my biggest passions. Combining them both was a good idea to spread the word about awesomeness of swing dancing. For more information about me, please check the "about" section of this blog.
Don Mazonas

Don Mazonas

Hello, internet marketing (blogging) and swing dancing are two of my biggest passions. Combining them both was a good idea to spread the word about awesomeness of swing dancing. For more information about me, please check the "about" section of this blog.

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