Swing Revolution 2015

Hey all, I am putting this into one massive post because posting a Facebook status about it is too mainstream …

OK, as you may know or may not know, I went to Leeds for Swing Revolution, a weekend of intense dancing … and joy.

First of all, rant about couple of things before I get into the awesomeness of the camp. On the way to Leeds, I encountered a horrible traffic. What should have taken me to get there under 3 hours, it took me over 5 hours. I had traffic jam 3 times on my way to Leeds. Then, I was a bit shocked about the traffic in Leeds. I mean, I might not be slowest driver here in Hertfordshire/London but in Leeds I felt like a turtle … you know, people doing 100 mph … just crazy. Some crazy drivers too, cutting off without signals … maybe I just had bad timing or something … xD

I will never ever going to book 2 star hotel. I am not going to out the name of the hotel which is based in Morley (yes, 7 miles from the camp venue). Bed was fine … except dirt on duvet … shower was shit, so mouldy, you could see it from far away … shower didn’t work properly anyway, you put the hottest water on, it works for like … 5 seconds and then it gets cold like ice. TV was working but sometimes it would lose sound or display would be delayed from the sound. I didn’t watch it anyway. The only 2 good things were that it had free parking and free Wi-Fi which I didn’t use much anyway.

/rant.

Now that rant is over, can I get to great things about the camp? The camp took place in University of Leeds, which is massive. I study at UEL (Stratford campus) and it has like … maybe 4 buildings. I went to Camp Savoy at the University of Surrey in Guildford, it looks like a massive university. Uni of Leeds seemed like … entire town! The main building where the social dancing were held was like a maze.

Workshops

Kibble & Judith

Don, Kibble and Judith
Don, Kibble and Judith

Our first class was with Kibble & Judith. We did lots of promenod variations. In most camps I go to, they teach lots about swing outs. I realise that swing out is core move of Lindy Hop but this was really awesome to do something else. We had several variations. First was straight promenod. Then we had another one with a twist on count 5. Then we had a promenod with a twist on count 5 and we turn followers clockwise so we end up side-to-side, similar connection we have right before the cob wheel. Then we had yet another variation where there is a twist on count 5 and then leaders do 3 steps backwards to prepare for this awesome jump step into fancy swing out/circle move. That jump vanilla version was easy but the one with a twist was quite challenging. It was optional though. The workshop was great, Kibble & Judith are great teachers and we were taught a lot about technique behind that twist on count 5.

Tony & Gemma

Don, Tony and Gemma
Don, Tony and Gemma

Our second class was with Tony & Gemma. They are both great dancers when they dance on the dance floor. We had this mini routine. However, we learnt how to lead/follow those fancy moves as well so it was not like choreographed, we could easily lead those moves at our will. So we started with triple step variation or whatever it was. Instead of doing normal one where you do steeeeeeeeep, step, step, you do step back, step/slide, steeep forward. It is hard to explain but it looks awesome. We did this step on basic and then other moves like swing out and what not. Followers were taught this awesome tuck turn variation but I cannot tell much as I was not learning it but it was cool and it did not affect connection. The other cool step we learned was that little jump. I don’t know what it’s called but it’s something like sugar push but one-handed connection … and instead of rock step, we had this triple step variation and then little jump. It was really awesome. I don’t want to out the exact routine we did but it was really good stuff and I learned a lot.

Mikaela & Nicolas

Don, Mikaela and Nicolas
Don, Mikaela and Nicolas

In this class we had a lot of social dancing. There were some variations we learned but we also learned a lot about style I guess. Apparently, we open up (upper body) better when we dance for music rather than for fun. It was really fun class with lots of giggles. I really enjoyed those variations were leaders turn their upper bodies. We also had variations of that using some groovy style. I cannot talk much about this work shop as I don’t want to out too much except that it was really fun class and I learned stuff I used at the socials later that night. It was a pleasure to be taught by Mikaela & Nicolas!

 

 

Trisha & Scott

Don, Trisha and Scott
Don, Trisha and Scott

This class was on Sunday afternoon and we had only one class that day. It was mind blowing. Trisha & Scott do make a great teaching couple with their natural humour and all. The material was a bit challenging but it was great stuff and I learned quite a lot of new moves/add-ons. Just without outing much, we did swing out variations. One was forward send out. I know I learned it a long time ago … but I always keep forgetting about stepping backwards and then forwards, I just step normally and that’s when confusion happens I guess. I fixed it. It was a great reminder of it. We also learned about this “ball scratcher” that can happen during this move ­čśÇ Another variation was slowing down and going down on count 3-4. I always loved that one, I just didn’t know how to execute it properly. Then we did two handed wrap move which taught us a lot about rock step momentum. It is hard to describe this move, just a lot of spins and turns. We also did barrel roll with James Brown style (we did this at Savoy Hop a very long time ago). I learned to properly execute it. We also did this fancy move where we end up in left-to-left hand connection (it’s so unusual, right?) and then a very fancy move with quite a lot of turns and spins again. I cannot even describe this move but it is really good looking. Class was brilliant.

Taster class

I attended Dips & Tricks taster class. I regret nothing! We did 4 tricks, first – followers almost sit on leader’s knees but they don’t. Second – leaders “drop” down on the floor. It’s super fancy and would probably net you a victory in competitions. Third trick – leaders grab followers by their necks. It’s kind of weird, I know … the last trick – followers dive underneath leader’s arm. It’s good looking trick.

Competitions

I competed in one competition which I might talk about later on. Competitions were great and many of my friends placed in top 3! So proud! Amazing thing was that all competitions had one song that was not swing song. Some 80s – 90s disco style. I cannot comment much about jazz competition as I came a bit late. I competed in musicality competition. It was the first time I have ever heard of it. There is one rule – stop moving the millisecond song stops playing. I think winners won a great prize. Me and my partner survived for one song. It was great experience and a pleasure competing!

Social dancing

Social dancing was amazing too. We had live bands and all but I missed live band on Sunday evening as they played before the competitions and I came during the competition. I had many great dances and I was able to practice what I learned. It was great to catch up with Leeds people I went to Barcelona with. I also met new friends as well!

After-party

At around 9-10 PM we went to this cafe as an after party to a live band. The band played electro swing I think. It was different experience. Then we had a lot of disco music as well. Problem is that I cannot dance much during such music but I had a blast nevertheless. I left at around 12:30.

If you asked me if I would come back to Swing Revolution 2016, I’d say … “HELL YES!”. To sum up the event:

  • GREAT classes
  • GREAT socials
  • GREAT atmosphere
  • GREAT venue

What more can I ask for? I’d say “See you soon” but I cannot due to life of a lindy hopper. Instead, I’ll say this “’til next time friends”. And as always, this post supported by lots of selfies/groupies/photos.

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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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