Yo! Last weekend I attended ESDC (European Swing Dance Championships) 2015. This is sort of camp/competition based event where they have 2 ballrooms. One ballroom is used for competitions with DJ breaks in between different competition divisions and the other ballroom is used for social dancing only. THAT is how it should be done all the time. I mean, I rarely ever watch competitions so it is a bit annoying when you are “forced” to sit or stand and watch it.
So, ESDC is hosted at Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow. It is quite expensive and really good looking hotel chain. Us, dancers, got amazing deal on hotel rooms – £30/person/night but I did not take it as I live not too far. I thought driving home each day would save me money which did, actually, but next time I will book hotel. It’s just much more convenient. That way I could have stayed until very end each night, now I had to leave at around 2 or 3 AM. I was lucky that my classes were in the afternoon – at around 2 PM so I could sleep a little longer.
Driving each day was not so bad though, there was no traffic. I also had a chance to taste steak. 10 oz steak was not enough for me unfortunately.
So without further ado, let’s get to the actual awesomeness of the camp!
During ESDC 2015, we had 6 hours of workshops! Six-hardcore-material hours! I must admit that learning wise, ESDC was one of the best events as I learned so much and we didn’t do any swing out related moves. Sure, you can adapt variations for swing outs but we weren’t getting too dizzy!
Isabella & Pontus
We had 2 hours with Pontus and Isabella. We didn’t do much but we did quite a lot of technique. In the class, we did some sort of Yo-Yo with variations but I will not talk about what exactly we did. Spins, redirected rock steps, etc … were involved and be jealous if you weren’t there. It was a great class!
What did I learn? How to properly push follower to move backwards while having hand on her hip and pretty much everything else we learned.
William & Maeva
In this 1 hour class we learned even more technique! Not to out anything, we just learned how to lead/follow triple steps and rock steps. That just means that we can lead triple step instead of rock step, it’s up to leads or move sequence. It was quite challenging but I liked it!
What did I learn? Leading triple steps is quite hard and takes time to practice! I will, however, keep practicing as I social dance!
Max & Pamela
We had 2 hours class with Max & Pamela. We did tons of Sugar Pushes and variations. Once again, I cannot out the actual material but we learned a lot. There is so much technicality involved in what seems to be a simple move! We did things like rock and go and other awesome stuff. They both are great teachers who know what they are doing.
What did I learn? Lots of technical things related to sugar pushes which is going to help me become a better dancer. I will also be able to practice certain moves on my own, such as rock and go, etc …
What I also loved about the teachers is that they did not allow us to film their material. This is great because all those class material videos get uploaded on YouTube which beats the purpose of actually being in the class – people can freely see what we learned and slightly more advanced dancers can easily observe and learn from those videos. It is quite unfair I’d say.
Ali & Katja
I remember Ali & Katja from DJAM 2014, Lindy Shock 2014, Chase festival 2015, etc … they are always my inspiration! I really love their style of dancing … and teaching. In their class we learned a very cool sequence. Short but cool! There was a pendulum involved. We had some footwork variations like sliding, sliding kick ball changes (or whatever that was) and other cool stuff.
What did I learn? Everything we were taught. I find a bit hard to lead that first move from basic and then the very first slide, other things were quite smooth!
So to sum up the classes, I believe I learned so much in each and every hour of classes we had. They are all top international teachers for a reason – they do the perfect job at creating the material and teaching it!
So, I finished my work earlier on Thursday so I could leave home for ESDC on Thursday quite early, 1.5 hours before its official opening. I thought I would get traffic here and there and would make it to the venue by 8:30 PM or something. I got there at 7:20 PM or so. There was no traffic at all!
Since I was there so early, I was able to hear the band rehearsing in one of the ballrooms. Also, I had a privelege to “test” the floor out! You see, I was the very first to start lindy hopping and I must say that the floor was really nice! Perhaps a bit rough in the beginning but it got better as time went on. Also, if you stood nearby the floor and it was packed, you could feel it moving up and down.
The ballrooms were not packed on Thursday. However, I felt a little bit intimidated because most of the dancers were so awesome and advanced, I felt like I was just a beginner. I find this quite positive – it means that there is so much more room for me to improve! Music was great too!
Friday was much less intimidating because there were many friends of mine. The band was amazing! Great atmosphere.
On Saturday’s socials, I felt like a beast, I had a lot of inspiration and my dancing was somehow better than usual as noticed by some people. I was able to implement what I had learned in classes that day. The band was amazing too! We had ESDC All Stars and Hot Sugar Band.
On Sunday, I had a lot of fun and I stayed pretty much until the end – 4 AM. I must admit that the band played quite fast and long songs on Sunday. Nevertheless, they did a perfect job!
I really enjoyed the social dancing at ESDC. I didn’t dance until I dropped dead because I was saving energy for classes and Sunday night. I had no regrets!
One last thing to mention – the floorcraft was amazing! Even though it was London and it was packed, I was not hit badly and I don’t think I hit anyone badly … even though a ninja jump was involved (not performed by me though).
One of the main components of ESDC is hardcore competitions. I believe ESDC is one of the biggest, largest, hardest, bad-ass-est, most challenging and most important competitions in Europe.
There were 19 divisions and there were many very talented dancers! I am very proud of Brat Pack who placed 3rd in swing team showcase division! I don’t belong to them, I just know pretty much everybody in the team!
Also, congratulations to Simon Bressanelli and Bianca Locatelli for winning EuroStar award! They just got free passes to 40+ camps across the world. I also noticed that their surname endings are similar – ‘elli’. Perhaps, if I changed my name to Don Mazonelli, I could win EuroStart award … 😀
We also had “unofficial” shag contest and winners won a certain amount of pounds. Shag music is so fast, it’s crazy. ESDC will most likely have shag stream next year because of this contest’s success!
There were a few presentations but I could not make to any of them due to my workshops. I really wanted to hear them all and I hope that someone actually filmed them and will put on YouTube. I do apologise for that. I really wanted to hear how to solve conflicts in the swing community even though I probably wouldn’t get involved in any … or how to dance safely without hurting my knees. All the presentations were really good I am sure!
So to summarise this event, it was a true lindy hoppers’ paradise! The classes were top notch taught by top international teachers. Socials were amazing! Great floor, floorcraft, music, people, dancers, atmosphere, etc … Very tough and inspirational competitions. If you ask me whether I would recommend this event or not, I say yes, no matter where you live, ESDC is a must at least 3 times in lindy hopper’s life. And yes, I will be coming in 2016!
As you probably already know (or just now noticed), I am someone who loves selfies. However, there were lots of professional photographers. Take a look at photos taken by these people: Eric Esquivel, Tim Gee, Neil Nelson(1, 2, 3, 4), Katie Latter. I am sure more photos are coming soon!
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