Disclaimer: Those of you who do not know me, I am Lithuanian and those who know me – you know I am a very honest man. I am so honest that if I had to choose to die or be dishonest, I rather die. At least then I can tell myself that I died as an honest man, right? OK, with that in mind, I wanted to tell you that even though I am very honest and completely unbiased therefore I will not sugar-coat this post.
Oh hi there, so last weekend I was very lucky to dance in my home-country – Lithuania at All Lithuanan Weekend 2017. I know I have taken a taster class in Plunge, Lithuania in July, 2016 but I can’t say that I had danced there properly. Now I can. Oh boy …. was it great? Absolutely!
So, first of all, I must admit how much I had missed Lithuania-brewed beer such as Kalnapilis. Very nice, light and tasty … my kind of beer, you know. I was also able to see couple things I never had a chance to see even though I lived in Lithuania for 16 years.
OK, let’s talk about the festival itself. Imagine being taught by Lithuanian elitest teachers … there were 22 Lithuanian teachers and you know they were great! There were many great dancers from Lithuania and other parts of Europe. I had a pleasure to meet some of them and dance with them. Total joy!
The solo jazz contest was crazy. I have never seen such format where you do prelims and then 8 of participants get elected to go to the next stage. Then 8 dancers split into 2 groups (randomly, by drawing red or black card). This is like team competition actually. The winners are split into 2 smaller groups (2 vs 2) and then, at the final stage, it’s 1 on 1. Oh blimey, they were all so cool, so playful, engaging with each other. C-R-A-Z-Y!
The venues were big enough for this many dancers. Floor-craft was nice. There was enough space for swing outs and stuff. The bar was cheap! 2.5 euro for a pint of beer. They even provided food on Friday and Saturday. Yes, I ate a lot. I was CRAVING … for dancing … oh and food, obviously. I know I probably sinned but I ate as late as eight (I ain’t no rap God but I can rhyme sometimes ;D ). OK, as late as 3:30 A.M., actually.
We had a few really good bands that were so good, it was a sin not to dance! We had Home Jazz Band (ft Milda Stasaityte), The Schwings (ft Migloko), The Shoekillers and Lithuanian Military Orchestra. The latter band had maybe 15-20 members and they were really good. All the bands were top notch and I truly enjoyed dancing to them.
Another amazing thing that I loved was the jam sessions on Sunday night. They started at 2 AM and it went on and on and on and on and on until 4:20-ish. The jam was so awesome, it was crazy! At one point, we probably had about 9 musicians improvising. A few couples dancing, a few people singing, etc … at around 4 AM, I felt like it was kind of a private concert when the number of musicians were equal to the number of people in the audience. Here’s the crazy part of the jam:
So, to sum this event up, I must admit that I truly enjoyed it and I will most likely come back next year for their 3rd (?) edition. Teachers, bands, dancers and atmosphere was absolutely astonishing.
What do I do after February? I March … to another 2 festivals – Harbour Hop 2017 in Rotterdam, Netherlands (March 10 – 12, 2017) and Ardent Swing Festival 2017 in Liege, Belgium (March 24 – 26, 2017).
I am certain you will see me dance somewhere in London as well.