Every year between Christmas and New Year's Eve, a bunch of swing dancers hole themselves up in a hotel in North Carolina and all there is to do is take dance classes and dance all night. It's a bit of a timewarp back to the 1930's when there was no TV and all there was to do was go to live bands and dance in giant ballrooms. This camp is known as Lindy Focus, and last year was its 17th year.
Every day the dancers get to wake up, and are treated to a smorgasbord of dance classes of every style, shops selling vintage clothing and accessories, and more bacon than you can throw a toaster at. Then during the evening they get to dance til sunrise, watch competitions, and listen to the best swing music the world has to offer.
So without further ado, here are the top 10 Reasons to Love Lindy Focus, and why you should go, taken from Lindy Focus XVII.
1. The Lindy Hop
It has the Lindy Hop. And lots of it! You can take classes, learn the history and the routines, meet the best international teachers, and watch competitions.
2. The Music
Lindy Focus has access to some of the best live swing music in the world. For five nights they have the musical talents of one of the world's greatest swing orchestras, Jonathon Stout and his Orchestra, who recreate the sounds of yesteryear with all the virtuosity and colour as if they were the real thing! Last year, every night was dedicated to one of the great swing bands of the era, including Jimmie Lunceford, Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, and the one featured in this video, Lionel Hampton (the music and dancing start at 6:25! Don't try to watch the whole thing, it's 2.5 hours long!)
3. The Music and Dancers are One!
The thing that sets Lindy Focus apart from every other swing camp in the world is focus on the importance of music and the musicians to the scene. Lindy Focus knows that without the musicians the dance could not happen. They create a place where where every one that has a role in the swing phenomenon can be acknowledged, valued, and shared to the next generation. Just as there are streams for dancers, there are streams for musicians as well! And like the best education institutions, it gives the musicians real performance experience by getting them to play for the dancers. What an exciting final exam! Last year, the musicians named themselves the Magnolia Room Stompers, and you can hear their great playing in the video (mind you, they're probably all great swing dancers too!)
It's not all about the Lindy Hop, people love to dance the Balboa as well, and all sorts of other dancers!
5. The Blues
Because the Lindy Hop isn't the only dance with a definite article. You might want to take off your glasses for this one, it can get steamy!!!
6. The Shops
Vintage merchants flock to Lindy Focus to sell their wares. Get the latest and greatest dance shoes, buy accessories from hair flowers, ties, and cufflinks, browse the many vintage dresses and suits, and get a massage after a long nights dance!
7. Solo Jazz
The new favourite for swing dancers everywhere is the fantastic musicality of solo jazz!
8. The Greats perform for You!
There are great dancers who come to Lindy Focus and join in the fun, like LaTasha, who knocked the house down with her sparkly performance. You get treated to many performances including a New Years Eve show where professional Swing Dancers present a variety show of the fascinating and the insanely fast!
We all love Jo, the queen of swing. Here, the two goddesses Laura and Jo break out a casual little dance they probably spent 5 minutes working on. Oh to be this good!
10. It's New Years!
What better way than to bring in the New Year with the best music, social dancing, and let-yourself-go fun in the world!
If you want to watch the full four hours of the New Years Eve dance, follow this link, or watch from 3:57:00 for some great fun from the singer! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PjvHvYtiAk&t=5398s If you want to experience it yourself, you know what to do ...
Azza is a lifelong swing dancer, the founder of Swingtopia Dance in Perth, Western Australia, and a lover of Bubble Tea. Sign in to comment below, or send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.