*photo credit: Ian Bennett
Swing dance (a.k.a. Lindy Hop) is probably the dance for the love of my life – the combination of Big Band Jazz era music and dancing to those songs are simply the best thing to do for my happy feet.
The annual HK Swing Festival is the biggest event in town for Swingers (yes that how we say ourselves, dirty minds!) that usually held in late January. Starting from Friday evening and through the weekend, there are three nights of social dancing, six sessions of dancing workshops, dancing competition (Jack & Jill), dancing on a ferry and free tours around the city in just 50 hours!
In 2014, it attracts more than hundreds of like minded Swing dancers from all over the world. During those days, my only complaint was too little sleep and bit of unavoidable muscle cramps, but it really do no harm for the level of enjoyment in learning new moves and making new friends in the spirit of good music, food and drinks!
While the event is supposed to be organised for everyone to participate in everything, I found it particularly hard for me to do so, simply because it can be very energy demanding – easily dancing for 5 hours non-stop in the evenings, not to mention that there are afterparties and then classes starts again right after lunch. So here’s a share of how I not missed 87.333% of fun during the festival!
No. 1 FRIDAY NIGHT KICKOFF SOCIAL
Obviously this is the beginning of all funs and it’s a good opportunity to get warm up your moves and grooves! People from all over the world begin to arrive on this day and the dance floor is crowded with new faces. This year, the venue is our home/base/pod/hive of the Hong Kong Swings (we dance every Wednesday here), the legendary Grappa’s Cellar! I find it particularly meaningful in welcoming friends from overseas. Oh, the opening ceremony is pretty jaw droopingly amazing too (watch the clip from 2:55)!
Lion Dance is typical for opening ceremonies in Hong Kong.
Apart from Lion Dance, we have instructor’s jam in showing off how good they are!
This year we have: Henric and Joanna Stillman (Sweden), Thomas Blacharz (France), Alice Mei (France), Remy Kouame (France) and Moe Sakan (Japan), how wonder is that!
No. 2 SATURDAY NIGHT SOCIAL
My personal favourite is of course the dance on Saturday evening, which is the spotlight event of the whole festival! There are live band, dance performances and competitions that are absolutely amazing, not to mention that people are all dressed up in their very best to look gorgeous on the dance floor. This year, organisers are absolutely amazing in keeping our “spirit” and “energy” at all-time high! Feel flow of alcohol, sponge cakes, fruits and, you won’t believe this, ICE CREAM were served throughout the night! It does cool us off very well and I do think the ice cream is really a nice touch of it!
While I can’t tell you how beers and ice cream work for the magic, here’s a video of this year Jack and Jill competition to let you have a feel of what’s happening!
No. 3 Workshops
Needless to say, a great Swing Festival experience could not do without Workshops! This year, we have some of the very best dancers to teach us some really awesome moves! We were lucky to have: Henric and Joanna Stillman (Sweden), Thomas Blacharz (France), Alice Mei (France), Remy Kouame (France) and Moe Sakan (Japan).
Here are some of the clips on how good they are:
Henric and Joanna Stillman: http://www.youtube.com/embed/k5aSByqrmco
Thomas Blacharz and Alice Mei: http://www.youtube.com/embed/q-q4FIpICh8
Remy Kouame and Moe Sakan: http://www.youtube.com/embed/PTbwHUS1JrA
Missed the Ferry, 12.666% of Regret!
Most of the time, 87.333% precisely to say are happy time. My 12.666% regrets of it was missing the ferry on Sunday morning! See, dancing on a ferry is pretty amazing and dancing on one of those passenger ferry cruises along the Victoria Harbour is ONE BIG PIECE of memory that shouldn’t miss out AT ALL!!! Anyway, no point to cry over spilled milk, I was terribly tired that night before – nonstop dancing for like a good five hours or so. So no complaints for really can’t get up for the 0930 ferry. I am a Vampire Swinger!
So these are my takes for how I enjoyed the HK Swing Festival for this year. There will be another one next year so better be prepared! Here are some of the links that might help you to navigate better about the Hong Kong Swings and the HK Swing Festival. Hope to see you on the dance floor!
For more Swing Dancing Festival and Exchange, you can find it in Swing Plan It, http://www.swingplanit.com.
Finally, a funny promotion video to watch!