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London Swing Festival

Posted on June 1, 2012


The third annual London Swing Festival is now in, ahem, full swing until June 3. The Bishopsgate Institute, London, EC2M 4QH, will be the venue will be used for the majority of the workshops and social dances that take place over the next three days. It doesn’t matter if you’re new, experienced, shy, brave, suave, goofy or crazy – the festival’s doors are open to all.

The backbone of London Swing Festival is made up of workshops, which will be led by dancers such as Vincenzo Fesi and Isabella Gregorio, William Mauvais and Maéva Truntzer, Remy Kouakoe Kouame and Moe Sakan, Scott Cupit and Trisha Sewell and Cam Mitchell and Loz Yee. Many of the teachers have traversed the globe to give festivalgoers the finest introduction to swing dancing you can get. 

All the swing rhythms will be on the agenda – eight-beat, six-beat and Charleston, and if that’s all too familiar, there’ll be some solo jazz for you to sink your feet into.  The lessons will take place in the upper hall of the Bishopsgate Institute, while the true spirit of swing dancing will be found at the social dances, taking place every night. 

The London Jitterbug Championships (LJC) will be held at the Bishopsgate Institute on June 1. Some of the finest dancers from all over Europe will compete against each other and there’ll be several disciplines to gawp at – Showcase, Strictly Lindy, Fast and Furious, All Balboa Jam, Solo Charleston and Open Jack and Jill. Even newbies can strut their stuff in a separate Up and Coming division. 

The biggest social dance of the festival will undoubtedly be the Best of British Ball, taking place at the Bishopsgate Institute on June 2. Themed to match the forthcoming Diamond Jubilee celebrations, guests will be encouraged to sport typically British attire for the evening. Special guest MC, famous actor and radio-personality Rufus Gerrard Wright, will be managing the microphone. He will be accompanied by the University of London Big Band, who will provide the beats for an extra-special floorshow. 

The final social dance will be the Sunday Send Off at the Bishopsgate Institute on Sunday, June 3. The Basin Street Brawlers will be rocking out the hottest stomps, rags and Dixieland tunes from the roaring 1920s. And for those who just won’t tire of swinging out, an after-party will go on until the early hours of the morning at Passing Clouds, 1 Richmond Road, London, E8 4AA.

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Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, was published last year in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

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