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Archive for August 2014

Thursday, 28th August, 2014

Swing On The Beach 2014 – ITALY

During August approximately 26 dancers from JiveSwing attended Swing On the Beach, a popular swing dance festival on the beach of Pescara, Italy.  The event featured a line of top Bands, performing on the beach, including the Polka Dot Dolls, from the UK, which features dancers from JiveSwing.

Some of the 26  JiveSwing Dancers – Hanging in out in a bar opposite the beach.

The weekend also featured workshops, by a wide range of teachers, including JiveSwing’s very own Joseph & Charlotte, alongside Alison Marsh and Alex Gall, who all took part in several improvised demos.

Teachers Jam, featuring Joseph & Charlotte, Alison & Alex. Photo courtesy of Abruzzo Swing Dance Society, Italy.

Dancers came from all over Italy and other countries, to descend on this unspoilt beach, with the most amazing restaurants, Gelateria and coffee shops. The atmosphere in the evenings was awesome, particularly the after parties, which continued in the small hours of the morning, once the main acts on the beach, had finished.

 photo courtesy of Abruzzo Swing Dance Society, Italy.

However, when the after party finished on Sunday Night (actually 4:30AM on Monday), the desperate dancers, took to the streets to dance outside a crepe stand. An amazing time was had by all and it seems, the JiveSwing gang will all be going back again, next August..

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Monday, 4th August, 2014

Charlie’s Angels with Len Goodman at Cafe de Paris

Last Friday fellow Charlie’s Angels members Fiona, Megan and I headed to the spectacular London venue of Café de Paris for an exciting and fun-filled day of Charleston dancing, with none other than Head Judge of Strictly Come Dancing – Len Goodman!

We were there to dance in the glamourous finale of an upcoming BBC documentary on the history of social dancing, co-presented by Len and Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, Lucy Worsley.

It was an early start for a flapper girl, arriving in Piccadilly Circus at 9:15am with vintage hairdos and fancy dresses at the ready. I must have looked a little out of place among the morning commuters as presenter Lucy and make-up artist Issidora spotted me at a busy crossing and, asking if I was one of the Charleston dancers, kindly accompanied me to the venue.

Whilst the entrance to Café de Paris is fairly inconspicuous, the inner décor is oozing with glamour, and as the sounds of the hustle and bustle of weekday London subsided, I felt like I’d stepped back in time – I could tell it wasn’t going to be difficult to get into character!


Charlie’s Angel’s Dancers – Kate, Megan and Fiona

Once inside the sumptuous ballroom I quickly met up with Fiona, Megan and a host of other friendly dancers all eagerly waiting to see what was in store for us over the next few hours. The brief was to recreate and capture the “dance craze” atmosphere of the 1920s Charleston. Lead by Darren Royston and his Nonsuch History and Dance group, we were incorporated into a choreographed dance sequence, with Len and Lucy taking centre stage for a partnered spotlight.

After several run-throughs it was time to don our flapper dresses for a full dress rehearsal. The production company’s costume designer ran around adding the finishing touches – a bow-tie here, a feathered headdress there – and soon we were all bedecked in a gorgeous array of Charleston costumes. As we filed back into the ballroom to rehearse and film with the live band, it really did feel like we’d been transported back to the roaring 20s, it was a wonderful feeling!

I have to admit, having come from a ballroom dancing background, and being a HUGE fan of Strictly Come Dancing, I was more than a tad excited to be dancing alongside Len Goodman! And I was even more excited when Fiona plucked up the courage to ask for a photo with him, which he happily agreed to. It will definitely be going up on my wall!

But without a doubt the highlight of the day was in meeting and spending time with an incredibly fun and friendly group of people brought together by our love of vintage dance. It was certainly a day to remember and I can’t wait to see the series when it airs!

By Kate Whittington

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