London Swing Festival, 26th-30th May

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London Swing Festival, 26th-30th May

Posted: 11/05/2011 17:31:11

Festival highlights:

· London Jitterbug Championships: see the best swing dancers compete in a great showcase of talent
· 500 dancers will swing out live in Spitalfields Market in a bid to appear at the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony
· After just two years in London Swing Patrol celebrates teaching 600 students per week across the capital
· With the burgeoning vintage scene going from strength to strength, swing dancing is fast becoming the activity of choice for young Londoners
· Swing dancing is a great way to keep fit...and so much more fun than the gym!

The big band era is back, the popularity of swing dancing is growing fast and London is celebrating with this year’s London Swing Festival, on 26-30th May.

The festival will host international lindy hoppers for a weekend of dancing and competition. LSF will also showcase of the ‘best of the best’ in the London Jitterbug Championships on 27th May.

Spectators are invited to come and watch the Championships, an adrenaline-filled night, where anyone from top dancers to newbies will perform in a thrilling display of talent and the warmth and fun of the swing dancing scene.

Pippa Tooher, Swing Patrol events manager, said: 'We're really excited to be hosting such a fantastic event, the likes of which London has never seen. This year's London Swing Festival is going to be a great experience for dancers and spectators alike.'

Heats will include Jack and Jill, Like a Virgin (for first-time competitors), Fast and Furious and Balboa as well as group heats where a fun, crazy community of Londoners and international dancers cheer their peers for championship glory.

Hundreds of dancers will also be swinging out live for East London during the day at Spitalfields Market on Friday 27th and Monday 30th May in a bid to appear at the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.

Brainchild of Australian Scott Cupit, co-director of Swing Patrol, the bid is one of his ambitious plans to share the dance he loves, where five hundred dancers will simultaneously perform a choreographed routine for the public in the hope of catching the organisers’ eyes.

Scott has had great success down under with his dance school, travelling the world to teach, and choreographing Natalie Lowe’s swing routine in Come Dancing Australia.

Having moved to London in 2009, in only two years Swing Patrol is teaching 600 pupils per week in the capital and has successfully built a vibrant young community of dancers. He also appeared on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth in Antony Gormley’s One and Other installation.

Scott said: “I still feel so privileged that I make a living doing what I love so much: dancing!”

Swing dancing, or the Lindy Hop, dates back to the 1920s. From the early days of the Charleston, the grandfather of Lindy Hop, through to the 1940s the dance was a great way for young people to express themselves.

Now, with the burgeoning vintage scene in London and the resurgence in dance popularity, swing dancing is once again providing a great option for young people. Where East Londoners’ nights were dominated by the repetitive electronic strains of techno beats, and swing music was an alien concept to many club owners, now swing nights are popping up all over the city.

The revival of this fun, addictive dance has seen Londoners travel the world for international dance camps like LSF. This year’s festival is the first event to take place in the newly renovated Bishopsgate Institute in Spitalfields, with classes and balls under one roof throughout the weekend.

Gordon Webster, ‘one of the most sought-after musicians in the Lindy Hop world’ is providing the weekend’s soundtrack, back by popular demand as musical director.

During the festival, world-class learning by six international teaching teams from across the globe will precede swing balls and late night after parties with social dancing into the early hours.

Visitors are welcomed to Swing Patrol’s second annual festival by the Ahoy Ball on 26th May, dancing the night away while travelling the Thames by boat. This event is perfect for dancers and non-dancers alike, an opportunity to dance with, meet or just watch an international community of lindy hoppers swinging the night away.

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