As the first post in this blog, I figure I’ll start off with something big: Rocktober.
Rocktober is one epic three-day weekend jam-packed fulled of wing dance workshops and social dances. In other words, it is every swing dancers dream.
Now, you might think that swing dancing is something that went out of style after the ’50s, but there is definitely still a swing culture, and it’s going strong.
I began swing dancing about a year ago when I discovered the Jitterbug Club at Ohio University in Athens. The swing scene in Athens used to be hoping (pun intended) years ago, but it slowly died down until about two years ago when Alicia Gooding and Ben Ashman restarted the Jitterbug Club. It took a while, but the Athens scene is well on its way to its former glory and word is already spreading.
Rocktober is hosted by SwingColumbus, a group based out of Columbus, Ohio that is known throughout the Midwest. This swing dance spectacular was held October 15-17 and drew people from as far away as Detroit, Michigan.
The instructors this year were fantastic, Kevin St. Laurent and Jo Hoffberg certainly know how to work the Lindy Hop and are internationally renown competitors. Their enthusiasm for dance is surpassed only by Jo’s wit and banter with Kevin and Jo’s sound effects when demonstrating an aerial.
Patrick Szmidt and Natasha Ouimet are anther set of fantastic dance partners that celebrities in the world of swing. They hail from Montreal, Canada and both have been dancing for years and know how to relay technique to their students. They recently worked with dancers from the Cirque du Soleil. Now that’s what I call some serious talent.
John Tigert and Caitlin Baird were the fantastic instructors that taught the beginner track.
There’s one thing I’ve noticed about swing dancers and that is the variety of people. People who otherwise have nothing in common are drawn together through their love of music and dance, creating an electrified atmosphere of silliness and sexiness.
Swing dancing is all about having a good time, meeting new people and dancing like no one’s watching.
So, if you’re wanting to step out of your box and try something new, look into your local swing scene. It’s a sure-fire way to meet fantastic people and experience a piece of history first hand. And, if all this hasn’t convinced you, maybe this demonstration will: