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There’s a first time for everything.  And truer words were never said when it comes to Illinois State University’s very first lindy exchange.

The seven hour drive was well worth it for the $5 I spent on admission.  Another $15 got me a t-shirt and there was the option of a barbeque as well for an additional $5.  $25 for a whole weekend of dancing, food and  a t-shirt?  That’s enough to make even the tightest of tightwads to squeal with excitement (myself included).

From billiards and bowling, to churches and parks, ISLX did it up right with a great variety of venues and a little help from Mother Nature on Saturday afternoon.

It took me a total of seven and a half hours to get to Illinois State University.  And what an interesting drive it was.  But after a quick pit-stop in Dayton, Ohio to hook up with some friends, I finally made it to the tail end of the Friday evening dance.  I was so stoked that it was right across from the CAMPUS BOWLING ALLEY (my school doesn’t have anything like that.  Just sayin’…..).  Missing the evening dance was a bummer, but my personal favourite part dancing is blues; and I have to say, Normal Illinois did not disappoint.  There was an ample amount of bluesing to satisfy even my tastes.  It was an astounding 4:30am before the crooners finally stilled their silver tongues.

After a grand total of four hours of sleep (and that’s estimating on the high side) we were back at it, swinging out at Constitution Trail.  And we could not have asked for a better day for dancing in a park.  The sun was shining, it wasn’t too hot or too cold and there was a great cement floor to dance on.  And food.  Of course, I can’t forget the food.  And the ISLX people were nice enough to accommodate even us vegetarians with veggie dogs and burgers.

in the middle of all the dancing, there were shouts to stop the music.  And the game commenced.  If you’ve never played Fire, Ice, Tornado, Earthquake, then you really need to head up to Illinois State and find out for yourself.  Let’s just say that it involved some freezing, jumping, dipping and shimmying.  Need I really go on?

A quick dinner break with my lovely hostess, Shalom, at Avanti’s and back at the dancing, this time to the jump blues band T-Bone Craig.  I was perfectly content to listen to their killer guitar riffs, I did get a little anxious to do a bit of Lindy partway through the night.

After the band played its last notes, some of the bluesiest blues music I’ve ever heard filled the air.  Props to the DJs, because you guys pulled out all the stops. There was even some vinyl.  Yes, you heard me correctly: someone DJed with REAL VINYL!

Another really late night and way too little sleep and we woke up and headed out on a rather rainy Sunday morning.  While not an official part of the exchange, a bunch of people caravanned over to a nearby corn maze.  I liked my sleep a bit too much to see this personally, but I heard tell that they had a bouncy castle.  Who says the only thing to do in a college town is party?

A few more DJed sets on the only red dance floor I’ve seen and it was time to say the final goodbyes and pile back into the car.

I’ve been to my fair share of Lindy exchanges, and this one took the cake in the inaugural category.  I never would have thought that a first-time exchange in the little town of Norma, Illinois could have drawn so many dancers from such different and far away places.  It helped that there already seemed to be a well established scene in the surrounding areas, like Peoria, but I spoke with multiple people who drove five plus hours to be there.

A personally, I think the thing that made the weekend for me was the spontaneity of it.  I wasn’t going to go, but Wednesday night I threw up my hands and said “Why not”.  And it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.

So kudos to you guys on the ISLX planning committee, you pulled off an absolutely fabulous weekend and I certainly hope to be there agian next year.


About Olivia

Vintage fanatic. Dancer. Armchair physicist. Polymath. Cat-killing curiosity. Wearer of many hats.

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