Dance · Summer 2013

Through the Canals of Amsterdam

One year ago, my friend Katrina invited me to attend the Amsterdam Lindy Exchange and it was hands down my favorite event of 2012. So, when I learned I was returning to Europe, I knew I had to go back.

Reunited with Katrina, Maartje and David (yeah, he finally showed up again), we started off our weekend with the Friday afternoon dance, DJ’d by yours truly! I missed DJing so much and it was ridiculously fun and I got to place so many of my favorite songs, like Going to Lindy Land by Peter Davis or Ella Fitzgerald’s Drop Me Off In Harlem.

We had a bit of time between dances, but not enough to head back to Utrecht, so along with our new friend Erik (who I had met (apparently) at Smokeyfeet, though we were both hazy on the details) we found a nice Italian place.

Photo credit to Chantal Woltring
Photo credit to Chantal Woltring

And guys, I got to DJ the same dance that THE Gordon Webster! I can practically die happy now. (Just kidding, way to much to do, but the exaggeration fits my excitement for that moment.) This was my second time seeing Gordon live and he just blows me away. There’s something to be said for an excellent musician who is also a top notch performer, and Gordon is one of my all time favorites. The BEST rendition of I Like Pie, I Like Cake and I got punched in the face. Such a good night!

Saturday, my body was sore, but I was determined not to miss any more of the event than I already had. Katrina and I set out a bit early and eventually stumbled upon the Saturday afternoon picnic. It was something out of a picture book. (Think A Teddy Bears’ Picnic only with Lindy Hoppers.) They even brought their own floor!

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It was by this beautiful picturesque lake. And they served food and refreshments (the best being the pink mint lemonade. Yum). And there was this adorable tree full of clothes for a “lindy swop”. (I had to hold myself back. I definitely didn’t NEED more clothes.) And there was an excellent DJ talk where I got to discuss with other DJs about their methods and what they look for in songs. And the sun finally showed up!

The organizers had blankets spread out over the grass with trays of fruit under umbrellas for hungry dancers. It was so wonderful and everyone had so much fun, that the event ended only when they took the dance floor literally out from the dancers’ feet!

Katrina and I helped tear down as best we could before heading over to Erik’s host (who was nice enough to let us change our clothes) and then rushing to the city center for dinner before the main dance. We met another American, Lily from New York and found a relatively cheap Indian restaurant. I quickly bonded with Lily over NYC and now I have someone to help me scout out places in Brooklyn! (In fact, I met quite a handful of people from the Big Apple. Already my fears of being new in the City are starting to be assuaged.)

IMG_6083The Saturday dance theme was “speakeasy”, so we weren’t told where the dance was being held. Instead, we were told a password Friday night that we would have to tell “the man in the hat”, ladies would have to show their garter, men their flasks, in order to receive instructions to the secret location. Very well done, and super cute. The band, this time from Sweden, was amazing, and I had so many amazing dances. Also, it was wonderful to dance with David again, having been separated for over two weeks. We’re definitely growing as dancers and it’s so amazing and exciting to see the results!

When Sunday arrived, I could not contain my excitement. Because Sunday was the reason why this was (and still is!) my favorite event. We get boats (and a live band) and sail through the canals of Amsterdam, dancing to either live music or excellent DJs. And this year, if possible, was better than ever! The sun was out, the DJs were awesome, the band was swinging! I can’t possibly describe everything! So instead, here are some pictures for the gist of it:

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Photo credit to Indre Lauciute
Photo credit to Indre Lauciute

We arrived at the evening dance and just continued into the night. I got to play my last set of the weekend and could not have wished for a better audience of dancers. I was able to exchange contact information with all of my new friends and then, sadly, had to leave with thoughts of “how to attend next year” floating in my head. I would come back every year if given the chance. And if this summer has taught me anything, do not count anything out because you never know what will happen.

 

Extra

Also, I was featured in a fellow blogger’s website! I’m so honored that they chose me to represent my scene. And I’m so touched by all the people that contacted me following the articles publication. I love you all and I hope to continue my journey as a dancer and contributor to the global scene. Because God knows I cannot stop!

3 thoughts on “Through the Canals of Amsterdam

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