It is so difficult to take pictures in Herräng because you are usually too busy being a part of whatever’s happening, you don’t have time to think about your camera!
Every week in Herräng ends on Friday with a big themed party. The end of Week 2 was Winter Wonderland. At first when I heard this I thought “wow, what a lame theme, what can you possibly do with that?” My answer now is, “never underestimate the ingenuity of Lindy Hoppers.”
My second week (Week 3) in Herräng proved the saying “nothing is all bad or all good” one hundred times over. Coming off my volunteer shift left me with ample free time, allowing some events that I had pushed to the back of my mind to surface. Coupled with some very stressful auditions for the Lindy track, I quickly became aware how little I actually wanted to dance with other people. Plus, there was so much negativity towards the audition process and the level of the dancers in each level, that I knew I couldn’t stay there.
And, if you don’t mind, allow me to get on my soap box for just one second:
You go to classes to LEARN something, not for validation.
Okay. I’m done now.
I ended up at Comment Corner at the end of my first day almost in tears, explaining my situation and they graciously let me switch to Authentic Jazz, allowing me to work on my solo dancing, not having to worry about always being a good partner for my lead. A huge weight off my shoulders, plus I got to have class with the wonderful Nienke from Utrecht. All in all, an excellent decision.
On Tuesday, I had a private lesson with the amazing Sylvia Sykes. I got some amazing feedback and made some serious steps into improving my Lindy. (A special thank you to David for being my dummy for the lesson. 😉 ) And then Sylvia and I bonded over sloths and how cute they are! Basically, we’re best friends.
The teachers for the Authentic Jazz track were amazing, some I had never even had before, but some all too familiar. While he didn’t recognize me from two years ago (and I certainly don’t blame him), it was a joy to see Chester Whitmore again. (I had the pleasure of staying with the same host as him during Atlanta Varsity Showdown 2010 and believe when I say he is a force of nature. If you ever have the chance to sit down and talk to him, just sit back and listen to his stories. You’ll walk away with the biggest smile on your face.
Another face that was a joy to see again was the ever glamorous Dawn Hampton. This was the third time I’ve gotten to see your talk and it blows me away every time. And this time I even got to dance with her! Friends of mine have pictures and one even took a small video(!), so hopefully I’ll be able to share those in a later post. For now, all I say is that I am so amazed that I’ve been able to witness this woman’s passion for the Lindy community. I wish her all the love, wealth and health in the world.
Of course, Herräng is not all about being starstruck or classes. The community itself thrives here and although I’ve only been here for two short weeks, I’ve made some amazing friends that have boon in the harder parts of this week.
During my volunteer week, it was Justa, a sweet girl from Lithuania, who I became very close to very quickly. And then there was Suniel, Florian, Emma, Khan, Ben, Kendra, Jenna, and just too many others to name. All I can say is thank you for the dances, for the support, for everything, which isn’t enough, but if you ever find yourselves in New York City… 😉
The end of Week 3 ended with party with the theme of Haunted Hus (Swedish for house, for you non-Swedes out there). And it was awesome! I got to tear up a shirt, get bloodied up, had a gaping wound on my stomach, took part in two Thriller performances and I have absolutely no pictures because I was just having too much fun. Hopefully other friends will eventually post their pictures so I’ll be able to show them here later. But until then, I’ll just leave it to your imagination.