What Makes A Good Swing Dance Event?

Credit to Marsha G. Butler
Credit to Marsha G. Butler

Ever since I became aware of swing dance exchanges and workshops, I immediately compiled a list of events over the next year, asking any dancer I came across for recommendations. And although that list has changed drastically since I started (what with long standing events retiring and new ones popping up left and right), the one that has always been top three most recommended is DC Lindy Exchange.

Now as luck would have it, this event was ALWAYS (and still is as of 2014) the weekend before Florida State’s finals’ week. So there was no way as a student I could attend. But now that I am graduated adult(ish), I saw my opportunity!

I am so glad that I finally got to attend this amazing event.

It has been a very long time since I’ve been to an event that is just an exchange. Just dancing. Just good music. Just people under one roof coming together for the sole purpose of enjoying swing dance together. No classes, no performances. There wasn’t even a Jack & Jill, which nowadays is a rarity.

Credit to Jerry S. Almonte
Credit to Jerry S. Almonte

Looking back over 2013, I went to two events out of TWELVE that fit that description.

It’s difficult to describe what makes an event stand out, especially now that we seem over saturated with events, making it harder to pick which ones to attend. I have gone on record numerous times that Amsterdam Lindy Exchange is my all time favorite event and I stand by that. And it makes me sad that I cannot attend for a third year in a row.

But damn if DCLX didn’t put a good fight. If anything, I’d say it’s the American equivalent of the Amsterdam Exchange.

I think Jerry Almonte said it best:

I think the ultimate test for the quality of a dance event is how much fun one can have at it without dancing. I hurt my foot awhile ago, so I couldn’t dance, but I still had an amazing time DJ’ing and taking photos at DCLX. Even without doing my small part, the music was incredible from beginning to end. I spent most of my weekend entranced by the skill and showmanship of some of the finest musicians in the country, and the rest of it catching up with old friends and recent acquaintances.

Credit to Jerry S. Almonte
Credit to Jerry S. Almonte

For now, I’ll just say we need more of THESE events. Events that celebrate the people and the cities that they’re in. Because that’s why we all do what we do in the end.

5 thoughts on “What Makes A Good Swing Dance Event?

  1. I can attest to Amsterdam Lindy Exchange being awesome (also a little bit because that’s where I met Nicole of course 😀 ) These days it is known as Lindy Swop and if you are on your way up to herrang it’s definitely worth checking out!

  2. The events I’ve had the best memories of have been blues events, and hands down my favourite was European Blues Invasion. I loved the sense of community and acceptance the organisers fostered, and I really appreciated the dance culture they encouraged, which was informed by ideas of consent and respect. They also had an explicit Safe Space policy included in their welcome pack, which I would love to see at more dance events, including Lindy Hop and Balboa weekends,

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