Excuse Me While I Gush

30 May

I went back to Seattle last week (causing my posting schedule to go off the rails, I’m just about caught up 🙂 ) partially to see my family and partially (okay, mostly) to participate in a super awesome event I’ve been wanting to attend for about three years now: CAMP JITTERBUG.

Last year, I was in Barcelona. The year before that, I was visiting a friend in Los Angeles. But this year, finally, I was able to be in Seattle for Memorial Day Weekend.

I got my ticket as a Christmas present, so I’ve been waiting for this weekend for months. 

Friday night, I drove down to Benaroya Hall, where the Jump Session Show took place. Having not danced since Christmas break, watching the amazing swing/jazz/tap/break (yes, really) dancers had me itching to get up and move. I could hardly wait to shake the dust off my swing-out.

Then the show ended, all 400-plus of us obsessed dancers headed out to the lobby, and the music came on. With my brand-new Keds (I threw away the last pair in Herräng) on, I got out on the floor and danced.

It’s like riding a bike. It came right back, down to the swivels. Which, by the way, are ridiculously fun. It didn’t feel like it had been 4.5 months. I was way out of dancing shape, but I just wanted to keep going. Pretty soon, they opened up the stage for more dancing, with live music. It was crowded and hot and an incredible experience.

Saturday, I auditioned. I’ve never had my dancing judged before, but I got out on the floor and danced with a ton of different people and waited to get my wristband while trying to ignore that some fantastic dancers were judging me. I made Advanced. (Beginner, Intermediate, Intermediate Plus, Advanced, Advanced Plus, Masters). So that was pretty fantastic.

Then for classes. A swing dance class is difficult to describe. Basically, you stand in a huge circle, rotate partners, and learn something. Sometimes it’s a new move (which is kind of annoying, because that doesn’t help follows at all). Sometimes it’s styling. In one of my classes, we spent the entire time working on the basic, and it was AWESOME. In another, we learned a solo jazz routine from a guy with a huge background in dance (if you know anything about dance: he learned from the Nicholas Brothers. If you don’t: he helped choreograph Thriller) Classes went from 11 – 5 on Saturday and Sunday.

Then, back home, for a few hours. To eat and rest (four hours of dancing is exhausting) briefly, before pulling those Keds back on and heading back downtown. 

8:30 – midnight, dance at Temple de Hirsch. 1 am – 5 am (although I only stayed until about 2:30, I’ll do better next time) dance at Century. 

On Saturday, I couldn’t find parking and didn’t get there until eleven, so I didn’t get much dancing in. But on Sunday, I think I sat out five songs in three hours. It was incredible.

You meet so many cool people while swing dancing, and such a huge variety of people. Jitterbuggers ranged from high school age to people in their sixties, and everyone dances together. I’m at a point where I’m good enough to dance with just about anyone, but I still have soooooo much to learn. And I could dance for the next forty years and never stop getting better.

On Monday, we had elective classes (way fun) and then the goodbye dance. The weekend flew by, yet it felt like it lasted forever. 

I made some awesome new friends. I saw old friends who I missed terribly. I had some of the best dances I ever have. I avoided a dance creeper (there’s always one). And I had an extraordinary time.

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One Response to “Excuse Me While I Gush”

  1. Emily Slater June 2, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    This is lovely! Hopefully next year I will finally make it!

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