The 2010 Herrang International Dance Camp has finally come to a close.
I'm sitting in the bar of the Folketshaus, the heart of the Herrang Dance Camp, surrounded by dancers grabbing breakfast before catching busses to the airport or to Stockholm. Meanwhile a small army of volunteers is dismantling the entire camp to return it to the relative banality of the town hall and local school.
Last night was a masquerade ball around the theme "Noah's Ark." We were invited to dress as an appropriate animal to be "paired up" with on the ark.
I was a bit stymied about what to wear to the "Noah's Ark" party, I must say. After consulting friends and visiting a couple of costume shops, I decided that I really wanted to be a beautiful butterfly, with irridescent green wings, purple antenna, and a matching lime green disco shirt. Yes, I'm that confident in my masculinity.
When I arrived at the event, I kind of felt like the one guy dressed as clown who arrives at what I thought was a costume party which turns out to be a formal ball. All I could see in the crowd were a couple of girls with some cat ears on, and one dude with a tiger print tee-shirt. Ah hell, I thought.
I found out about an hour later that I was just a bit early, as most of the costumed folks were waiting to get dressed up until much later. Whew!
The party began with a rousing performance by the four swing orchestra performance classes for an appreciative audience in the school area. It was impressive seeing what could be pulled together with just a few days of classes and practice among amateur musicians of various levels and backgrounds in jazz. At the close of the concert, the musicians led a New Orleans style "second line" from the school to the entrance to the folketshaus.
The revelers milled about in the folkethaus plaza putting the finishing touches on our costumes, taking pictures of each other, and finding matching animals.
Natalya, a lovely orange butterfly from Russia and I found each other and paired up for the contest later. Actually there were a remarkable number of insect themed costumes, from ladybugs to a swarm of bumblebees to an elaborate six-person centipede! One of my favorites was a couple from Seattle who were matching black spiders, with two pairs of fake arms attached to their backs that moved with their real arms very convincingly. Watching them dance together was hilarious.
The dance party began in earnest in the dance barn and the main ballroom. It was fun watching the various animals trying to dance together in their costumes. I felt for the people who had chosen heavy, non-breathable costumes like the guy in the gorilla outfit and the couple of penguins. And dancing with antenna and wings posed their own unique challenges. One cat I danced with kept whacking me with her tail when she spun!
Later there was an animal dance contest, that I entered with my matching butterfly Natalya. I have to say there isn't much you can do as a butterfly on the social dancefloor besides flap and flit around. The bunnies hopped, the chickens pecked, and the tigers pounced. But the clear winner was the centipede with six dancers all working together to do charlestons, the worm and jazz steps. So clever and cute!
I had a fun time social dancing afterwards with various folks still in my butterfly costume. The antenna and wings were a bit prohibitive, but certainly not as restrictive as many of the other costumes. My partners did find the flashing wings a bit distracting, so I had to take them off after awhile.
I actually spent much of the last night just hanging out with friends in the cafe and the bar. Many of us were exhausted from several weeks of work, dancing and classes. I savored just sitting and chatting with some of my favorite people until about six on the morning, and then slowly making my way home for a couple hours of sleep before preparing to depart the next day.
Good times, good times.