This is my second day at the Herrang Dance Camp in Sweden.
It's been three years since I've been here, and the camp has grown quite a bit in that time. The main outdoor dance floor seems about twice as big as before, they have added more tents for the daytime classes, and participation has increased so much they need three overflow rooms just to hold the evening general meetings. Clearly Herrang just continues to expand, along with the global lindy community.
It was a bit rough getting settled here, with various ridiculous problems including none of my three bank cards allowing me to take out money, losing and finding several important personal possessions, and wandering the streets of Herrang with a bike and two pieces of luggage trying to find my private accommodations. Operating on just a couple of hours of sleep, I was pretty damn frazzled by the evening of my first day here.
But walking into the first social dance and getting a hug from Dawn Hampton turned my mood right around. Being among several hundred lindy hop fanatics who once a year take over this little town in Sweden is pretty awesome. The first dance party was a lot of fun, getting to dance with folks from everywhere from Korea to Argentina till the early morning hours.
The next day, I headed over to my first set of classes in Herrang. My first stop was my "audition" for the advanced level classes.
One of the interesting aspects of being at a camp like this is that there are no set standards for who is "intermediate" and who is an "advanced" dancer, which can vary greatly from place to place. So you have to "audition" to get into the level you want, with various teachers watching you dance and then assigning you a number that determines whether you get to be in the classes of your choice.
It's a very inexact science. And a stressful exercise for a lot of dancers.
I'm I think a pretty solid advanced dancer. But having Frida Sagerdahl and Ryan Francois watching me dance and assign me a grade is still a bit nerve-wracking. That said, I made it into the "middle" advanced level in Herrang, which is higher than the level I was at last time I was here.
Our first classes were with Pontus and another Swedish dancer named Frida. They taught a fun, fast-lindy routine that was not too difficult. But the swingout variation was challenging for everyone I think. It involved increased emphasis on the one and the five counts of the swingout, which doesn't seem like a big change. But for someone like me who has been doing the swingout for more than ten years to mess with the emphasis on the counts is really going against some deep grain muscle memory.
Now I'm off to my last class of the day. This evening is the "show" that is put on by the locals that always is amazing. And then more dancing until the late night / early morning hours. Can't wait!