Why do people come to Herrang? It's remote and hard to get to, over-crowded, hot, and full of mosquitos. There are many other camps, workshops, exchanges and dance events that occur all around the US, Europe and other parts of the world all year. And yet Herrang is still the gold standard of lindy hop events that swing dancers aspire to go to.
One reason people come here is to have their minds blown, to be exposed to and inspired by a level of dance that they have never experience before.
Yesterday I had a class with Ryan and Jenny Francois, two foundational figures in the modern lindy hop movement. I've long been a fan of their work, but haven't taken many classes with them before. The actual choreography they taught us was quite difficult for me, but that was nothing compared to the technique.
Ryan and Jenny were trying to show us new ways to think about our bodies and how they interact with each other dynamically on the dancefloor. Ryan and Jenny lead and follow with such strong frames and clear lines that is both beautiful to watch and very hard to emulate.
I feel like I know a few things about having a strong frame and using clear and aesthetically pleasing lines. But compared to Ryan and Jenny, it's like they are doing a completely different dance at a totally different level.
Yesterday was also the show put on by the camp every week. Given the volunteer, grassroots nature of the camp, the quality and professionalism of the show is quite impressive. Of course, the dancing and singing is fantastic, as expected. But the plot — a musical comedy taking place in New York City in the 1930s — was really clever and funny. The use of lighting, vintage video footage, and homegrown stage effects added a lot to the show.
At the finish, there's a loving reference to the late Frankie Manning in the play that had us gasping and sniffling.
It's just amazing that this kind of production was put on by lindy hoppers specifically for other lindy hoppers.
After the show was the late night dance. The Rhythm Brothers, a swing band composed of an international crew of lindy hoppers, performed in the library to a packed audience. Meanwhile seperate dances occurred in the Dance Barn and the main upstairs dance floor.
And before I knew it, it was 4am. I biked home as the sun was already peeking above the horizon! Such a great third day here.
[NOTE: this post is actually from Monday August 2, but I haven't gotten around to doing any internet time until now — Tuesday afternoon. So you know I've been busy!]