Jazzworks began the night with a lively set. Often working with Swing Dance Society, this is a collaborative group of musicians from throughout the town. Tonight seven members were present. I was told that they hold open jam sessions every Tuesday at Golf Place and will definitely be dropping by there after the break!
A “California Routine” was followed by two PhD students from Edinburgh. Sebastian and Julie, two members of Edinbug, had been invited to show off their blues dancing. They romped their way through a fun and improvised routine, leaving all impressed. It was especially interesting to hear how both had “sort of fallen into” swing dance. When asked what the worst thing about the hobby was, Sebastian proceeded to show me his shoes, which were being held together with duct tape!
Fresh from the Voice Festival the previous weekend, the ever-lovely Hummingbirds then dropped by with their now standard set including Marry You, King of Anything, Happy Endings and Like A Prayer.
Laurence Vandervoot, Kristiyana Kalcheva and Dominyka Urbonaite then perfomed a “steal dance”. This was an entertaining piece, in which the two girls battled to dance with the one boy. This really highlighted the fact that swing dance is not just about the moves; it tells a story.
There was also a raffle with prizes including swing dance lessons and masterclasses, along with chocolate, wine and tickets to their flagship event later in the semester, 600 Minutes of Swing.
Pennies From Heaven just happened to fall on President Laura Price’s birthday, so this was then commemorated with a jam circle. (This was hastily explained as a special dance in which the birthday boy or girl is placed in the centre of a circle of dancers who then take it in turns to steal dances with him or her). It looked to be great fun and led nicely into Jazzworks returning to play some more.
During the next portion of the evening, social dancing, I managed to grab a few words with the President and Vice President of the Society. Laura and Dominyka explained how this evening was a fundraiser leading up to 600 Minutes of Swing, but the main aim of the event was just to have a good night.
A major part of the evening focused on something very special; two tickets were to be given away for Herrang. This is the largest annual dance camp, famous for 24-hour dancing. The camp takes place in Sweden and has been described as a once in a lifetime opportunity, so all present were really excited about the ticket allocation. It was decided that the winners of the following Jack’n’Jill competition would win the tickets. This competition was all about having fun with the dance and was judged by the aforementioned special guests, Sebastian and Julie. However, there was a surprise entrance in the form of a couple from Blind Mirth.
The rest of Blind Mirth then appeared to give the judges a chance to deliberate. With sketches including the life cycle of a snail and the creation of Mickey Mouse, everyone was laughing.
For me, this was a hugely enjoyable event, due to the atmosphere, people and activities. Not only was this a showcase of what the St Andrews Swing Dance scene had to offer, but also a chance to let you hair down. Everyone was really inclusive, even though I have two left feet! I would strongly recommend checking out 600 Minutes of Swing later this semester!