Lindy Hop Event Overviews
Shauna Marble posted this on Mar 08, 2012
We’ve been to so many events over the past three years. Wanna hear what we think? This was a quick “first-thoughts” for each. No offense intended for anyone! Invite us back to any of these and we will gladly come.
Heartland Swing Festival/Collegiate Jitterbug Championships - Des Moines, IA
This is our favorite event, 2 years running. Everyone is nice. Everyone smiles. We are happy every second we are at Heartland. We were so excited to make it to the instructor line-up this year, but even if we hadn’t, this would still be our favorite. Mikey and Eve do a great job planning, and the event runs smoothly. Because it’s an Amateur event, I believe a lot of the “snobby” factor goes away since everyone is on the same playing field. And that’s how it should be. 8 thumbs up for Heartland.
Nevermore Jazz Ball/St. Louis Swing Festival - St. Louis, MO
St. Louis was not our favorite city to visit, however, Christian and Jenny are great people, and had the best line-up of live music we have seen anywhere. We were both a bit under the weather, but just sitting and enjoying the music was an exceptionally good time. The venue was old and housed Ella Fitzgerald and several famous big bands, so had a unique feeling to it.
Hawkeye Swing Festival - Iowa City, IA
What we enjoyed at Hawkeye was that it isn’t too large of an event. We could have a good time, compete hard, but it wasn’t too crowded so we could really swing-out. The college-town feel is always fun for us, too. We love and highly encourage the college towns to get people dancing.
The Rhythm is Jumpin’ - Kansas City, MO
Oscar’s event had a unique Invitational J/J for “upcoming” dancers, rather than the instructors. We enjoyed that, and enjoyed the heavy-duty competition that was there for the Strictly. The venue was too small for all the dancers that were there, however, most of the dancers were prepping for contests and happy to socialize since so many midwesterners were there.
Midwest Lindyfest - Minneapolis, MN
It’s hot, it’s humid, and the room is small, but you compete, you throw-down, you get sweaty, and you know you’re in the Midwest for some lindy hopping goodness! For this event, I especially enjoy the show they put on. It’s worth coming in a little bit early on Friday for it. Had I not broken 3 toes last spring, I was going to do a Tap routine! We made some of our now closest lindy hop friends at MWLF.
Pirate Swing - Ann Arbor, MI
If you want a weekend to just dance your heart out, just for the pure love of dancing, and you like both blues and lindy hop, this event was fun. It was just fun! Everyone was nice. We really like that. Everyone had a good time. And we made pirate noises while teaching, and could use fun phrases like “hook-tate.” What more could we ask for as guest instructors?
International Lindy Hop Championships - Washington, D.C.
Nina and this crew have this down to a science. This is a huge contest weekend. You see the best dancers. You see them do some incredible dancing. And then you stay up late and do your own incredible dancing. You can’t get this environment at any other event, and because there are so many people there, and so many of them good, it can get intimidating and we aren’t ever sure where we fit in! But, the size also makes it okay for us to have our own room and do our own thing throughout the weekend, which we are totally okay with. We brought Boston and Tyler with us last year (ages 6 and 8), and they enjoyed watching the teams and Showcases contests, and competed in the juniors. Make sure you stick around for juniors on Sunday before awards.
Lindy Focus - NC
Lindy Focus is somewhat hard for us. We aren’t party people. We aren’t big drinkers. Hmmmm….. We do, however, love dancing, and you do a lot of dancing at Focus. But it’s intermixed with lots of partying and socializing, so a little bit hard to catch everyone you want to dance with. It was great to catch a few instructors for privates during the week. We also enjoyed spending a week on the east coast and relaxing, and having some time to ourselves. We got our own room, and spent a majority of our time planning our competition year, getting choreography done, and making lesson plans for the groups we teach. So we can’t say it didn’t “focus” us. We were focussed. The contests cater to more advanced dancers, and there’s no lower divisions to enter, so keep that in mind when registering for contests.
Camp Hollywood/National Jitterbug Championships - Los Angeles, CA
The competitions are very well organized. This event has a long reputation. Shauna has been to maybe 5 Camp Hollywoods over the last 10 years, and it’s a very consistent event. We brought the kids with us, who were welcome to come watch us compete, but we did not attend the evening dances, so can’t comment on the overall event from that perspective.
Boogie by the Bay - San Francisco, CA
This is a fun crossover event, primarily focussed on West Coast Swing. Carla does a good job making the lindy hoppers feel welcome, as does Andy Bowman, and they always have a dance room just for Lindy Hop and Balboa. They do late-night last minute contests that everyone can participate in, and I enjoy that. We like that the event is super small as far as lindy hoppers go, but super huge overall, so there isn’t a lot of expectation for us to to be anywhere with a certain group. We could enjoy San Fran, hang out at the hotel, compete hard-core (the contests are very well planned out and run like clockwork. Gotta hand it to the Westies for that), then we really wanted to hang out all night and dance with everyone! So we only have positive things to say about BBB.
Camp Jitterbug - Seattle, WA
We went to CJ before we were ready. We had just started competing, and we had no idea what we were getting into. There’s only division for contests, so you have to be ready to throw-down with the best lindy hoppers in the world at this event. We vowed to not go back again until we were “ready.” The event is huge. It’s crowded. But! There are so so so many dancers there. What we should have done is just sit back and watch everyone dance, because the number of good dancers there was amazing, and they all start dancing together and lots of magical things happen right next to you. Pretty cool. If you aren’t ready to compete there, just go and dance, take amazing classes, and watch the pros. You can always compete when you’re ready like we hope to do.
505 Stomp - Albuquerque, NM
We love NM! These cats are so fun. Peter and Naomi made everyone feel really welcome at the event, and made it feel very intimate. We all felt like we belonged there. I also enjoyed learning that Nina and I both watched In Living Color when we were younger, and aspired to be Fly Girls. The start of my Nina obsession.
Albuquerque Lindy Exchange - Albuquerque, NM
Ditto for this one. Love Albuquerque. It’s a good time. We actually felt more of the intimacy at the 505 competition weekend that at the exchange which is interesting. They have competitions at the exchange, which gives it a slightly different feel, and there was a little bit of a disconnect at the dances between competitors and non, but we still had a great time.
Lone Star Championships - Austin, TX
The quality of dancers is very high. Competitions also really good. And we like that they offered comps for different levels of dancers. We brought several students with us, several who made finals in the lower levels, and we celebrated with them. There was different vibe at Lone Star than we get at some other events. We couldn’t quite decide what it was. We danced, we competed, we celebrated with our students, and then we went home.
Lindy on the Rocks - Denver, CO
If you missed last year, Glenn Crytzer (that was my idea by the way… I used to work for Caryn, and sometimes she listened to me! This time it paid off) and The Careless Lovers were off the charts. 2011 brought a dinner-show to Saturday night’s line-up. With a few refinements and earlier planning, this will be a really fun tradition for an already huge and awesome competition weekend.
Lindy Diversion - Denver, CO
We love Diversion. No contests, happy people, great music from Gordon Webster (that guy has mad skills, and when Stephen Mitchell jumps up to sing, it’s an unbeatable pair for live music), and great dancing. Just come for the music. Sit and watch if you want. I don’t care if you dance. You’ll still feel you got your money’s worth.
Intercollegiate Swing Battle - Denver, CO
We love us some swing battle. Take a bunch of Colorado colleges plus maybe a few from surrounding states, and it’s like a mini Heartland Swing Festival. The college teams always have fun routines, and since both of us were on teams that compete at Swing Battle, there’s always nice competition/camaraderie that happens there.