Swing it – in Jesmond

As part of Jesmond Community Festival, instructor Richard Owen held a free swing dance and taster lesson at Jesmond Methodists. JesmondLocal’s Anastasia Tscheprassow was there with her video camera to interview Owen and capture some of the moves:

The class  concentrated on the best known and arguably the most popular of the swing dance routines – the Lindy Hop (a popular partner dance which originated in Harlem in the 1920s and developed amongst the jazz music scene).

Taking part were a mix of beginners as well as a few regulars who had already been bitten by the swing bug.

Basic steps were taught to put the beginners at ease, and after the magic “5,6,7,8”countdown was used on several occasions, the group seemed to get to grips with the footwork (and arm-work for that matter) with impressive speed.

But as Owen announced to the focused participants, swing dancing is “not about learning routines, it’s about social dancing…you can find your own moves”.

Owen, who is a musician, started dancing a year and a half ago. He became involved with swing dancing in particular after being handed a flyer and admitted he has been ‘hooked ever since’.

Travelling to events around the country, a sociable and fun form of exercise, as well as the opportunity to meet a variety of people are just some of the highlights he pointed out when discussing his love for this form of dance.

Philippa Paterson was one of the experienced dancers taking part in the event. Having been attending dance classes for three years, Paterson became interested in swing dancing after taking part at a friend’s birthday party and has been attending classes since. Although she has enjoyed other forms of dance such as salsa, she says swing is something she finds especially fun because of its similarities to rock and roll as well as the opportunity to dance at different speeds. She said: “I also like the fact that footwork isn’t as important…if you make a mistake it’s all variation.”

Owen explained that his hope in doing the class was to generally get people interested in swing dancing. “The more people dance, the more fun it makes it.” And, “It’s all about having fun!”

If you are interested in getting involved, click here or call Owen on 07811 579 224.

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