The history of Brixton Hill – Michaela

Brixton Hill has had a few changing faces over the years and we are so proud to still be going strong as we approach our 4th birthday this year! We’ve had some great teachers along the way, and our students have gone on to be involved in competition-winning dance troupes and even to teach their own venues! We’re also pleased to still have regular students who have been coming to classes for some years now – it’s thanks to you lovely people that Brixton Hill is such a warm and fun place to be 🙂 We’d like to share a bit of Swing Patrol Brixton Hill history with you and look at some of the journeys made by our little scene 🙂

Swing Patrol Brixton Hill started life as Swing Patrol Streatham in early October 2012, headed by our loveable rogue Rupert Sanford-Scutt and partner in crime Leah Massey. Some were intrigued to see how these two fresh cadets would get on in a little dance studio out in South West London – and low and behold they built a truly fantastic community in just a few months!

Class notes from 29th Nov 2012!

With their buzzing energy and community spirit Swing Patrol Streatham got off to a flying start and Rupert and Leah lead the way with plenty of fun both in and outside class. You could find our students dancing at the Streatham Blitz Party, the Meet our Scene ball, at the Ritzy cinema, the Swing Patrol Christmas Party…and all over!

In May 2013 Leah passed the torch to Shani and the classes kept growing, with a level 2 class opening to accommodate all the Brixton Hill talent.

Class notes from 2013!

Shani brought so much to Brixton Hill and was a great inspiration! Always out on the social floor, both leading and following, and performing and dancing at Blitz Parties, for Gay Pride and at events all over the world.

In February 2014 Michaela took over from Shani as Shani went on to teach at Swing Patrol Kings Cross. Michaela remembers that it was definitely some big shoes to fill and was quite nervous to join the well established Brixton Hill scene – luckily all the students were friendly and very welcoming! By the end of 2014 we had opened up a third class to give the Brixton students more room to grow – and we did our best to break all records with our performance ball routine (Rupert and Michaela logged about 24 hours worth of choreographing time to create the best routine we could muster!).

2014 was also the year Rupert and Laura Hicks opened Brixton Bounce – a beginner friendly social dance on Sunday afternoons at the Dog Star. Now run by south Londoners Michaela and Tobias it’s a super chilled place to swing out and hang out, with lots of space to dance (and they do pizza!). We get to play our favourite tunes (requests welcome), and we try to run a fun competition or a stranger/birthday dance…no matter how long you’ve been dancing everyone is welcome! It’s such a great way to end the weekend, and we usually share a pizza and a couple of drinks afterwards 🙂

Sadly at the end of 2015 it was time to say goodbye to long-standing teacher Rupert as he sailed off to New Zealand with Maya in search of more life and lindy hop opportunities. Rupert is missed in the London scene overall for his enthusiasm, passion, swing dancing talent and love for everyone in the scene. We know he’ll be creating a big splash out in New Zealand and hope he converts more people around the world to our little swing dancing bubble!

Now in our 4th configuration with Fredrik Lindbom at the helm we are excited to add a bit of Swedish inspiration to Brixton Hill! Fred is a very hard working dancer and is putting all his efforts into making sure we create some awesome classes for our Brixton crew 🙂 we’re both super excited to see what we can do for Swing Patrol Brixton Hill in 2016!

Some of our highlights along the way have been:

Herrang 2014 and 2015 – about 25 students came along for a week in Sweden for the last 2 years. As if they don’t spend enough time together back in London, the Brixton crew really can’t bear to be apart – which is why so many of them teamed up to take Herrang by storm for the past 2 years.

Our students love to perform each year at the annual performance ball and they have produced some of the most memorable routines in recent years!!

Performance ball 2015 –

Performance ball 2014 –

Performance ball 2013

 

Prizes, Accolades and Congratulations!

* Shani took 2 medals at the European Swing Dance Championships 2013
* Shani and Rupert placed second in the London Swing Festival Strictly Lindy 2014
* Regular student Daren Maloy placed second in the Up and Comers 2014
* Brixton Hill students Daren Maloy, Hayley Watson, Adrian Cecil, Jeff Tong, Stu Campbell, James Anderson, Holly Buckless, Faye Williams, Karol Galazka joined the Swing Patrol dance troupe Brat Pack, and they came 3rd in the Teams Showcase at the European Swing Dance Championships 2015
* Brixton Hill students Ana Perez and Tom Lee joined Michaela and Rupert in the Swing Patrol dance troupe the Skyliners, and they came 2nd in the Teams Showcase at the London Swing Festival 2015
* Rupert was named Legend of the Year in 2014, and Michaela received the same title in 2015!
* Brixton Hill students Blake McG and Lottie Bovingdon divide and conquer…winning competitions in their new home towns in Buenos Aires and Hong Kong!
* Max Hoy and Laura Adams met at Brixton Hill and recently got engaged 🙂
* Shani gave birth to Nico Ziggy this year!

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