Swing Patrol in the Guardian

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the upcoming VE Day, The Guardian’s Sarah Marsh attended the Swing Patrol Waterloo class last week.

‘What better way to celebrate upcoming VE Day celebrations than with a collegiate shag? Everyone seems to be doing it, but perhaps swinging with your friends is more your thing? Or how about a good old-fashioned Lindy hop?

Swing dancing is back and even English Heritage is getting in on the act and encouraging people to Dance for VE Day by taking up swing to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the second world war in Europe.

…At Thursday evening’s Swing Patrol, there is a 28-strong crowd, a mix of ages, genders and styles. The teacher Cat Foley, 32, explains there was resurgence in swing dancing in the 1980s, but before that there was a period when no one in the UK was doing it.

“In the last five years or so it has really taken the country by storm, with many dancing in nearly every city in the UK. I think that is because it is fun and different. It’s not modern music,” she says.

According to Foley, swing is the perfect dance of celebration, and all about community spirit, a much needed force in modern times. “It’s a very celebratory dance. VE Day celebrations are a mixture of things, reflection but also celebration. It is a community dance and the exciting thing about it is that it can be for any age or ability. You can have a four-year-old dancing with their great grandparent … It is not a perfect dance form but it is about fun and making friends.”

The class in Waterloo, south London, is testament to this and involves learning basic moves for a 1930s charleston then practising them with a partner before moving on to the next person as more steps are introduced. The moves are a “basic”, a “hover kick” and “barn-door kicks”.

One man explains – between “barn-door kicks” – that he came as a Valentine’s gift for his partner. Another person says they go regularly for fitness and because it is fun.’

 

Read the full article here.

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