The weekender Mother City Hop in South Africa took place for the second time ever in March 2017. According to Peter Ståhl from Stockholm, Sweden, it was a success. This is what you need to know before next years event – and why dancing in Cape Town will bring you a new perspective.

What made greatest impression during Mother City Hop (MCH) 2017?
– The relaxed and friendly atmosphere amongst local dancers, visiting dancers, organizers and teachers. Also the classes in local dances Pantsula and Gumboot, teachers and students were really focused and engaged.

You been before 2016, what is unique about MCH?
– Yes, I was there last year for the first MCH. For me the combination of tours in a beautiful country rich with history and important lessons for the future, and dancing as a uniting force, is really unique. It is also very interesting for me to see a scene growing like it is in Cape Town, the enthusiasm is always present with every dancer I meet there. As I have learnt to dance in Stockholm, which is one of the older and more established scenes in the world, going to Cape Town really brings a new perspective. It is easy to take things for granted when everything is already built up.

Mother City Hop was born when a small group of swing dancers in Cape Town dedicated to grow the scene in South Africa. In 2015 they formed a non-profit group called Cape Town Swing and in order to spread swing love they organized an international festival – one of a kind on the continent.

Something new at this years event?
– A kick ass band popping up with two of the visiting teachers and a few local musicians. This was a real treat at a camp where it’s just not feasible to fly in one of the larger established band that usually play for lindy hoppers.

At what level did you participate, and what did you learn?
– I participated in the higher lindy hop track named Norma. In class I learned some new drills to make clearer choices in the structure of my dance, some lead/follow technique, some jazz and a couple of new steps. I also took a beginners aerial taster as this is something I and my dance partner wanted to start working on.

Peter Ståhl at MotherHop 2016. Coverphoto and above by: Lindsey Appolis

Teachers you want to mention and praise?
– This year the organizers had put together a very varied team of teachers, who I feel have different perspectives on the dance. They all did a great job of conveying their ideas and giving the students material to work on both in class and in the future. It was my first time in class with Ramona, and I feel the density of aha-inducing points made in that class was really high.

Who would you recommend to go next year, why?
– It is not a place you go for the experience of a large European dance camp, where you may go to hang out with your friends or show off to the usual lindy crowd. If you are open to meet new people and see a new part of the world, this is a very good place to go.

Any “good to knows” before signing up and going there next year?
– Look at options for getting data on your phone at reasonable price, either in form of a reduced price roaming package from your operator or by getting a SIM card in Cape Town. If you go for the SIM card option, the easiest option is to purchase it at the airport just after passing immigration. It makes communication and transportation much easier since the activities and venues are located all over town.

What was the weather like?
– We had unusually hot weather at the beginning of the week at 40+ C. The rest of the week was sunny and about 25 C in the day, the usual weather for Cape Town this time of year. It can get a little nippy at night, so bring a sweater to put on while going home from the parties.

Describe the venue!
– The camp is held at different venues all over town. The only fixed point is the Youngblood gallery where the local school Boogieback hold their classes. It is an actual art gallery where you dance around the art on the walls. This year the welcoming party was held outdoors at a beach club, and the weather was just perfect.

Were did you stay – hotel/hostel you can recommend?
– We rented an airbnb apartment centrally located near most of the venues and gathering points for the camp and tours. Cape Town offers a lot of options for accommodation. Last time I stayed at a very nice guesthouse in the same area, and there are plenty of options if you want to go upscale at a hotel or keep a stricter budget and stay at a backpacker. MCH has a good info page on accommodation and the MCH facebook groups are very helpful.

What can be improved to make the weekender even better?
– The system for booking catered food at the activities was a bit cumbersome. The food was good though.

If you have to choose only one more swing event during 2017, what would you choose?
Herräng, without a doubt.