Good to knows before you visit Smokey Feet next year. Swedish Lindy hopper Johanna Lindblom went to the 7th edition of Smokey Feet in may 2017. Five days later she returned to Stockholm with new guidelines for swing, strong legs and a renewed love for the dance and music. This is her experience.
cover photo: Light eX Machina 2017
DANCE IN TO A NEW LEVEL
– Going to Amsterdam for Lindy Hop workshop/parties seemed like the perfect kind of vacation. I managed to involve a dancing friend so we signed up as a couple in “BASS” level for dancers “confident in leading/following and ready to take the dancing to a new level”.
MIND BOGGLING TEACHERS
– All in all we had five different couples of dance teachers for the lindy classes. All of them had a good balance of exercises for both body and brain and the classes completed each other with different perspectives on the dance. What will be remembered the most might be when Felix and Egle had us use either five or ninety five percent of power in our dancing – taking turns as leader/follower. Another mind boggling class was a variety of slow steps in the swing out with Felipe and Alice. It took a while for most participants to figure it out. Luckily the crew took care of us providing apples to snack on in the afternoon to keep up the energy.
GUIDELINES FOR SWING
– As usual on lindy hop events it’s a lot of fun to be in a class with mixed nationalities. Our “BASS” class was a European mix with a nice atmosphere. Another fun thing about taking classes and (hopefully) learning stuff is that the many of the teachers apart from being instructive also are quite entertaining letting the students have a few laughs now and then. A mantra I keep with me from this event is “It is supposed to be fun!”. Also, some teacher reminded us about the “conversation” we are having in the dance with our partner. For the future FUN, CONVERSATION and KEEP ON DANCING (this I added myself) will act as my guidelines in my dance life.
PARTIES, VENUES & BANDS
– Lets not forget about the parties. All in all there were 4 venues for parties and a total of 4 bands. The pre-party and after-party were held at the nice Kompaszaal with a balcony/terrace overlooking the sea. A day time social dance was held at another cozy restaurant, KHL with a lovely garden outside. The main venue was at Theater de Omval at the outskirts of the city, with the dance hall upstairs and a bar downstairs. The band I enjoyed the most was, of course, Professor Cunningham and his Old School who played very danceable and nice music for 3 out of 5 nights. The Rhythm Gamblers from France also played for two nights, a little less danceable for my taste. At one moment they had both bands on stage raising the tempo to a diabolic speed where only the most daring or advanced stayed on the floor.
GOOD TO KNOW ABOUT SMOKEY FEET
– All in all the Smokey Feet was a lovely event that renewed my love for dance and music. A good thing to remember if you travel to an event in another city/country is to set aside some days for sightseeing/shopping if that is of interest because when the event starts you really don’t have time for anything else. Amsterdam as a city has, apart from all other attractions, a lot of options for second hand/vintage shopping which might interest a lindy hopper and that we only explored a little.
– Having no clue as to where the venues were going to be I assumed that they would be in the city center and booked a hotel, somewhat over my budget, with a nice location near the Vondelpark. In hindsight an air b n b alternative or cheaper hotel would have made more sense.
HOW TO GET AROUND
– The first 24 hours in the city we tried walking or tram as means of transportation. Then it dawned on us that we needed to do as the Dutch and get ourselves bicycles to reach all the venues and be able
to get home at night. This way we got a bicycle/dance vacation all in one! Reaching the main venues for classes/parties back and forth from ourhotel added about 30 km biking each day in the lovely hot weather and was really the only smart way to get around. One night we even managed to get lost on our way home! Yes, leg muscles are still sore and No, the city map in our guide book combined with the maps provided in the Smokey Feet booklet did not cover the route completely.