Dancing at Seattle’s Camp Jitterbug

Seattle has been one of my favorite cities to visit ever since the first time I placed foot there in my university years. In fact, the Seattle Lindy Exchange 2006 was the first out of town experience and holds a place in my heart.

Camp Jitterbug is an event held in Seattle with competitions, performances, social dances and workshops drawing a MASSIVE amount of people from all over the country all wanting to learn from the best. They have multiple track levels ranging from Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced, Advanced Plus (Advanced+), and Masters with the latter two requiring auditions. It touts itself as ‘The Awesomest Lindy Hop Event Ever!’ and I am inclined to agree with it.

Since moving back to the west coast, I have been anticipating about re-visiting Seattle to dance again; partially to benchmark myself with my first visit, as well as how I fair dancing with Seattle based dancers.

How did I do? I SUCKED… but it sure felt good.

At the risk of sounding egotistic, it was nice to get away from being one of the better leads of a scene. Some dancers would believe that I’m an advanced-plus lead, whereas I only feel that I am more of a intermediate, maybe advanced, level lead…with potential. I am always undergoing a cycle of improvement with each dance partake. While dancing in Vancouver is great, with good dancers, I feel like there is something missing that makes the dancing great, and that will push me improve, especially because it is in such a close proximity Seattle. Personally, I have found myself social dancing less, and attending more practice sessions in lindy as well as other dances.

Dancing at Camp Jitterbug brought back the experience that I am all too familiar with, yet have not experienced in the last while—being a ‘beginner’-level lead. It was not like this for every dance, but with some of the more well versed followers, even some I have danced with before, I felt like I was a ‘beginner’ dancer all over again.

When dancing, this made me more aware about how much more room I have to grow, and while I might have plateaued a bit, there is so much more for me to work on and this is invigorating for my drive to dance and get better—Cleaning up techniques, paying more attention to musicality, working on swingouts, vernacular jazz, syncopated steps and timing, etc. Being about to experience and watching the competitions and seeing some of the best instructors and dancers competing only helps drive my want to learn and practice more to get to that next level.

Camp Jitterbug was awesome, and I believe that everyone should go to it. It’s quite the experience to get to be at such a large event, and while I never took that classes this year and missed the Jump Session Perforamances, you can be assured that I will be there next year, dancing up a storm and learning from some of the best instructors. I hope that all my friends in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and around the country will join me next year and share in the same experience with me at Camp Jitterbug 2011.

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