I’ve gone to many events the last few years and rarely have difficulty describing my experiences. Barswingona is one of those events where my expectations and surprises met head on and left me speechless.
Most of the time when I go to Europe there is a very distinct type of feel to the social dances that make me proud to be an ambassador of Lindy Hop. Dancers may not even speak my language but we speak the same language and energy on the dance floor with our movements. It’s amazing to experience! The ballroom for the event was filled with dancers from all over Europe, Asia, and America. The skill level varied as I danced throughout the evenings. Even the beginners had a lot of fun. I danced with as many of them as possible, and had some fun dances with them even though we had different skill sets.
The venue was a beautiful theatre with a small stage for the band and a large ballroom wood floor that was also used for classes. If one wanted to watch and not have to dance, they were treated to stadium seating with a balcony that allowed them to still watch the dancers and listen to the band. The dance hall also connected directly to a restaurant, which I thought was a perfect place to visit before the dance. In fact I went 4 times and had seafood everyday.
The classes were enjoyable to teach, and I think one reason could be because of the language barrier. Dancers were more focused and I had the opportunity to show more than tell. The teacher line up was well balanced and suited the occasion. Max and Annie, Skye and Naomi, Jeremy and Laura, Sonia and myself were the line up.
The musical guest were Gordon Webster, and Joan Chamorro. Both were dynamic bands and kept the floor packed. Gordon Webter’s band performed for two nights, with one of the nights being the best times I’ve seen them perform. Great Dj’s who played a variety of music that all created the feel of swing. For me that is very important that Dj’s play a diverse selection of music but are principled enough to keep the music swinging as the main priority.
The event had ample volunteers that had the general layout and organization well crafted and flowed well for the students. As a teacher there were many things regarding organization and execution that could be done even better next year. It’s very difficult to find the balance in facilitating the needs of the attendees in addition to the teachers, but I think the organizer has bigger plans on how to make it as effortless for the instructors to due their job without stress as for the students to attend and just dance.
Competitions are a great opportunity for dancers to display all of their hard work in front of their peers. It’s difficult to find a balance during the evening to allow them to perform and maintain the momentum from social dancing throughout the evening. This event balanced this dilemma well, and left people excited even after the dance ended late in the morning. In fact, I even went to the beach with some of the locals even though I completely exhausted myself hours before in the ballroom.
This is an event that should be attended if you are in the region at least once. They preserve the culture of lindy hop, without creating an imbalanced atmosphere amongst the social dancers and the competitors. I would attend again knowing there is great leadership like Sonia Ortega continuing to build the local scene weekly in Barcelona.
I give this event: 4.7 out of 5 shoes!