What a Year!

Nearly half way through December already!

As the end of 2011 is rapidly approaching I took some time out to reflect on what we’ve done over the last 12 months. It’s been an amazing year.

We started 2011 still getting over the shock of entering our first dance competition in San Francisco. What very few people know however is that while we were in San Francisco we also willingly entered another competition and won the Mr & Mrs Golden Gate Vintage Swing  title. It involved dressing up in the theme of each night of the event and being secretly monitored for dance floor etiquette, friendliness etc.. I thought some of the intense grillings Sharon and I had from some of our dance partners over the 3 nights was just the American way, but we soon realised why.  It was great fun

In February we had a fantastic weekend at the superbly organised Paris Balboa Shag Festival with Advanced level workshops by World Class Shag instructors, Peter Logins and Mia Goldsmith; Johnny Bluejeans  and Rebecca Williams; and Zack Richards and Maryse Lebau. On the Saturday night we performed for the festival as part of the Paris Shag performance team.  3 hours of rehearsals with Johnny and Rebecca and then we’re on. It was pretty intense stuff but a great experience.

In March we went live with our website http://www.collegiateclass.co.uk and our Blog. It was intended to be an outlet for my ramblings and as a hub for UK based collegiate shag enthusiasts.  However in April we launched our ever expanding Facebook group Collegiate Shag UK, where we advertise and promote as much Collegiate Shag as we can find. Not just our lessons, but everyone’s in the UK along with European Workshops and International weekenders. It’s taken the focus off the website, but it achieved the main objective of bringing together Shag fans. We now have a core group of UK Shagsters who are raising the profile of Shag throughout the land, and also members from USA, France, Germany, Czech Republic, and Russia.

In May we had a superb time at the Shag Rattle and Roll Weekender in Munich with London based Shag and Balboa instructors Natasha Hall and Paul Crook. Christine Von Scheidt put on a great event and if you get the opportunity then I’d recommend visiting Munich for a Swing event such as Shag It or the Munich Lindy Exchange.  The swing crowd there really are so very welcoming. We also took part in a trial Shag lesson taught by Tony Fraser in New York and beamed through the power of the internet directly into our living room. We reckon it was the first ever Trans-Atlantic Collegiate Shag Class. Ground breaking stuff!

Following on from the success of Mays Trans-Atlantic Shag class; in June we took two of Tony’s workshops again beamed live from New York to our living room; a “Collegiate Shag Connections Intensive” and a “Tricks for Shag” class. We really should do more of these remote lessons. We also finally gave in to demand and organised our 1st Collegiate Shag Summer Skool. It was extremely well attended in July and August despite it being holiday season.  We also taught a  Shag Taster for Birmingham’s premier retro night, Hot Ginger. We had some great feedback from both events and decided to continue teaching regular lessons.

September saw us invited to the Goodwood Revival as part of the Goodwood Dancers dancing with fab bands Rock The Joint and Oo-Bop-Sh-bam. We also attended the London Shag weekend workshops hosted by London Swingcats, Claire and Robert  Austin, and taught by our old friend  New York based Shag Master Tony Fraser.

October was a real challenge as Sharon broke her foot!! However we had fantastic support from our students and together we completed the dance classes we had already planned with me leading the class and Sharon barking orders from the side lines.

November saw us getting back into fitness. With Sharon out of action because of her foot it’s surprising how quickly we became unfit. I’m sure we were a sorry sight panting and wheezing off the dance floor after each Shag dance. Still; we’re slowly getting back to where we should be now!

Redbrook Village Hall became our new base in November and as our beginner students had come on so quickly, we introduced a new intermediate level lesson to follow our beginners class. It’s been fantastic for us to watch our students kicking up the dance floor with their new Shag skills and also to dance Shag with them wherever we can.

And finally this December sees us making exciting plans for 2012. If it’s going to be anything like this year then it’s going to be one hell of a year. We can’t wait….

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About Dai

http://www.collegiateclass.co.uk/about/
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