Swing Castle Camp – Dance Like Royalty

Written by מאיה שפירא. Posted in Pink Dance Shoes

When Desert Stomp was over, I realized I didn't have any dance events lined up to look forward to. Since I love the feeling of anticipation that leads up to going to a festival, I wanted to plan my next trip as soon as possible.

While looking up events, I came across Swing Castle Camp. First thing I thought was: "It's in A CASTLE? Does that mean I get to dress up as a princess?!!" Fast forward through a montage of me trying on my entire closet with a tiara on, and I sat down to find out more.

Swing dancing black and white
Photo by: Teresa Marenzi & Daniel Bachler, Iconoclash Photography

Swing Castle Camp was founded following the success of Balboa Castle CampPeter Loggins convinced the camp's founders to prolong the castle experience for another week . In his words: "To work with students for a whole week, in a beat up old German Castle. This is the weirdest, coolest, craziest thing you could ever attend, that focuses on old Jazz and Swing era dances."

Being set in the uber-cool location of Beesenstedt Castle outside of Berlin between September 1-8, Swing Castle Camp has a special feeling to it. It's nothing like staying at an ordinary hotel for an event. You eat, sleep and dance in an exquisite 19th century setting. Being a week-long event also sets it apart. Unlike a weekend festival where you hardly have time to get to know your fellow dancers, here you have time to really make new friends and dance with everyone. The intimate and relaxed feeling is also thanks to the fact that the camp is kept small to fit the space in the castle. Click to continue reading…

!Please Help Mabel Lee

Written by מאיה שפירא. Posted in Pink Dance Shoes

One of the reasons I love being a part of the Lindy Hop community is that it is exactly that – a community. There are over 40,000 of us spread out all over the world (according to a recent informal poll by Juan Villafañe), yet we still manage to keep a sense of closeness. People who have never met feel connected though a shared love for Lindy Hop and will help each other out when possible. We see this all the time in acts such as offering a place to stay for a visiting dancer and helping them find local places to dance.

But what I think really makes us special as a community, is that we come through for other members even when it's non-dance related. One example is the case of tap dancer, Ludovico Hombravella Suarez. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and needed help with living expenses for the time he is expected to go through chemotherapy. Friends of his formed an Indiegogo campaign, which raised double of the €4,000 goal in just a couple of days.

Today there is another opportunity to help an important member of our community. At 92, Mabel Lee is one of the living legends that contributed to the jazz dance world that we all love.

Mabel Lee

 She just recently preformed at the famous Apollo theater in New York for Frankie 100 and is now in Seoul, South Korea. She traveled there to teach, and has broken her hip and shoulder. According to posts by Sharon Davis and Pamela Gaizutyte, she cannot fly home to the states until she undergoes surgery. For this to happen, her medical bills must be paid upfront, which may be as much as $30,000. The South Korean dancers have used all the funds from their event to get her medical treatment thus far, but more is still needed.

Any amount will help. Whether you can give the equivalent you would pay for a weekly social dance, a class or a weekend event, please do what you can. I'm sure that between all of us, we can come through for this woman who has already given so much to us.

For donations, please send funds by PayPal to Jandi Kim at lovelyjandi@gmail.com.

Please help spread the word, also through the Facebook event.

Wanted: Camel Walkers

Written by מאיה שפירא. Posted in Pink Dance Shoes

April has been quite the month for me, I got to visit and dance in New Orleans then go to Desert Stomp in The Israeli desert when I got home. This much fun in such a short time feels like I’m getting away with something!

There’s so much to share about Desert Stomp that I don’t know where to start. Returning to the Adama center, where last year’s festival was held, set a familiar and cozy tone right from the start. It’s a small peaceful place which had everything we needed – we would eat, sleep, dance and party all right there. No need to worry about how to get back after a party.

We had an exciting group of teachers this year – our beloved  Ali & Katja, who we never let leave Israel for too long, champions William & Maeva, who were full of pep and laughs, and Ninjammer Max Pitruzzella, who schooled us in solo jazz. We had great taster teachers as well – Audun Kveberg & Kris Blindert and Cat Foley. Click to continue reading…


When I Die, I Hope I Go to New Orleans

Written by מאיה שפירא. Posted in Pink Dance Shoes

I have a memory of my parents bringing back Mardi Gras beads from a trip when I was a kid, and I've had this inexplicable pull to New Orleans ever since. I didn't know anything about the place, but it always sounded magical to me. The closest I've ever gotten till recently was Disney Land's French Quarter.

Since I've started swing dancing, I've had even more reason to go. Being the birth place of jazz music, it continues to attract flocks of musicians who you can hear playing in bars any given day of the week. I found a reason to visit for the Fleur de Lindy exchange. I was so excited to go that I was emailing the organizers months before, asking about registration and housing.

The French Market stage at the French Quarter Festival Photo by Derek Bridges

The French Market stage at the French Quarter Festival
Photo by Derek Bridges

The exchange takes place alongside the French Quarter Festival, a 4 day long free music festival in New Orleans' historical French quarter. With over 20 stages, it was dizzying trying to decide what to see. I have to say, it hardly mattered. You might plan on seeing a certain band but be pulled aside by the sounds of another on the way. Click to continue reading…

Feelin' Blues 2014

Written by מאיה שפירא. Posted in Pink Dance Shoes

I hope I never stop appreciating how awesome it is that as social dancers, we can go to some random country and spend a whole weekend studying dance, partying, taking part in international competitions and meeting new friends from all over the world. I mean, who's going to top that answer to "how was your weekend?" at the office?

It’s been a few months since I was at such an event, so I was looking forward to the Tel Aviv based Feelin’ Blues festival.  I couldn't wait for those few days and nights that would leave me with aching muscles and blistered feet.

Saturday Night Party Photo by Andrew Miller Dance Photography

Saturday Night Party
Photo by Andrew Miller

When a solo blues track was offered, I knew straight away that I wanted to try it. One of the reasons was that for the past year or so I’ve been taking different types of non-partnered dance classes and I’ve noticed how they’ve  influenced my partnered dancing. Click to continue reading…