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 Castle Camp was founded following the success of Balboa Castle Camp. Peter 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.
The camp offers 7 full days of classes in many swing era dances, as the organizers feel that people should have possibilities to dance differently and not limit themselves to one dance. Classes will include Lindy Hop, Peabody, Charleston, Foxtrot, St. Louis Shag, Carolina Shag and Blues. There is also a track dedicated to Solo Jazz, where classes are limited to 12 people to keep lessons cozy and have more personal feedback.
Who will be teaching these classes? Well, let me tell you. 12 international instructors are coming to the castle from all corners of the world: Pamela Gaizutyte, Andy Reid, Moe Sakan, Vincenzo Fesi, Peter Loggins, Katja Hrastar, Daniel Larsson, Rikard Ekstrand, Mindaugas Bikauskas, Giedre Paplaityte, Chris Härm and Jessica Miltenberger. That’s one impressive list right there!
Classes only start at noon to allow for the party atmosphere to go till morning. You can stay up till the end and not worry about missing classes! Befit to such a classy event, there will be live music every night including Norbert Susemihl and the Swing Out All Stars. I recently had the pleasure of dancing to a band led by Susemihl in New Orleans and I’m thrilled to get another chance. What’s more, many of the teachers are also musicians and will be playing as well.
Speaking of the parties, I’ve heard rumors of a (cheap!) 24 hour bar with beer from a local brewery on tap. Simon the bartender wasn’t satisfied with the regular selection of beers, so he went on a tour of the region to find the very best. If you need a rest from dancing and drinking, there’s also an outdoor pool and 24 hour sauna. This is my kind of castle!
If you still need more excitement, you can take part in any of the Swing Castle Championships competitions such as Jack & Jill, Solo Jazz, group battle and best appearance. Not only that, the last 2 nights will be extra special. The Friday night party will have a haunted castle theme with a chance to wear your best scary costume, and Saturday will be a black tie night. So make sure to bring your fanciest attire!
I’m always happy to know about discounts, so I thought you’d like to know that if you register in a group of 5 people from your scene, each person will receive a €100 discount. In addition, the Solo Jazz track has the early bird price extended, meaning it is also €100 less.
I’m super excited about going to the first ever Swing Castle Camp and plan on dancing my tiara off! Let me know if you’re coming too and we’ll plan for a dance and a drink together!
September 1-8, 2014
Beesenstedt Castle, Germany