I landed back home from Stockholm on the other side of 2015 and can’t wait to tell you all about the magical Snowball!
I’ll start with why I ended up going. First of all, it’s known as one of the best events out there. No questions about it, if you get the chance to go, book it. You don’t even have to keep reading, just go block out those dates for 2015 right now. Second of all, I had just decided to leave school. I was in a masters program for dance movement therapy and realized it wasn’t the place for me, at least not for the moment. That could be a topic for a whole other post if this was a different kind of blog, but we’re here to talk about swing outs! Anyway, I chose to use the opportunity of having some time available to hop on a plane to the most sparkly place I could think of. Snowflakes, fancy dress-ups, over-taxed champagne, confetti, gigantic blonde people… What else could a girl ask for?
Oh yeah, LINDY HOP! My goodness, there was some spectacular dancing at Snowball. Check out this huge line up of awesome in the invitational strictly comp – you can’t even fit everyone in the same frame! You can watch the full spotlights here and here.
This year was the event’s 10th anniversary, and over 1,000 dancers from around the world came together for this special week to share the joy of Swing. It still delights me to see how people from so many different places can easily communicate and become friends over a dance. It’s one of my favorite things about dancing, and I don’t think I’ll ever not be in awe about that aspect.
The live music contributed a great deal to the atmosphere and inspired people to keep dancing late (early?) into the morning. The amount of musical talent that the main ballroom witnessed over a few days was near incomprehensible. 2 bands played every night, with live music going until 3, 4 and sometimes 5 in the morning. Professor Cunningham and his Old School, Gentlemen and Gangsters, Naomi Uyama, Steven Mitchell and Wycliffe Gordon are just a few off the list.
Another memorable moment was when Hot Sugar Band and the crowd refused to end the show on the final night. The band played encore after encore to the dancers’ jam circles way past the time to clear the ballroom. They even came down to play in the middle of the audience at one point and got the dancers chanting “Hot! Sugar! Baaaaaaaand!” all the way through the song.
The music made it pretty easy to stay up all night, but what also kept us out and dancing was the promise of the breakfast buffet opening at 7 am. Let me tell you, you haven’t had breakfast till you’ve had the Clarion buffet after dancing all night.
Snowball really messes with your inner food and drink clock, though. For example, breakfast was really dinner, and beer at 6 am was ok because we hadn’t gone to sleep yet. Drinking at 4pm was also ok because hey, it was already pitch black outside. So basically whenever I was awake, it was drink o’clock. But not really, because my grandparents are reading this.
One last thing – you can’t talk about Snowball without mentioning New Year’s Eve. It was the swankiest NYE I’ve ever been to, that’s for sure. Gold streamers lined the ballroom, everyone was in their finest clothes, champagne glasses were handed out to all and at the stroke of midnight, glittery confetti and giant balloons were released from above. Auld Lang Syne was performed on stage and several thousand hugs and a few hundred kisses were exchanged. I couldn’t have wished for a better way to begin 2015.
In the spirit of the new year, let me use this opportunity to wish you a 2015 full of creativity, adventure, music that makes you move, swivelicious swingouts, and many dances that turn into friendships.
Did you spend your New Year’s dancing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!