I attend the swing Patrol School (http://www.swingpatrol.com.au/) and I can't say enough good things about them. The teachers love their stuff, are encouraging, patient and enthusiastic, and you never know how bad you are; you only get encouragement. The community is very friendly, no cattiness or exclusivity, and a good range of ages, although predominantly 20-30yos.
I decided to go to the Camberwell classes once Swing Patrol announced they'd be starting routines for the Performance Ball. So for two months I've been attending the Palace Hotel, reading name-tags and meeting lots of excellent poeple, learning from Sarah, Anthony and Tim, wishing I was half as pretty as any of them.
Swing Patrol's classes don't require you to bring a partner - during each class you change partners every few minutes, so its an excellent place to meet likewise folk and I've often met backpackers looking to get into things. Generally, there are more girls than guys, so there's always a few moments at the start of each class where we organise where the gaps are. Luckily there are a few girls who like to lead so the lead/follow balance is better than it could be. It does mean, however, that when it comes to the performances, you have to nab the partner you want very early.
Somehow, because there are more follows than leads, its become the follow's role to ask the lead to perform with them, I suppose because its a given that the lead will perform twice (some classes are so large than they have two performance rounds) and it would be inconsiderate for them to be selective of who they get each time. The other element of it is that its a very community oriented school, and there is an attitude that no-one should be left out, so teachers will dance in the performances if necessary (which has the added bonus of maybe scoring a teacher on the night - an excellent partner, guaranteed).
The level 1 dance was to Mr Zoot Suit, and I think the routine was one of the best of the night - fun, interesting, a good range of steps, and we performed it well. I was lucky enough to dance with Keith, who's a great lead and excellent to dance with in a performance - very smiley and enthusiastic. The level 2 dance was to How Sweet It Is by Michael Buble, and I got to dance with Gary, who's lovely - he's enthusiastic, and friendly and easy to dance with - I was very pleased to nab him for such a cruisy song.
The Ball was held at the Malvern Town Hall and we hit capacity before 10pm, which is a first for a SP ball, and excellent for the people performing.
I also performed with Belly Patrol - a sister school of Swing Patrol. We love dancing for the swing crowd because they're so appreciative and encouraging. We made lots of little mistakes but the lights were dimmed and nothing disastrous happened. We had a great time.
The end result for me is that I had an excellently wonderful night:
- I don't think I made any swing mistakes.
- I was up the front with Keith for the first class (the third song of the night)
- Gary and I were too good to be up the back
- My cousin and boyfriend were in the crowd, and my cousin thinks she has no choice now but to go to a swing class - how can she resist?
- One of my best friends was in the crowd and was suitably excited for me, becuase she's a good friend.
- I should be able to go without food for about five days, coz I can live on the few compliments I got :D
- Everyone has so much fun. Fun, fun, fun.
I think everyone should try swing dancing for at least a hour (straight). Everyone should dance at some stage. No two ways about it.