Swing Activities in MADRID
Even though the best way to learn how to dance swing is by signing up for one of those specialized academies we can get one step closer to lindy-hop, or the balboa, and jazz-steps (the three most common varieties of swing) by attending one of the open classes that, almost daily, take place in the center of Madrid. The website of the Official Organization of Swing Academies of Madrid, madforswing.es, offers a weekly updated calendar of all the activities (including free ones) that take pace throughout the city.
One of the most popular is the one that happens every Wednesday at the Teatro del Barrio in Lavapiés lead by En Modo Swing and Big South: a night of dancing where anyone who’s interested can join no matter their level. It’s also free! From 23h onward, the Teatro del Barrio is full of jazz of every type.
The experience of going to a night of open dance can be overwhelming for the newbies. It’s true that you can go dressed however you like, but some people, who truly live and breathe swing surprise us with big showy costumes and impressive steps. It’s like going back in time to the 20’s in one night all without leaving Madrid. The event organizers observe from the sidelines and choose the music according to on the crowd’s energy level. From classic swing “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon” by Ella Fitzgerald to others a bit closer to rock’n’roll (the natural evolution of swing). Meanwhile the participants go around changing partners because swing is a social activity after all!
Before heading straight to an open class, if you want to be a bit more prepared, and you still aren’t familiar with swing, you can head to an open class on Mondays at Café el Barbieri starting at 21:30h. Even still, we recommend checking out the page madforswing.es, just in case.
A Social Dance
Like always, one of the advantages that dance related activities offers is the social aspect. Meeting new people and lots of Madrileños since t hey form a large part of the participants. If what you want is to meet new people, get to know madrileños and leave your comfort zone swing dancing is a great option! Carla explains the typical profile for a swing dancer: “Upper-middle class, students, people with masters and working. Engineers, psychologists, architects, professions you’d never think of. That’s to say, there’s not only one type of artistic person, but a huge variety.” You can also get rid of the idea “that language is a problem” says Carla, because most of the steps are in English since it’s an American dance.
“Jazz swing, improvisation, have fun, meet new people, move, freedom” That said, it’s no wonder that tis style of dance is catching on amongst all types of people of different ages. “What swing does give you is cathartic moments. The world stops existing and you’re super involved in the music,” Carla explains. You want to stop living on the sidelines, and meet new people, feel the music from you feet to your head and dive into this activity that Madrileños have adopted as their own?
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