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Lindy Hop in Korea is a force to be reckoned with. Wow. Last night I had a pretty spectacular night of social dancing and it was just a normal Monday night of Lindy Hop in Seoul. Well, maybe a normal Monday night for one of the biggest social swing dancing scenes in the world, but as someone who has traveled extensively for Lindy Hop, I was pretty impressed. I would rank the quality of the dancing that I had last night as akin to the level of swing dancing in Herrang, an exchange or a special event dance weekend.
There are several Lindy Hop clubs in Seoul. Monday nights, The Big Apple seemed to be the place to go so that’s where Zhenya Demchenko and myself went to check out. We’re here teaching dance workshops for the second time. The first time, we taught solo Vintage Jazz and Charleston workshops as well as special workshops for the Rock n’ Roll dance community here. At that time, we had a chance to dance at a different Lindy Hop club called the Sky Bar. But as we were performing that night I didn’t really have a chance to relax and really get into the social dancing.
This year, we’re back to teach more workshops, all for the Rock n’ Roll community. But on our nights off, we’ve been able to go out for some Lindy Hop, strictly for fun. And WHAT FUN! On Thursday we went dancing at the Boogie Woogie club and I had an absolute blast. Since we were caucasion, we obviously stuck out from the moment that we arrived, and some people recognized us from our previous workshops there. The Lindy Hop community isn’t really connected to the Rock n’ Roll community that’s hosting us, so our attendance was quite a surprise. I danced the first couple of songs with Zhenya, and then after that I was bombarded with a slew of dozens of Korean men, all of them excellent leaders. Every one of them was of at least a high intermediate level ranging right up to really very advanced. What was interesting was that the variety of styles, technique, connection and repertoire; they were really pretty diverse. Overall, the dancers are obviously very influenced by their workshops with the Silver Shadows and obsessive YouTube watching, especially Skye and Todd, but compared to my observations here twelve months ago, they’ve really moved on from the copy cat stage and are creating something fresh here.
After having so much fun on Thursday at Boogie Woogie, I wasn’t sure that I’d be lucky enough to have a second great dance night so soon after. At the beginning of the night we avoided the “Cat’s Coner” for at the front of the club (despite a couple of the girls from my workshops trying to push me in that direction) because neither Zhenya or myself wanted to put ourselves on display. We just wanted to dance and have a good time, not put on a show. He and I danced a bit more discreetly, first with each other and then with some of our students in the far corner. Before long we were discovered (we weren’t hiding, just laying low) and a stream of leaders and followers came over to dance with us.
Well, the great dance night of social dancing I had on Thursday was repeated and outdone. What a terrific time! I think that I liked the DJing on Thursday night a tiny bit better than on Monday (the Thursday night DJ was really my style) but it was still really great. I should mention that one of the first songs that was played when we arrived was actually Alex Pangman‘s band from Toronto which was very cool and a total surprise.
We danced danced danced until we couldn’t dance anymore. Then we took a little break to chit chat, but before long we started all over again and danced some more. Zhenya and I ended up closing the place out, dancing with the last one or two people with terrific dances right up until the very last song. The quality of the wooden dance floor both at The Big Apple and Boogie Woogie were also terrific. Just the perfect kind of wood with enough slide but not too fast. I could honestly have kept going for another hour or more, and for people who know me these days, you’ll know that the dancing MUST have been good for me to stay up so late after my bed time!
With all this said and done, I would consider Seoul to be one of the ultimate Lindy Hop vacation spots. Seoul is a really great place to visit anyway, last year I did all of the tourist stuff with the exception of the DMZ (I’m going tomorrow) and we had a great time. Combine that with the incredible social dancing and I’d say that this is one of the best places in the world for a Lindy Hopper to visit.
Go swing dancing in Korea!