600 Minutes of Swing


Swing Dance Society has been working hard this semester to promote its largest event, 600 Minutes of Swing. In the lead up, I managed to catch a few moments with the SDSA President, Laura Price and Lawrence Vandervoort.

DP: So what exactly is 600 Minutes of Swing?

LP: We wanted to run a workshop each semester and wanted to do something a little bit different this semester. The aim is something that everyone can enjoy and get involved with. Plus, it’s a way to celebrate the 600th anniversary!

DP: Sounds exciting; what have you got planned?

LP: Friday night is the Welcome Party at the Boys Brigade Hall. This is basically so that everyone can get to know one another. Then the first set of classes is on Saturday, followed by the Speakeasy. (This is open to everyone and is a “10 hour stint of the hottest jazz and coolest swing this small town has to offer”, starting at 20:00)

LV: We have people coming from all over – America, Denmark, France, Finland, Norway and across Scotland.

LP: And then classes start around 11 the next morning.

DP: Hang on, for 600 minutes of dance on the Saturday, that means you’d need 10 hours, so you’d be finishing at 6 a.m.

LV: Yeah, these workshops tend to turn into classes and then a big party that doesn’t end til 4, 5, 6 or 7 a.m. and then you’re back at class that morning. Edinburgh does a similar thing every year. After about 2 a.m. no one sleeps, and you’re usually left with 40 to 50 people. It gets to the point where you realise that you’ve been dancing for 16 hours.

LP: People are so keen for it and it’s only on for one weekend so people don’t want to waste their time sleeping, you just want to make the most of it. We’ve got lots of international teachers coming to teach our classes.

LV: Yeah, the more you dance, the less you feel. At our events, people normally don’t sit down.

DP: Wow, this sounds so exciting. Tell me about the 600 theme.

LV: So we began by planning this as a society and it just fit into the anniversary celebrations well, so we approached the Union to see if they wanted to jump on the bandwagon and rename the event.

LP: We had a plan, teachers, venue and everything was looking great in November, so they were happy to support us. They were up for anything that was open to all and there were a few requirements to make this into a 600th event, but they were easy to meet. Freddie Fforde seemed really excited about the idea of the Speakeasy.

DP: So finally, what would you say to those, like myself, who have two left feet to encourage them to come?

LV: Well, it’s all very easy really; someone will just grab you and help you onto the dancefloor!

LP: I think everyone’s secretly capable of swing dance even if they’re not convinced themselves!


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