Korea Open Swing Dance Championships

Most of you already know of my love for swing dancing. A hobby that started when I was an awkward teenager crashing the local colleges’ swing clubs slowly developed into passion of an awkward 23-year old that up until June was crashing that same college’s swing club. Over the past year the intensity has increased as I’ve participated in a lot more workshops, festivals, lessons, and social dances in Minneapolis. The more I dance, the more I love it. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I found out that Seoul has a vibrant dance scene. Seoul was already at the top of my list, but this discovery may have unconsciously secured its position.

Very curious to see if Seoul lived up to the hype, I went out dancing once I had somewhat conquered jet lag. What I saw met and exceeded my expectations. This past weekend I went to the Korea Open Swing Dance Championships, further ingraining the possibility that Koreans are genetically disposed to being great swing dancers. (A friend and I had discussed that the petite-ness follows and tall lanky stature of the leads must do something, but I digress). I’ll elaborate more in the future, but for now I’d just like to talk about this weekend.

The Tranky Doo on Saturday night of KOSDC. Tranky Done.

The weekend was split between lindy hop and west coast, with workshops and performances being given for both, and separate dances happening at the same time. For the workshops and social dancing was strictly lindy. With workshops given by Max & Annie and Chance & Giselle, was there really any other option? I was just excited to have instructors speaking English, but to sweeten the deal, my favorite couple came!

The dances, held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, unfortunately felt like more of an afterthought. The dance floors were small, grippy, and there was no live band. However, if you don’t mind either being crowded or moving to carpet, you can always get a wonderful dance in. The ratio is oddly balanced, maybe even lead-heavy. Crazy, right? I had plenty of great dances, and even was able to follow a couple times! I think that’s a bit more of a rarity here in Seoul

Social dancing Sunday night of KOSDC

Even with all that, the performances were what really made the weekend special. Since I haven’t gone to many (/any) large festivals, I haven’t seen a lot of live performances outside of Jack and Jills, so I was blown away. I didn’t record a lot since I assumed most of them would be online before too long. That isn’t the case yet, but I’ll update as I find them. All I have so far is Robin’s YouTube page.

Not to brag, but that’s the quality of dancing I get to be around. To make it even better, next weekend I get to go to a blues festival with more international instructors, including Minnesota’s very own Damon Stone. What a deal!

Update: Robin’s YouTube page has some more videos. Definitely watch the first place and second place team competition routines, which took fifth and seventh (respectively) at ILHC.

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