South London SwingFest 2016, 25-27 March @ The Bedford, Balham

Copyright (c) Martin Ellis, 2015-2016

South London SwingFest 2016 - About SwingFest

About SwingFest

SwingFest is an annual weekend festival of live swing music, swing dance workshops and dancing at The Bedford, Balham in the heart of South London.

The next SwingFest is 25-27 March 2016.

We have the most amazing weekend of live swing music, swing dance workshops and dancing til the early hours lined up for you as we take over The Bedford in Balham for the Easter weekend!

South London SwingFest was a roaring success in its inaugural year last March and this year promises to be just as good if not better.

Book as much or as little as you like, from one evening to a day of workshops to the whole event! Book online now - before it sells out!

Live swing, swing DJs and more

We kick off on the Friday evening with the wonderful King Candy & The Sugar Push, a 9-piece swinging big band featuring the sublime vocals of the one and only Kate Mullins [Puppini Sisters].  There's a taster swing dance class included for those who want to learn a few steps first, plus we have some fine swing DJs spinning tunes from the 1930s, 40s and 50s - from London, Andrew "Tequila Mockingbird” Willis & Martin "Swingland" Ellis and from Brighton, Sim Sham.

Tickets for Friday night 8pm-2am in the Ballroom are £20.  Smart dress please, Vintage style always appreciated but not essential.

On Saturday we have the amazing and highly entertaining Natty Congaroo & The Flames Of Rhythm "...a sizzling sextet of killer diller thrillers, mixing red hot swing, jazz, rhythm & blues" plus London DJs Ronnie "Slide" & Martin "Swingland" Ellis and more.  Again the evening kicks off with a taster swing dance class.

Tickets for Saturday night 8pm-2am in the Ballroom are £20. Smart dress please, Vintage style always appreciated but not essential.

On Sunday we move into The Bedford's very grand "Globe theatre" room - like Shakespeare's Globe this is an open circular space with a gallery so plenty of room for both dancers and those who just want to watch and listen. The band? The incomparable Pete Long's 13-piece Benny Goodman Orchestra, playing the original arrangements with the very best of today's swing and jazz musicians. Plus London DJs Tim "Hellzapoppin'" & Martin "Swingland" Ellis and more.  Again the evening kicks off with a taster swing dance class.

Tickets for Sunday night 7pm-12am in the Globe Theatre room are £25. Smart dress please, Vintage style always appreciated but not essential.

All three nights for £50!! No partner needed and no dance experience needed.  Group bookings welcome, just ask.

Kate Mullins with King Candy's horn section
Natty Congeroo & The Flames Of Rhythm
Pete Long

Lindy hop workshops

On Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm we present 3 levels of Lindy hop (swing dance) and Authentic jazz dance workshops (Beginner/Improver, Intermediate and Advanced).

Teachers include special guest international masters Lisa Clarke [UK/France] & Fabien Vrillon [France] together with Ciana Skeete & Oli Deans [London], Sally Young [London] & Alex Parker [Leeds], Sam Holt & Gabija Zakarauskaitė [Brighton] and Martin "Swingland" Ellis [London]

Each day consists of four 70-minute sessions (4 hours of tuition plus practice time) for each level (we have four different rooms).

Workshops cost £45 per person per day or £80 for both days.  No partner needed.  £40/£70 each if a lead and follow do book together.

If you're new to Lindy hop the Beginner/Improver level will be suitable if you've taken some drop-in classes before (eg. on Tuesday evenings at C Jam @ The Bedford) or can do so before the event or if you have good rhythm and are prepared for an intensive learning experience (albeit a fun one!).

A full description of the workshop levels is available on the workshops page.

Lisa Clarke & Fabien Vrillon
Ciana & Oli
Alex Parker
Sam & Gabi

Book now - don't miss out!

Numbers are strictly limited so please book soon - it is unlikely that there will be any availability on the door - especially as the 2015 event sold out completely.

Venue - The Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, Balham SW12 9HD

What to wear?

Please do make an effort for the evening dances - but of course this will not be quite as glamourous as The Savoy Ball!
For the workshops - loose, comfortable clothing and flat shoes please. No vests or shorts. Please remember to bring a change of clothes for the evening if you're not going home!

Food and drink

The Bedford serves great food and has several licensed bars which will of course be open during SwingFest. Please don't bring any food or drink into the venue.

Contact us

Email us

Did you know?

The first SwingFest happened in 2015 because there was no Savoy Ball that year due to renovation work at the Battersea Arts Centre Grand Hall venue, so to keep things going, we came up with the idea of a full weekend event. As it happened it was a cracking event and so we're back for 2016 (sadly there is still no Savoy Ball this year as the Grand Hall was destroyed in a fire and now has to be entirely rebuilt).

Copyright (c) Martin Ellis, 2015-2016

South London SwingFest 2016 - Dancing

Dancing to top swing bands and DJs

Three fabulous nights of live swing music and top swing DJs!

Venue - The Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, Balham SW12 9HD

Friday night

In the Ballroom, 8pm-2am

Saturday night

In the Ballroom, 8pm-2am
  • Live music from Natty Congeroo & The Flames Of Rhythm
  • PLUS! Live music from The Shirt Tail Stompers
  • DJs Markus "Big Papa Mac" Rosendal, Ronnie Slide and Martin Ellis

Sunday night

Big Band night in the The Bedford's "Globe" Theatre, 7pm-midnight
  • Live music from Pete Long & his 13-piece Benny Goodman Orchestra
  • DJs Tim Hellzapoppin' and Martin Ellis
  • Non-dancers welcome!

DJ Sim Sham

DJ Sim Sham

Swing DJ Sim Sham runs a weekly Lindy Hop night in Brighton and has also played at C Jam in London, Camp Savoy, Brighton Swing Thing at the Spiegeltent and last year's South London SwingFest

DJ Andrew Willis

DJ Andrew Willis

Andrew "Tequila Mockingbird" Willis

“You dun shook it/Judge can’t book it” Otis Rush, 'Jump Sister Bessie'

The evolution of jazz and blues during the early and middle part of the 20th century provides us, the modern audience, with a vast body of work, the depth and breadth of which are almost impossible to comprehend. I like knowing that even if I spend hours every day listening to what I can get a hold of, there will always, always be a gem of swing number, a sweet rhythm and blues hit or a dastardly mambo out there that will evade me. As a DJ I like to play what I find to be infectious. A good set, one that plays off the dancers in the room as much as it does as the music in the DJ's carry-case, can really make those records, as well as the people listening and dancing to them, feel amazing. Fewer things allow us to get above and beyond ourselves more so than music, and that hoodoo sure is sweet.

Copyright (c) Martin Ellis, 2015-2016

South London SwingFest 2016 - Workshops

Workshops for all levels

Our amazing teacher line-up includes Lisa Clarke & Fabien Vrillon, Ciana Skeete & Oli Deans, Sally Young & Alex Parker, Sam Holt and Gabija Zakarauskaitė and Swingland's Martin Ellis & team!

Read about the workshop levels

Workshop schedule (updated 20/3/16)

You may book one day of workshops or both.
There will be 10-minute breaks at 12.10pm and 3.40pm and an hour break for lunch each day at 1.30pm.
Rooms for each level will be allocated appropriately according to numbers - all rooms have effective air-conditioning.
Each level will be taught by as many of the teachers as is feasible and appropriate.

Venue - The Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, Balham SW12 9HD (4 rooms - the Ballroom, the Theatre, the Tavistock and the Map Room)

Beginners/Improvers

Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm
  • Lindy hop fundamentals plus Shim Sham jazz routine
  • No experience required, although attending a few drop-in classes beforehand will help (eg at C Jam)
  • No partner needed, we will rotate partners and balance leads/follows as best possible

Intermediates

Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm
  • Lindy hop and authentic jazz dance
  • Good working knowledge of Swing Out, Texas Tommy etc and Lindy Charleston variations expected
  • No partner needed, we will rotate partners and balance leads/follows as best possible

Advanced

Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm
  • Lindy hop and authentic jazz dance
  • Expect an audition first thing! :-)
  • No partner needed, we will rotate partners and balance leads/follows as best possible

Teachers Lisa Clarke & Fabien Vrillon

Lisa Clarke & Fabien Vrillon Lisa Clarke & Fabien Vrillon Lisa Clarke & Fabien Vrillon

Fabien and Lisa met in Herräng, Sweden in 2010 and have been teaching and dancing together ever since. Coming from different backgrounds they both bring their own particular expertise, talents, and enthusiasm to the partnership.

Fabien comes from Grenoble, France and has been teaching swing dancing since 2004, specialising in Lindy hop and blues. His love of choreography has led to him to choreograph a number of teams including French Connection, which brought together dancers from around France, placing 2nd in ILHC 2015, and a number of successful showcases performed at ILHC and other events.

Lisa is a professional dancer from London, now living in France. Classically trained from the age of 6 she discovered her love for all styles of dance whilst studying for her degree in Theatre Dance at London Studio Centre. After leaving college she worked professionally in the commercial dance world, specialising in hip-hop. She then discovered and fell in love with Lindy hop and blues and has immersed herself in all things swing ever since.

Together and separately they have competed and placed in many competitions and can also be seen dancing and performing an airstep in the New Avengers film as well as the Yolanda be cool video ‘Le bump’.

Their fun-natured teaching style, yet ability to breakdown a movement, means their classes are a perfect mix for those wanting to progress their dancing.

Constantly pushing themselves in their own dancing means they understand the work that goes into becoming a better dancer and are passionate about sharing their experiences and helping others to achieve their goals.

Teachers Sally Young & Alex Parker

Sally - photos and bio coming soon

Alex Parker

Alex discovered swing at university while studying Physics. After becoming hooked, he took a gap year in 2013 and started to travel around Europe and the US for the dance. His focus on musicality and clear leading is something that shines through in his dancing. A keen competitor, Alex has placed in over 30 competitions and in 2015 he placed 1st in the Advanced Jack and Jill at ILHC.
Alex enjoys teaching anyone eager to learn. Helping his students find passion for dance is something he revels in, and watching them progress is a reward in and of itself. Ask him for a dance, he swings out... a lot!

Teachers Ciana Skeete & Oli Deans

Ciana Skeete & Oli Deans

Ciana became acquainted with Lindy Hop and Authentic Jazz in 2010 after taking a class with Swingland at C Jam in Balham. A lover of funk and jazz from a very early age, her mum said that she was born with a pair of headphones on - already grooving to jazz, funk and soul music. But after that first class, it was love at first triple-step/apple jack. She was bitten by the dancing bug and went on a mission to learn, quickly discovering her natural groove and ability. From there, Ciana, like many dancers, began to travel to feed her hunger for all things jazz, and to develop and learn from the best teachers that the swing world has to offer. Her learning and development is not yet complete (and she doesn’t think it ever will be) but she is continuing her journey to be the best dancer she can be. Ciana teaches weekly classes and regular workshops for Swingland in London. She has been competing and performing since 2012 and has placed in both LSF (2012 and 2013) and in ESDC (2013) where she was also awarded the ‘Spirit of Lindyhop’ Eurostar award. Ciana has also performed at Cadogan Hall as past of the London Jazz Festival 2013, and at the Savoy Ball. As a dancer, people describe Ciana as authentic and ‘old school’ in her quality of movement and style. They also notice the big smile plastered across her face and the joy that she radiates. She strongly believes that when dancing solo or partnered, every dancer should add a part of themselves and bags of personality to make it ‘your’ dance. It is all about joy, expression and feeling the music. As a teacher, Ciana’s mantra is ‘have fun whilst learning’. She likes to engage with her students and tries to make them feel comfortable without compromising on the quality of content and technique. She also loves to encourage students to think about how they would like to express themselves and be an individual in their dancing.

Oli - bio coming soon

Ciana and Oli established and taught the thriving Swingland Brixton scene from November 2011 through to early 2015.

Teachers Sam Holt and Gabija Zakarauskaitė

Sam Holt and Gabija Zakarauskaitė

Sam and Gabi travel around the world in search of Lindy Hop, learning, teaching and trying to put their own, unique, spin on it.

Gabi has been dancing Lindy Hop since she was 15 years old and initially learnt in her home town of Vilnius, Lithuania. She was then encouraged by her teachers in Lithuania to travel to Sweden to attend Herräng Dance Camp and from that moment Lindy Hop has been a very large, important part of her life.

Sam has been dancing Lindy Hop since 2012 and initially started going to classes in the south of England. When he ventured up to the big city, London, he was inspired by the younger generation of swing dancers he had not previously known about and overnight, became so passionate about swing dance that he would travel up to London or down to Brighton 4 or 5 nights a week to learn Lindy Hop and social dance as much as possible.

Sam & Gabi teach and organise regular workshops in Brighton going by the name of Jumpin’ At The Seaside and also teach in London with Swingland at C Jam on a monthly basis.

Their philosophy is simple - spread high quality swing dancing and have fun!

Worksop levels explained - SwingFest 2016

Workshops will be at the upper end of the level name, the idea being to challenge everyone - whilst of course keeping it fun!

If you've never taken a workshop before (you're probably in Beginners/Improvers) workshops are very different to drop-in classes; much more intense and focussed with a much smaller group.

Advanced
You know who you are! There will be an audition each morning at 10.30am and you must be there for that. Note that you must pass the audition and the teachers may put people down. Don't let this scare you - there is absolutely no shame, it's just about getting the right level, and it will only happen if there is a really clear gap in experience :-)
Rough guide - 3+ years of regular classes and social Lindy hop dancing.
Workshop size will be approximately 10-12 couples and partners will rotate throughout.

Intermediates
This is probably the area that causes most confusion, so hopefully this will clarify.
When it comes to workshops, intermediates is for competent social dancers who can comfortably lead and/or follow at least the following steps on the social dance floor :-
* A variety of 6-count with triple-steps and kick-steps
* Swing Out, Lindy turn, Circle, Texas Tommy
* Side-by-side Charleston, send out into partnered ("tandem") back Charleston, crossover Charleston, mini-dip
* You will almost certainly already know the Shim Sham
Rough guide - 1+ years of regular classes and social Lindy hop dancing.
Workshop size will be approximately 10-15 couples (2 groups, same level) and partners will rotate throughout.
Intermediates are welcome to join the advanced auditions - please ask.

Beginners/Improvers
The emphasis here is on "Improvers". All beginners are improvers and all dancers are beginners in one respect or another.
If you look at the list of steps above that Intermediates are expected to know - these and more are the steps you will learn & refine over the weekend.
Remember that Beginners/Impovers is the level that the best dancers stay in longest.
Rough guide - less than a year of dancing. Some of you might have tried an intermediates drop-in class or two and "got through it" but remember that this is not the same :-)
Workshop size will be up to 15 couples and partners will rotate throughout.

Whatever level you are taking you will learn loads and have a blast - we have amazing teachers lined up!
The teachers are all adept at adjusting the material to suit the particular class and will also be able to move people up or down discreetly if necessary.

Workshop Schedule (updated 20/3/16) - SwingFest 2016

This is the planned schedule but it is subject to change. Rooms will be allocated appropriately according to numbers and level, so please don't read anything into "Room 1" etc.

  ROOM 1 ROOM 2 ROOM 3 ROOM 4
Saturday 26 March
10.15am
Registration and advanced level auditions
 
11.00am
Ints group 1
Lindy hop
Gabi & Sam
Ints group 2
Lindy hop
Ciana & Oli
Advanced
Lindy hop
Lisa & Fabien
Beginners/improvers
Lindy hop - 6-count
Martin & Romayne
12.10pm
Break
12.20pm
Ints group 2
Lindy hop
Lisa & Fabien
Ints group 1
Lindy hop
Ciana & Oli
Advanced
Lindy hop
Sally & Alex
Beginners/improvers
Lindy hop - 8-count
Gabi & Sam
1.30pm
Lunch
2.30pm
Ints group 1
Lindy hop
Lisa & Fabien
Advanced
Jazz
Ciana
Ints group 2
Lindy hop
Gabi & Sam
Beginners/improvers
Solo Charleston
Romayne
3.40pm
Break
3.50pm
Advanced
Lindy hop
Lisa & Fabien
Ints group 1
Lindy hop
Ciana & Oli
Ints group 2
Lindy hop
Gabi & Sam
Beginners/improvers
Lindy hop - Charleston
Martin & Jess
5.00pm
FREE PRACTICE TIME
 
Sunday 27 March
10.15am
Registration and Advanced level auditions
 
11.00am
Ints group 2
Lindy hop
Gabi & Sam
Ints group 1
Lindy hop
Ciana & Oli
Advanced
Lindy hop
Lisa & Fabien
Beginners/improvers
Lindy hop - 8-count
Martin & Liza
12.10pm
Break
12.20pm
Ints group 1
Lindy hop
Lisa & Fabien
Ints group 2
Lindy hop
Ciana & Oli
Advanced
Lindy hop
Sally & Alex
Beginners/improvers
Lindy hop - Charleston
Gabi & Sam
1.30pm
Lunch
2.30pm
Ints group 2
Lindy hop
Lisa & Fabien
Advanced
Jazz
Gabi
Ints group 1
Lindy hop
Sally & Alex
Beginners/improvers
Jazz - Shim Sham
Oli
3.40pm
Break
3.50pm
Advanced
Lindy hop
Lisa & Fabien
Ints group 1
Lindy hop
Gabi & Sam
Ints group 2
Lindy hop
Sally & Alex
Beginners/improvers
Lindy hop - fun stuff!
Martin & Rosie
5.00pm
FREE PRACTICE TIME

Copyright (c) Martin Ellis, 2015-2016

South London SwingFest 2016 - Booking

For group bookings or if you have any problems with this form please email us

Dancing: £50 all three nights
Lead, follow or booking together? If you're taking taster classes or workshops which role will you be dancing? This will help us balance numbers - plus you save money on the workshops by booking together! (New to this? - "lead" is traditionally the male role, "follow" the female)
Workshops: £75 both days plus save an extra £10 lead+follow booking together
Add lunch? (menu)

Sample menu

  • Balham Burger
  • Veggie Burger
  • Beer battered Haddock and Chips with Mushy peas and Tartare Sauce
  • Bangers and Mash
  • Chicken and Bacon Upside-down Pie
  • Halloumi Salad

Copyright (c) Martin Ellis, 2015-2016

South London SwingFest 2016 - full schedule (subject to change)



BALLROOM MAP ROOM GLOBE THEATRE ROOM TAVISTOCK ROOM
(SUNDAY-SIDE BAR)

Friday 20:00:00 DJ Martin TASTER CLASS – Martin & Emily
LAST ADMISSION 23:00

20:30:00 DJ Sim Sham

20:45:00 CHILL OUT SPACE

21:30:00 King Candy & The Sugar Push

22:15:00 DJ Markus

23:15:00 King Candy & The Sugar Push

00:00:00 DJ Andrew Willis

01:00:00 DJ Martin

02:00:00 CLOSE

Saturday 10:15:00

REGISTRATION
LAST ADMISSION 23:00 10:30:00 ADV AUDITIONS – Lisa & Fabien
WARM-UP

11:00:00 INTS 1 – Lindy hop INTS 2 – Lindy hop ADV – Lindy hop BEG/IMP – Lindy hop


Gabi & Sam Ciana & Oli Lisa & Fabien Martin & Romayne





6-count

12:10:00 --------------------------------------------------- BREAK ---------------------------------------------------

12:20:00 INTS 2 – Lindy hop INTS 1 – Lindy hop ADV – Lindy hop BEG/IMP – Lindy hop


Lisa & Fabien Ciana & Oli Sally & Alex Gabi & Sam





8-count basics

13:30:00 --------------------------------------------------- LUNCH ---------------------------------------------------

14:30:00 INTS 1 – Lindy hop ADV – Jazz dance INTS 2 – Lindy hop BEG/IMP – Jazz dance


Lisa & Fabien Ciana Gabi & Sam Romayne





Solo Charleston

15:40:00 --------------------------------------------------- BREAK ---------------------------------------------------

15:50:00 ADV – Lindy hop INTS 2 – Jazz dance INTS 1 – Jazz dance BEG/IMP – Lindy hop


Lisa & Fabien Ciana & Oli Gabi & Sam Martin & Jess





Lindy hop Charleston

17:00:00 FREE PRACTICE FREE PRACTICE CLOSE

18:00:00 SET UP

20:00:00 DJ Martin TASTER CLASS – Ciana & Oli

20:30:00 DJ Markus

20:45:00 CHILL OUT SPACE

21:15:00 Natty Congeroo & The Flames Of Rhythm

22:00:00 DJ Ronnie Slide

22:30:00 DJ Markus

23:00:00 Natty Congeroo & The Flames Of Rhythm

23:45:00 DJ Martin

00:00:00 Shirt Tail Stompers

00:45:00 DJ Ronnie Slide

01:15:00 DJ Markus

02:00:00 CLOSE

Sunday 10:15:00

REGISTRATION
LAST ADMISSION 21:30 10:30:00 ADV AUDITIONS – Lisa & Fabien
WARM-UP

11:00:00 INTS 1 – Lindy hop INTS 2 – Lindy hop ADV – Lindy hop BEG/IMP – Lindy hop


Ciana & Oli Gabi & Sam Lisa & Fabien Martin & Liza





8-count basics

12:10:00 --------------------------------------------------- BREAK ---------------------------------------------------

12:20:00 INTS 2 – Lindy hop INTS 1 – Lindy hop ADV – Lindy hop BEG/IMP – Lindy hop


Ciana & Oli Lisa & Fabien Sally & Alex Gabi & Sam





Lindy hop Charleston

13:30:00 --------------------------------------------------- LUNCH ---------------------------------------------------

14:30:00 INTS 2 – Lindy hop ADV – Jazz dance INTS 1 – Lindy hop BEG/IMP – Jazz dance


Lisa & Fabien Gabi Sally & Alex Oli





Shim Sham

15:40:00 --------------------------------------------------- BREAK ---------------------------------------------------

15:50:00 ADV – Lindy hop INTS 1 – Lindy hop INTS 2 – Lindy hop BEG/IMP – Lindy hop


Lisa & Fabien Gabi & Sam Sally & Alex Martin & Rosie





Fun stuff!

17:00:00 CLOSE SET UP

19:00:00

TASTER CLASS

19:45:00

DJ Tim Hellzapoppin'

20:30:00

Pete Long's 13-piece Benny Goodman Orchestra

21:30:00

DEMOS + DJ Tim Hellzapoppin'

22:30:00

Pete Long's 13-piece Benny Goodman Orchestra

23:30:00

DJ Tim Hellzapoppin'

12:00:00

CLOSE

Copyright (c) Martin Ellis, 2015-2016