Herräng Dance Camp

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Herräng Dance Camp (commonly abbreviated HDC, officially Herräng Dance Camp Aktiebolag) is the largest annual dance camp that focuses on African American jazz dances such as Lindy Hop, boogie woogie, tap, authentic jazz, and balboa. It is owned and run by Lorenz Ilg, Frida Segerdahl, Fatima Teffahi, Daniel Heedman, and Lennart Westerlund. Each year, the small town of Herräng, Sweden is transformed into a multi-week dance camp attracting world-famous instructors and dancers alike. With the short Swedish nights, the dancing is pretty much 24-hours.

Similar to many dance camps, the format varies slightly each year but is traditionally held for four to five weeks in late June through late July. For numerous years Herräng Dance Camp has been the largest Lindy Hop dance camp in the world, with a reputation for offering both the highest standard of teaching and attracting the best social dancers from around the world. While the camp holds nightly social dances with music by live bands and DJs from around the world, the main focus of the camp is on dance instruction. In 2007, over seventy instructors were featured during the five weeks, including original dancers from the swing era such as Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, and Dawn Hampton.

With over 750 people attending each week (the official population of the village of Herräng is 500), the camp assembles a significant amount of infrastructure each summer to meet the needs of the large number of dancers. Some of the most noticeable additions to Herräng during Herräng Dance Camp includes several cafes; a full cafeteria serving buffet-style meals; a shop for dance supplies, accessories and daily essentials; bicycle rental; housing of various standards; nightly entertainment and more.

History[edit]

1982 - 1988: The Beginning Years[edit]

The first Herräng Dance Camp was held for one week, starting on 1 August 1982, and was organized by the Swedish Swing Society, a swing dance organization based in Stockholm, Sweden.[1] It attracted around 25 participants and was taught by John Clancy from New York.

Having had a successful event in its first year, the camp saw its attendance boost to nearly 100 students in its second year. For the following five years, the camp grew in popularity in and around Sweden, and was only attended by Swedish dancers.

1989 - 2000: The International Swing Revival[edit]

With the growing revival of African-American dances such as Lindy Hop in the late 1980s, the camp began to gain international attention. In 1989, two separate camps were organized in Herräng, one by The Rhythm Hot Shots and another by the traditional organizers, the Swedish Swing Society.

For the 1989 camp organized by The Rhythm Hot Shots, Frankie Manning, a surviving member of the swing era, was invited to teach at the camp.[2] Since 1989, it has been a continued tradition to invite surviving members of the swing era. Most notably, Frankie Manning returned to Herräng every year until 2007.

The competing dance camps were held for five years, until 1994, when the two groups held the first unified Herräng Dance Camp.[3] During the 1990s, the camp gained greater international attention, beginning to attract a sizable number of dancers from countries outside of Sweden and Europe. Some of the largest non-European countries represented included Japan, Australia, and The United States.

2001 - present: The Modern Dance Camp[edit]

With the growing worldwide adoption of the Internet, the dance camp went from purely paper registration in 2000 to an online-registration system in 2001. As part of the internationalization of the dance camp, the dance camp had grown to four weeks of instruction and dancing and, in the 2001, 2002, and 2004 dance camps, the "Herräng Swing Bus" took a number of instructors and dancers alike to various popular European destinations including Zurich, München, Prague, Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen, London, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam. Even without an officially organized trip around Europe, many of the instructors continue to travel to sites around Europe, teaching and dancing at the local scenes in many European cities.

After twenty-four consecutive years, one of the main facilities used by the camp was rumored to be closing and thereby threatening the existence of the dance camp. In response to the rumors, the 2006 camp saw an unprecedented 1,200 dancers attend over the four weeks the camp was held. In 2007, the camp continued and celebrated its 25th anniversary and unveiled that the camp would be officially expanding from four weeks to five weeks. Though returning to a four week program in 2008-2009, HDC has offered a five week program since 2010.

HDC celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "History". Herräng Dance Camp. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  2. ^ Manning, Frankie; Cynthia R Millman (2007). "14: Revival". Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. ISBN 1-59213-563-3. 
  3. ^ Björnström, Ulrika (May 1998). "På korståg för Lindy Hop". Swingtime (in Swedish) 19: 10–14. 

External links[edit]