On December 7, 2012, I took part in my first ever dance competition, the inaugural Galway Lindy Hop Championships!
To be clear, I’m not a huge fan of competing in dance. As I mentioned before, I don’t dance to compete, and that was partially why I was never a huge ballroom dancer. I dance for the music and the company and the fun. So when my buddy in Kilkenny suggested we compete, I refused at first. Sure, part of it had to do with saving face; after all, in most of the videos I’ve ever seen from comps at lindy events in the USA, the dancers are shazam good. Like, really. And I knew I wasn’t at that level of anything. I’m not a conscientious enough dancer, I don’t pay enough attention to technique, yadda yadda. But he was persuasive, as was another friend, and they assured me it’d be a supportive environment. It’d just be for the craic, after all. So I caved.
And so it was that I found myself being bussed to the Connemara Coast Hotel with a bunch of other dancers, most of whom I’d met along my travels through Ireland. The venue was very nice; along the coast of Ireland, they had decked out the ballroom with a lovely banner and the floor was a nice, live wood. Seeing so many familiar faces from nights out swing dancing in Cork, Dublin, Kilkenny and Galway made me feel better, although I was still nervous as heck!
I had signed up for 2 events: Jack & Jill, which is where you don’t know who your partner will be until the dance itself, and the Open Lindy–often also called a “strictly”–where you choose your partner beforehand. I was dancing with Rory, with whom I’d be dancing basically for 3 weeks straight only a short time before.
They finally called my heat to dance, and I was wildly nervous. So nervous, in fact, that although I was given 2 great leads to dance with, I totally let my butterflies get the best of me and didn’t allow myself to follow, or be creative, or basically do anything right at all (at least, that’s how it felt.)
Disclaimer: For some reason, some of these videos may not be visible in the USA. I’m not sure why…so sorry in advance if you can’t watch some of them! Also, if you’re interested in watching the whole competition–including fabulous solo charleston, great up-and-comers, and more, you can do so here at the Galway Swing YouTube channel!