Are We Having Fun Yet? So asks the cutout people at the Des Moines Social Club, one of this year’s Heartland Swing Festival’s venues. Based on the crowd’s enthusiasm and cheer, I would say “yes”.
Heartland Swing Festival is a rare event that places great emphasis on the amateurs. Many amateur events typically nod to the professionals in a special J&J or similar competition, but at HSF we dance with the novice finalists for their finals. That’s it and it’s nice. Also, with some of the team and showcase routines, it feels like these amateurs serve more unique pieces as if they’re untouched by frequent YouTube watching. It’s refreshing.
Heather Ballew and I had a full schedule with 8.5 teaching hours including our special team workshop where we analyze and critique their performances. This year, with a full 90 minutes, we also included swingout technique and aerial coaching where we discussed jumping, landing, and timing. It was productive and fun. My other duties included DJing the Amateur J&J and AnySwing Goes prelims Friday evening. Even with the extra teaching hours, it was a pretty fun weekend mainly focused on teaching.
In between the dancing, there were random interesting moments. Like the time someone told me I might swarmed by pregnant women in the future. Needless to say, I impressed her last year with the care I showed her on the dance floor. Sunday night I was fireman carried down a hall and spun around. Then I hoisted Evan Borst and spun him around. One of these days, there might even be video. And did you know that Des Moines has really good barbecue? Fact check me at Jethro’s and The Flying Mango. Before I leave, check out the winning team routine and a fun class recap: