So the Dublin Lindy Exchange was awesome. There were over a hundred people there, and while most of them were from Ireland, and a fair amount were from the UK and Northern Ireland, I also met dancers from Spain, Italy, Australia, and even Japan. I met and danced with all three of the other Americans, including a fun dance with Carrie, during which we traded off leading. It was fun seeking out the Americans based on their accent – if you stumbled across one in a random conversation, “where are you from?” was always one of the first questions to be asked. All over the country, apparently: two were from Oregon and one was from Philadelphia. I also met two expats, a guy from Michigan who now lives in Ireland and a girl from Colorado who now lives in Britain.
One of the things I noticed right off the bat is that there’s a significant difference between the American and European swing scenes. The European scene is much older – there were only a couple of other dancers in the exchange who I estimated to be around my age. My guess is that most American swing dancers pick it up in college, while European colleges often don’t offer swing dancing. Dance lessons and exchanges are more expensive here, as well, so I think the Lindy scene here is largely composed of the people who in America have moved on to West Coast.
There was also a distinct difference in the skill levels of the dancers. While there were a couple of really excellent leads, I would have expected a higher general skill level. And very few Europeans dip at the end of songs, which I found confusing and a little disappointing. The late night in particular was a bit of a mixed experience: the setting was awesome, the music was wonderful, and the food was great, but it was clear that very few people really knew how to blues. But then, from what I’ve heard, the late night at this exchange last year was the first experience that a lot of them had ever had with blues dancing, so it isn’t surprising that the general population contained a lot of beginners. Like ice, air conditioning, and large refrigerators, blues dancing is apparently not a European thing.
However, I had a lovely time getting to know dancers from so many different places and visiting parts of Dublin I would never have seen otherwise. Hopefully I will get to dance with at least some of these people again over the next few moths.
After this, I had more stuff with pictures integrated, but when I tried to post it, it just deleted everything. Maybe I’ll add that later, but in the meantime, I’m a little too irritated.