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Lindy In The Sky With Diamonds

Lindy in the sky
19-21 January 2024

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I Say HellO!

Picture yourself in a boat on a river - the Mersey of course, and join us for Lindy in the Sky with Diamonds swing festival. With international teachers, four streams, and three parties in two boss venues, you'll be wishing this weekender lasted eight days a week (it's only 3!)

teaching LINEUP

Help! I need somebody! When we started thinking about teachers for this event, we reflected on our experiences at all of the camps, and weekenders that we have attended over the last five years. The teachers that are at this weekender have made an impact on us in way that ensures fun, inclusiveness, and talent. For those teachers who were not available this year we will hopefully have you next year!

We've got the following teachers who can help you if they can:

María Ferrer and Aurélien Darbellay, Stephen Atemie and Korantema Anyimadu, Clàudia Fonte, Wendy Okoli and Ithalia Johnson.

María and Aurélien

María and Aurélien think about their dance as a space of three-sided dialogue, where collective dynamics combine with individual expression and musical inspiration. They emphasize rhythmical playfulness, and different ways of interacting with the music and each other. They like to pay attention both to the moments when individuality smoothly fits into the collective flow, and to the moments when tension arises and resolves. They embrace with curiosity, doubts and joy the responsibility of sharing an artform that was born in the African-American community, in a social and cultural context very different from their own. Sometimes you are up for a chill conversation, sometimes you want to go deeper. Their classes are a mix of both.

Stephen Atemie & Korantema Anyimadu

Stephen is a fresh young talent emerging from the new generation of Lindy Hoppers. In 2017, Stephen travelled to South Africa to spend a month working with the charity Sing Inchanga. There he shared skills with local children & young people across their own dance styles and Lindy Hop. Stephen's performance/competition credits include 10 Downing Street, Harrods, Savoy Cup (France), ILHC (USA). His latest projects include organising talks, webinars and advocacy for cultural appreciation within the Lindy Hop/AAVJ communities across the world as a board member for Collective Voices For Change (CVFV)

 

Korantema Anyimadu is a dancer from London and fell in love with African American Vernacular Jazz in 2014. She has tapped for Zadie Smith and performed at the 2012 London Olympics. When she's not dancing, Korantema is a curator and zine maker, and runs an award winning creative project called Black Hair Stories. She is passionate about the cultural links between the past and the present, and the stories of the African and Caribbean diaspora. Korantema was the former co-leader of the chorus line troupe, The London Starlings (formerly known as The Dinahs)
 

Claudia Fonte

Swing dancer (Lindy Hop & Authentic Jazz), Clàudia Fonte explores and embraces all kinds of playful ways in her dancing. Her main source and inspiration is Swing music itself. Taking the classic rhythms and moves as the foundation, she challenges herself to keep them alive through her own perspective and interpretation. Even though considering and admiring the great historical tradition of Swing dances, she believes in its evolution and expansion; respecting but also transforming the roots she explores different ways of communication and expression, as in vernacular jazz also in the partner dance.

Authentic Jazz is where she feels most in her element. Solo jazz enables her to achieve a creative atmosphere of exploration and play where she takes on the challenges proposed by Swing music and finds her own voice and style. Essential to her approach is promoting solo dancing in the context of social dancing. Sharing tools and techniques her objective is to help the dancers to explore and develop a style the most authentic for them. She believes that the dance floor is where everything starts, and the magic happens; where all dancers find their own way of dancing.

Wendy Okoli

Wendy, a self-taught Nigerian Heritage dancer, embarked on her dance journey at the age of 14, initially focusing on Hip Hop performances from Secondary school through University. Upon relocation to England, Wendy expanded her repertoire to include a diverse array of dance styles, such as Salsa, Dominican Bachata, Merengue, Semba, Kizomba and Brazilian Samba. Her expertise lies in teaching and performing Afrodance and Brazilian Samba.

Together with her best friend, Wendy co-founded Samba Livre, a renowned dance troupe celebrated for their electrifying performances at shows and events, venues, commercials and television shows, both within the country and abroad.

Wendy’s dedication extends to sharing her passion as an Afrodance instructor at colleges, youth centres and through collaborative workshops with Afrodance Academy.

Beyond her mastery in dance, Wendy is a versatile artist, also making a mark in the realms of acting and modeling as a talent represented by Urban Talent, with appearances in various films, TV programs and commercials.

Ithalia Johnson

Ithalia Johnson: Liverpudlian with African, Caribbean and Irish roots, Business Female of the Year, Trailblazer Dance Champion, Clore Leadership Fellow. Dancer, leader and coach. Co-founder of an award winning dance charity, igniting change through dance. Bridging cultures, breaking barriers. Cultivating belonging and self-discovery. Embracing joy, fostering resilience. Creating a world where all can bloom and feel liberated.

Ithalia is a change-making dance facilitator, Movement director, Lecturer and performer; who’s vision is to shape explorations and practice around African and Caribbean Dance.

Ithalia started her journey of self discovery after quitting her job as a development officer to become a dancer. Gaining a distinction in dance at the Liverpool City College, then travelling to NYC to train at the Jose Limon Dance School (2008).

During Ithalia's time in NYC she became part of CoCo dance theatre, directed by Cynthia Oliver, and toured the US for 2 years in the production “Rigidigidim De Bambe De: Ruptured Calypso.” A piece that explored Afro-Anglo Caribbean identity.

Visiting lecturer at Universities including UCLAN, and Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), specialising in using dance from the African diaspora to connect with people and communities, address racism and inequalities.

Hannah Ballard

Sole Rebel are passionate about the creativity, music and movement of tap dancing and sharing this with our ever growing community. Hannah is a multi-disciplinary dance artist, experienced in performance, direction and choreography. Her practice draws from her experience in rhythm tap dance, somatic and release based contemporary dance and improvisation.

Choose your adventure

Beginners

Experience a dance festival! This ticket, it includes 4 hrs of classes on Saturday only, and all our socials (Friday, Saturday Sunday). 

If you've not been dancing very long or haven't danced much outside of your own scene, this stream will give you a strong foundation to build connection, melody and rhythm into your dance. A little experience in some basic lindy hop movement will help (e.g. rock steps, triples, swing outs and circles etc). 

Melody

"Voice & Expression"

Finding your voice in the dance. Listening to the story of the music and exploring how to interact with that.This track will include workshops with all core teachers. This track will be for you if you like to think about the bigger picture when you are dancing. Maybe you find yourself singing along to the lyrics of a song and notice it influences your decisions on how to move, or maybe you have big ideas when you hear a break. This track will give you lots of ideas about how to interpret both what you hear in the music and your own creative ideas into your dancing.

Rhythm

"Riffs and licks"

Developing solid foundations, and exploring other aspects of rhythm and improvisationThis track will include workshops with all core teachers.This track will be for you if you love to play with rhythm and working on both the groove and the embellishments is important to you. Maybe you hear a drum lick and find it gives you inspiration, or you notice the subtle changes in different eras of jazz music and want to feel you can embody that in your dancing. This track will give you lots of ideas about how to interpret the rhythms you can hear, as well as add your own rhythms into the dance.

Connection

"Listen and collaborate"

Working both on how we connect physically, and how we can play off each other to create magicThis track will include workshops with all core teachers.This track will be for you if you want to dig into developing your connection when dancing. Maybe you find that some dances are just electric, as it feels like you, your partner and the music are perfectly in sync. This track will give you lots of opportunity to develop your connection in a myriad of different ways, using classic movements and moves and looking at moments of synchronicity as well as individuality.

band & DJ LINEUP

We get by with a little help from our friends, and this year's musical talents are world-class, hailing from the town where I was born and beyond, we have:

Corina Kwami and The Swing Selection, Dr Jazz and the Cheshire Cats, Bearcat Gumbo, with more to come! 

Corina Kwami & The Swing Selection

Described as a "modern Renaissance woman," Corina Kwami fronts ‘Corina Kwami & the Swing Selection. She has performed in countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia with her projects and dazzled dance festivals in the UK and abroad. As a swing dancer herself, knows how to put together an inspiring, energetic and diverse show. By adapting to what's happening on the dance floor, this excellent band has a big focus on storytelling, connection From Gatsby Age to Ellington, from Basie to the Jazz Messengers, Corina Kwami & the Swing Selection’ have dazzled international festivals (Berlin Solo Jazz Festival, Copenhagen Lindy Exchange, Nighthawks, Swingfest, Leapin Lindy, Fine City Swing, Hullzapoppi, Glasgow Shag Festival and Oxford Lindy Exchange) and London’s dance scenes alike. An accomplished dancer herself, bandleader Corina Kwami is at home with solo jazz, tap and swing dances - blending rhythms routed in movement and story-telling. Corina’s extended work also includes contributions from the arts to innovation, future cities and sustainability. As a recognized thought leader with a PhD, she has deepened pedagogy in bridging the arts and sciences in order to facilitate exchanges between these worlds. You can see her face on series for the Discovery Channel and Science Channel. She lives in London.

Dr Jazz & The Cheshire Cats

Catherine Tackley is Professor of Music at the University of Liverpool, where she was Head of the Department of Music from 2016-2022, having previously held posts at Leeds College of Music and The Open University. She has written two books – 'The Evolution of Jazz in Britain: c. 1880-1935' (Ashgate, 2005) and 'Benny Goodman’s Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert' (OUP, 2012) – co-edited 'Black British Jazz: Routes, Ownership and Performance' (Ashgate, 2014), and was the co-founder of the 'Jazz Research Journal' (Equinox). In 2022 she was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for a project on British Dance Bands. Catherine has curated numerous events in partnership with museums and institutions; most notably 'Rhythm and Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain', an acclaimed exhibition at Two Temple Place in London in 2018 based on her research. She has been interviewed for BBC television documentaries, and is heard regularly on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Catherine is an accredited lecturer of The Arts Society and a regular speaker at concert halls and the UK's pre-eminent jazz festivals. She is a Trustee of the National Jazz Archive (UK), the Light Music Society (UK) and Musical Director of Dr Jazz and the Cheshire Cats Big Band.

Bear Cat Gumbo

Bearcat Gumbo are a five-piece Hokum shindig all female merchants who play jaunty, jazz age tunes.

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Laura Knight (DJ)

Laura has been DJing in the swing scene for almost 15 years. She has worked as a staff DJ at Herrang, Lindy Focus and London Swing Festival and has kept the dancefloor swinging at countless other events in Europe and around the world. Laura is passionate about music and connecting through music, so if you hear something you like, or you just want to chat about music and dance, do come and find her in the DJ booth.

Colbert Newsome (DJ)

Colbert has been listening to Swing music for as long as she can remember. For the past few years she has been sharing her passion and excitement for this particular style of music with others at local socials in London and around the UK. There’s no greater feeling for Colbert than seeing a packed dance floor sharing in her love for a piece of music by swinging out as hard as they can!

Schedule 

The long and winding road that leads to our door is at Liverpool Masonic Hall on Hope Street. That's where all our classes will be on Saturday and Sunday. 

Here's our party venues:

Friday Night - Stanley Theatre

Saturday Night - Liverpool Guild Of Students

Sunday Night - Masonic Hall, Hope St

 

Please note- the Masonic hall has steps to the entrance and lifts internally. Other venues are fully wheelchair accessible, if you need more detailed info, email us

Beginners

Friday

6.30pm Registration opens

7.pm Social begins

11.45pm Social ends

Saturday

10am Registration opens
10.30am Classes start
3.45pm Classes end

4pm Panel Discussion
7pm Social starts
11.45pm Social ends 

Sunday

10.30am Classes and tasters start

3.45pm Classes end

4.30pm Social starts

7.30pm Social ends 

Passes & Prices

Passes:

**REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED**

Full Weekend Pass (all classes & socials) £170

Beginners Pass (Saturday classes & all socials) £100

Socials Pass £60 **SOLD OUT**

Saturday Social ONLY £25 or table of 5 for £100

  • All tickets will be released on 6th October

  • Early Bird Full Weekend pass will be on sale throughout November

  • Beginners & Socials passes will be the regular price from November- early January

  • Regular Weekend passes will be on sale throughout December & early January

Contact us for:

  • Shared passes are for two people sharing the same ticket- only one person from the pair can be at the festival at a time- it's ideal for parents, carers or those managing health conditions that might mean they're unable to do a full weekend. 

  • Pay What You Can if you're unable to pay full price, contact us to get on the waiting list for these passes (no questions asked), we release one place for every ten passes we sell.

email: info@merseyswing.com

Registration form
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