Strictly not for squares: Hep Cats’ swing dancing holiday Swing enthusiasts from around Europe took over Pontin’s Pakefield Holiday Park in Lowestoft (UK) for a weekend of swing dancing, live music and vintage celebrations at the Hep Cats’ holiday last week. Queens editor Lena Weber went along. Organised by coveted UK swing champions and dancing teachers Robert and Claire Austin, who run a series of workshops, classes and dance nights in London, the weekender celebrates big & small band swing, jump jive, rhythm & blues and vocal harmony from the Thirties, Forties and early Fifties. Starting on Friday evening and lasting until Monday morning, the weekend is jam-packed with activity: live bands and DJs from around Europe play until the early hours each night, while some of the world’s best dance teachers give lessons in Lindy hop, Balboa, Charleston and the Shag during the day. As a complete novice to swing dancing I’m a little apprehensive as our photographer and I check into our chalet on Friday evening. My nerves soon calm as we head for dinner (it’s an all inclusive break including accommodation, breakfast and dinner). The atmosphere in the holiday camp diner is relaxed and friendly, and the crowd is a good mix of couples, families and groups of friends, young and older. Within an hour I’ve chatted with countless strangers, many of them dressed in vintage or repro ready for a night of swing and jive. Before I get changed for the evening I stroll through the vintage market, which offers a fantastic range of vintage and reproduction clothes, accessories, home furnishings and records. With so much excellent vintage on offer at fair prices – Forties dresses sell for around £60 – I’m just glad I left the credit card at home. Friday evening has a Big Band theme and although the ballroom isn’t packed, there are many vintage-clad couples dancing along to the live bands. 4 Responses Andi B. Goode March 24th, 2010 Looks like a lot of fun! Wish I could be there. David Q March 25th, 2010 I think this describes the weekend wonderfully. We had a great time and as first-timers we were warmly welcomed into the bossom of the Hepcats. What’s more, we took part in those beginner dance lessons too, which means that at some point I must have danced with Lena. Lena I can only apologise if you were the lady I kicked. Liz K March 26th, 2010 I’m in love with those blue shoes….! Lena March 26th, 2010 Me too! They weren’t my size, otherwise I would have bought them!