What would you say if you had an opportunity to spend a weekend staying in a different city, dancing, attending workshops and having tea/coffee/cookies throughout – entirely for free?
You may think it is impossible, but the opposite has been proven during the Tchic Tchic Boum Festival in Nancy, France. Guests arriving from other cities were hosted by the local dance community members, workshops were given for free by the visiting dance enthusiasts and a full weekend of sharing, learning and having fun was ensured.
A festival like this is a superb idea. For the beginner and intermediate dancers, it is an opportunity to learn something and practice it at the parties, or to simply have a chance to get introduced to a new dance that they may like and end up wanting to learn later. For more advanced dancers it may be a great opportunity to share their passion and knowledge with others and ‘infect’ them with the dance spirit. The ‘infection’ then has a chance to spread and bring new people into the wonderland of dance.
The ‘infection’ is something I always wish to share with the others, so when I heard it was possible to teach a workshop, I wrote Nicolas to ask about it. It turned out one other person wanted to also do something that would not involve simply combinations, so we decided to teach together a two-hour block that would cover everything we both wanted. Unfortunately, in the end he couldn’t make it to Nancy, so I was lucky to have Etienne agree to help me out.
The last remaining ‘problem’ was the Friday night demo… I wanted to show people not necessarily some stellar dancing, but to instead convey the feeling, the dynamic and the opportunity to play that are contained in the social dance. I deliberately chose a non-Zouk song for the demo, but such that had the needed qualities – ‘Uninvited’ by Alanis Morisette. We decided to see if someone would be at the party whom I knew and who could dance in the way that could send the necessary message.
Luckily, it turned out that we brought such a dancer with us in the car all the way from Prague :D. It was only decided for certain roughly 10 minutes before the demo time that we would, indeed, do something with Ondrej – he knew the song and he also is one of the loco people who likes to play with the music.
So we were doing something rather crazy and, unfortunately, I think there is no video footage to see what it actually was :D. Apparently though people were under impression that we prepared some sort of a choreography to this!
When in fact we had absolutely no idea what either of us was doing or was about to do :D. I mean, look at this! I don’t even remember any of it 😀 😀 😀
Whatever we ended up doing on Friday seems to have inspired some curiosity though as to how this was done. There are, in my opinion, two integral parts to successfully enjoying the dance bug: small technical things that make dancing an enjoyable experience and the skills needed to interpret and enjoy the music. On Saturday I had a chance, with the help of Etienne, to try and pass on at least some of the small but important tech skills. Maybe one day in the future I would have the chance to also share the musicality bug, if there is time :).
What I had in mind would require at least a full day or two to actually cover and practice during exercises… We had to try and squeeze at least some of it in just two hours.
Because of so little time, there was more talking than action, as exercises had to be cut 😦
However, we had a chance to shortly try out some of the things. One thing that blew my mind was the difference I could see from up the stage in ‘before’ and ‘after’ when I asked everyone to spin on the spot. Roughly 80% of people initially had some troubles with keeping their balance and spinning. I shared a few simple tips on how to spin easier and told everyone to try again. This time about 80% of everyone could spin! It was the best feeling to see this impressive change in just a couple of minutes – I guess I was able to pass on something useful in such a short time!
At the end of the 2 hours I gave permission to anyone to revenge me for so much talking. I said if what I tried to pass on was not useful, anyone can come up and beat me up in a dark corner :). To my relief I was left unharmed. Those who came up said the workshop was very useful, despite the uneven talk/action ratio. Useful was exactly the goal, so I’m guessing I can mark this one off as ‘success!’ in my books :).
Even some ‘stars’ attended the weekend! Alex Lima came all the way from Paris for just one day to teach a Samba Gafiera workshop.
I had a chance to practice with one of the best partners 🙂
The ‘teachers’ and crew. There was, apparently, something fascinating on the floor… LOLLL 😀
Sunday afternoon party: Gangnam style!!!
(Almost) everyone who attended the weekend.
After the Sunday party finished, we decided to take a stroll around the city. It was cold and dark, but I still managed a few snapshots.
I’m guessing it’s the same idea as what we saw in Barcelona: if you connect the points on the map that correspond to where the creatures are in the city, you’ll get a magnified version of that creature 🙂
Trying to take a sharp shot in the dark while on the run is one hell of a challenge!
Violent little creatures… Already lost a few body parts – probably in fights 😀
I see dance floor!
Restaurant near the gate has badass ceilings!
Apparently there is a dragon down there somewhere…
We spent a while on the square trying to find a star engraved on one of the cobble stones… Maybe next time we’d have more luck!
We the people, after a long stroll in the cold, went on to have a gathering with wine and cheese and then a small after party that turned out to be even more private than we expected. Thus ended our wonderful stay in Nancy… Until, hopefully, next year!