Swing dance sessions recall War years

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Ever wanted to learn how to perform East Coast Swing, Jive or Lindy Hop?

A new group called North West Swing is looking for locals to come along for lessons with two of the UK’s leading Swing dance instructors, Ian and Shelagh Hartley of GI Jive Manchester.

The couple held a Swing/Jive weekend in Portrush Town Hall in the autumn and such was the response that they are being brought back to the borough for a whole weekend next month.

Shelagh and Ian have been teaching Jive, Lindyhop and Swing since 1994 and have held workshops and weekenders throughout the UK, Europe and the United States.

They have performed on stage at The Royal Albert Hall at London’s biggest ever swing night and a number of top venues across the country including Blackpool Tower Ballroom. They have also appeared at the Manchester Military Tattoo, The Edinburgh Festival, and Bude Jazz Festival and danced to the music of The Memphis Belle Orchestra, The Glenn Miller Tribute Orchestra, The Squadronaires and many other swing and jump jive bands.

Lindy Hop is an American dance that evolved in Harlem in New York, in the 1920s and 1930s along with the Jazz music of that period.

Swing became hugely popular in America in the 1930s and 40s and became closely associated with music before and after the Second World War.

Maria Kee of North West Swing is encouraging would-be dancers to come along and enjoy the fun.

“Anyone with an interest in learning to swing dance is welcome to join us. We will be holding practice sessions for those of us with the basics and casual lessons for novices.”

Ian and Shelagh will be in Portrush Town Hall on Saturday and Sunday, March 12 and 13.

The Saturday session will be for complete beginners with the Sunday designated for improvers.

The cost to take part is £35 a day or £60 for both.

In addition, a Spring Shuffle eveningin aid of Phoenix ADHD, will be held at the Royal Court Hotel, Portrush on Saturday, March 12 from 8pm tol late.

Music will be by The Swing Commanders and there will be a demonstration by GI Jive. Tickets cost £15 and can be obtained from the hotel or Phoenix ADHD, Ballycastle Road, Coleraine. For further details visit the North West Swing page on Facebook or email mariakee@btinternet.com or phone Maria on 07894 751606.