Many dancers rave incessantly about how great Herräng is; let's find out more about this crazy camp from Rotterdam's biggest Herrang fan: Egle Aleknaviciute. You may know Egle as one of the devoted lindy hop teachers of TripleStep or you may have met her on the dance floor at a RoffaSwing event.
Well, we asked Egle about some essential Herräng stuff. If you want to know more, just ask her at the next RöffaSwingSalon where she will draw the winners of the Herräng party-passes.
How often have you been to Herräng?
I have been to Herrang three summers in a row: 2010, 2011 and 2012.
If you could use only three words to describe Herräng, what would those words be?
Three words would be... dance, dance, dance!
Herräng is the biggest dance camp in the world and it has quite a reputation. Would you recommend Herräng to people that haven't been dancing that long?
Yes! One week in Herrang can give you more experience and improve your dancing more than regular classes and social dancing in half a year. Workshops with the best lindy teachers in the world every day, dancing for hours every single night, is there any better place to be?
Ofcourse, it is a dance camp, so you can dance all day and all night. But for sure Herräng has more to offer. What else is going on?
Shows! Although Lindy Hop is a hobby of thousands of people in the world, I sometimes forget that part of these lindy hoppers are truly dancer by profession. Some of them perform on the big stages such as Broadway, and in Herräng they perform on the small stage of the Folkets Hus, right in front of your nose, only 3 meters away and you can almost touch them. Herräng is the place where everyone relaxes and goes crazy too. Have you already seen the Gangnam style video from Lindy Focus 2012? Seeing performances like this one live is something very usual in Herrang. But in fact it is a very special experience, you may never get another chance to see anything like it.
What makes Herräng different from other dance camps?
I mostly travel for international weekend workshops and not so much for other dance camps. It is very different from the international workshops because first of all it is longer than a weekend. Staying in Herräng for a week (or even a few weeks) really feels like being in another world, where the real world no longer exists.
Herräng is just a small village in Sweden, which normally has only a couple of hundreds inhabitants throughout a year. In July however there stay around 1000 dancers per week. From all over the world, from Sweden and Europe, but also from Australia, Korea, Brazil, Canada, the US... Everyone is a dancer: doctors, drivers, chefs. In Herräng people are no longer engineers, architects, teachers, everyone just becomes a dancer.
At the daily evening meetings at 9pm, lead by Lennart Westerlund with a special taste of Swedish humor, the news and the gossip of the camp are discussed. People of significance in the Lindy Hop world – some of them are real jazz legends, such as old-timers Norma Miller, Dawn Hampton and Steven Mitchel – are invited for talks and interviews. There are suprise performances from talented camp attenders/dancers (and not only!). These evening meetings are a combination of valuable, pretty serious bits of history and complete and ridiculous sillyness. The news of the real world no longer exists in Herräng, this is another world. I am not sure how to describe the difference from other dance camps, but it definitely is very special, an experience like no other!
Tuesday night is blues night with a short opening show at midnight. Thursday night is a cabaret night, its a craziest talent show ever. Friday night is Masquerades, where the world, already quite far from reality, turns into something even more crazy (circus, fairy tale or nerds house). Don't forget to check the theme of the week you are planning to go and get your costume ready. Looking normal is not an option on Friday night! (Check out the themes of 2013! Week 1: Viva Las Vegas, week 2: Winter Wonderland, week 3: Haunted House, week 4: World's Fair, week 5: Slumber Party.)
Dancing every night is something you have to do! And then there is a little cafe where you can get the most delicious home made chocolate brownies with vanilla ice-cream. After hours of dancing, there is a moment where energy seems to be running out, this is a sign to stop, find someone to talk to, sit down and enjoy every bite and every word. Delicious! You won't gain any kilos even if you have 7 brownies in 7 days, don't worry... you only need to dance suficient.
Although its perfectly normal to dance in your jeans if you feel like it, don't be surprised to leap back in time and see many dancers styled accordingly. Guys and grils dressed in style, vintage hairdos. Like time has gone back and everyone dressed up for a very special night out to a ballroom.
If you get tired of too much action, you can rent a bike or take a 20 minute walk to the beach. Just lay on the sun and do some swimming.
There is many more... but you have to discover that yourself.
Aside from your dance shoes, what's an essential item you should always pack when going to Herräng?
Mosquito spray, people say. Summer nights and hot blood of dancers is indeed something that mosquitos like.
Do you have any good tips to share?
If you have not registered yet… do it quickly! If you are a single follower, it's probably too late. Next year register the same day as registrations opens. But for now: find a lead!
When in Herräng, take your time and do show up at least 40 minutes before the daily evening meeting starts. Tthe time spent queueing is well worth it, attending the evening meetings is very very special. Special entertainment or simply good conversations are on every night.
What would you consider "the icing on the cake"?
There is a special moment when the three dancefloors of the Folkets Hus are emptying and it is getting light outside (5, 6 or 7am in the morning?) You're slowly going to leave for bed (tired feet!), you carry only your dance shoes and while leaving the Folkets Hus, swing music is still playing behind you and the sun is rising. Then it has been a great dancing night!
So, what you're waiting for? Want to join the party in Herräng? Find out how to win a week's partypass to Herräng here. Or be safe, just register and go, go, go!