This year ESDC is hosting a series of lectures and panels. These talks are free and no booking is needed, just show up! All talks are held in Lecture Room 33, near the ballrooms. We are calling this year’s lecture series “Swing: The Big Picture”

About the Talks

We wanted to cover a range of holistic approaches to your personal dancing and community building. With that in mind, series curator Nancy Hitzig has put together five seminars and panels to give you the big picture! From injury prevention and recovery with representatives from the Trinity Laban Dance Science programme, to lectures on lesser known dance styles you might want to try, to a swing school summit on best practices and lessons learned from some of Europe’s largest swing dance schools – we have something to enhance your ESDC experience and take away from the weekend! We will also be offering how best to market your classes in your local scene as well as some recent research on the unspoken exchange we share while dancing or watching competitions. 

Whether from a personal perspective on keeping yourself healthy and injury-free or a genuine curiosity on how to grow your school, there is something for beginners who are fresh to the dance floor and experienced scene leaders and teachers alike. 


Saturday 17th October
12:00 – 13:00 “Visual Design for Swing Dance” with Laura Knight
16:00 – 17:00 “The History of Shag” with Simon Selmon
17:45 – 19:00 Swing School Summit (hosted by Cat Foley)

Sunday 18th October
12:00 – 13:15 Dancer Health Panel (hosted by Duncan Stuart)
15:00 – 16:00 “Conflicts in the Lindy Hop World” with Ali Taghavi


Saturday 17th October, 12:00-13:00
Visual Design for Swing Dance
Presented by Laura Knight

How can visual design help build awareness of the dance we love? Bring people to classes and events? What issues should we be aware of when marketing Swing dancing? How can design help us to build a more inclusive scene? How do we make sure our design is authentic?

It’s about more than a great logo, it’s about the language you use, the images you choose and how you talk about yourself. Come explore the concept visual branding. Examine some of the issues behind marketing dancing and pick up some tips on building a successful Swing dance brand.

About Laura
Laura Knight runs a design studio in London’s East End, she spends her day solving deign problems for a broad range of clients. In her spare time she teaches design masterclasses for the Guardian and in recent years has helped shape the brand of Swing Patrol London.

Saturday 17th October, 16:00-17:00
The History of Shag
Presented by Simon Selmon

Simon was first introduced to Shag by Jonathon Bixby in the 90s, he went on to study with dance historian Lance Benishek who learnt Shag directly from (amongst others) Arthur Murray’ pupil Tom Gallagher. He will share his research into the history of this dance and some of the different varieties including the single, double or triple Shag. The dance dates back to the early 30s and is often referred to today as ‘Collegiate’ Shag as in its early days it was often danced by college students who were spicing up traditional ballroom dances and injecting them with some teenage spirit, later tamed by Arthur Murray for a wider audience. Best suited to medium & faster tempo Swing music, find out why its growing in popularity with today’s Lindy Hoppers.

About Simon
Simon first saw the Mama Lu Parks Lindy Hoppers live at the Village Gate in 1985 – and got hooked by Swing dance. Following several pilgrimages to New York (and later California) to meet original dancers, he founded the London Swing Dance Society (now Swingdance UK) to promote Swing in the UK. He went on to win the UK Club Rock ‘n’ Roll Championships in 1988, televised on BBC1 where the commentator described him as dancing ‘like an original GI’. He turned professional in 1990 as a dancer, teacher and choreographer, specialising in dances from the 1900s – 1960s.

Saturday 17th October, 17:45-19:00
Swing School Summit: Insights by leading European Swing Dance Schools
Hosted by Cat Foley

What are swing schools around the world doing well and what lessons have they learned? Hear the insights of Scott Cupit, Swing Patrol, Jana Grulichova, Swing Maniacs, Marcus Koch and Barbl Kaufer of World of Swing. These are some of the largest and most successful swing dance schools in the world! Learn what’s worked for them and how you can build your classes and introduce more people to the dance we love. Moderated by Cat Foley, Artistic Director of Mersey Swing, it should prove to be a great discussion. Our panelists are:

Scott Cupit, Swing Patrol
Swing Patrol is one of the world’s largest swing dance schools. Founded by Scott Cupit, it’s a community of over 1,000 dancers, a passionate teaching team, four amazing troupes and a small but dedicated team of staff and volunteers. From hole-in-the-wall speakeasies to London’s great dance halls, they’ve built a massive collective energy and made great friendships along the way. Swing Patrol’s primary focus is on building an inclusive community alongside respecting the roots of the dance.

Jana Grulichová, Swing Maniacs
Swing Maniacs was originally founded by Jana Grulichová and Jordi Mundet, two crazy lovers of Swing. Their passion has taken them around the world and enabled them to participate in various international workshops. They bring this knowledge and experience to their students and the world of swing. They set up the dance school with the intention of providing a meeting point for anyone who loves to dance and wants to share their passion with others. In recent years, the ever increasing swing movement in Barcelona has turned the Catalan capital into a focal point in Europe. These days, Swing Maniacs is one of the most influential dance schools on the Barcelona scene, offering all styles of dance classes with swing music and boasts a large number of students. At Swing Maniacs you can learn Lindy Hop (swing) for children, teenagers, adults and older students; jazz steps, tap dance, balboa, blues, hip-hop, funky, contemporary dance, ballet, and much, much more!

Didier Jean-Francois, Studio 88
Studio 88 Swing has been sharing the joy of Swing dancing with all of its students for nearly 2 decades to people of all ages! The fantastic team of teachers (including many Canadian and International Champions) provide professional and playful instruction. The Studio 88 team are specialists in the instruction of dances of the 1920’s all the way to the 1950’s. Our teachers are hired world-wide to give intensive workshops, have performed on many national and international stages and the studio offers robust advanced dance opportunities including amateur and professional troupes. These troupes are legendary in many scenes all over the world.

About Cat
Since discovering the swing scene 10 years ago at university, Cat has been involved in many roles in a variety of swing schools. From running a university society, to teaching for various profit based schools to starting a little class in Liverpool which is now proudly a registered ‘not for profit’ business, Mersey Swing CIC.

Sunday 18th October, 12:00-13:15
“I don’t want dancing to f**k my knees/back/ankles”: A Dancer Health Panel
Hosted by Duncan Stuart

How do we dance late into the night and stay injury-free? Swing dance has many positive health benefits, but rarely do we talk about our health and wellness. Join a research fellow Emma Redding from the Dance Science program at Trinity Laban, leading sports nutrition dietician Jacqueline Birtwistle and community member and professional maverick Duncan Stuart for a panel on injury prevention, injury recovery and methods to keep us all dancing our evenings and weekends away.

About Duncan
Duncan has been dancing Lindy Hop since late 2009 and is still (mostly) in one piece.
He’s had his fair share of knee and foot issues. After seeing a number of friends have to temporarily stop dancing due to dance-related injury and pain he started a FaceBook group called “I don’t want dancing to f**k my knees/back/ankles”. The group is a place for people to share advice, experience, and war stories about dance-related injuries, prevention and recovery.

Sunday 18th October, 15:00-16:00
Conflicts in the Lindy hop World: Better Communication, Better Results
Presented by Ali Taghavi

Lindy hop has recently been experiencing a surge of conflicts: from copied artwork to competing local scenes even to cases of physical harm – upsetting issues that need to be addressed. But how?

In this presentation we will talk about how to have healthier conversations in our communities and on social media platforms; how to react when we’ve been wronged; how to speak our mind without letting a situation escalate; and how to get solutions instead of more fights.

About Ali
In the past five years my company SwingStep has grown from an idea to a teaching team of 8 full-time dancers working in several cities. We’ve overcome many challenges along the way, which gave me deep insights into constructive conflict resolution.

Lecture Room Map