Towards a more Sustainable European Swing Dance & Music Scene

Towards a more Sustainable European Swing Dance & Music Scene

Over the last years, “Sustainable development” has been popping up across all thinkable sectors, in various forms and shapes. And rightly so, as our world is undergoing a series of changes that has impacted and will impact the planet, people’s lives and society as a whole for the foreseeable future. With the Sustainability Strategy and the Sustainability Charter, Swinging Europe delivers two action-oriented documents for the scene to survive and thrive.

The pathway towards a more sustainable world calls for an effort from all actors – big and small organisations alike – to take action for a more sustainable environment. The topic itself is interconnected, with issues relating to the ecological, social and economic sphere. Hence, sustainable development poses interdisciplinary challenges, but also offers a huge growth potential for the community:  A sustainable Swing dance & music scene provides to the needs of everyone involved, has a positive impact on the whole society, and ensures a liveable society and planet for future generations.

In that light, the thirteen partners of the Swinging Europe Network have taken up the responsibility to create a Sustainability Strategy and a Sustainability Charter for the European Swing scene and beyond, a project co-funded by the Creative European programme of the European Commission.  As far as we know, this is the first consolidated effort within the scene.

This Sustainability Strategy offers a framework and guidance document to explore sustainability in its broadest sense, based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Encompassing social (“people”), ecological (“planet”), economical (“prosperity” and interconnected (“peace and partnership”) aspects, the Strategy formulates 21 goals relevant to the sector. Each goal is illustrated with a non-exhaustive list of concrete actions and good practices, for different groups of stakeholders such as organizers and community members.

The Sustainability Charter invites actors, in particular organizing entities within the swing dance and music scene, to engage with and commit to relevant goals and actions, presented in a customizable sliding scale format. It serves as a practical tool with over 100 actions that include, but are not limited to environmental and climate protection; gender equality, inclusion, diversity and appreciation for cultural heritage; safer and thriving work environments for the artistic and business development of swing artists and organizations; fruitful collaborations and peaceful partnerships.

Both documents are now freely accessible online:


Swing Paradise Festival Sixth Edition

On June 9-11th  What a Jazz dance studio organised the 6th edition of Swing Paradise Festival.

 The goal of the event is the ultimate swing experience: dance classes with true to the core swing dancers-teachers, authentic swinging music of 1930s-1940s with original and modern touch, beautiful Vilnius old town and venues at best walking distance, spectacular on-time evening program with plenty of time to social dance.

Even though festival focuses on unpopular swing dances as Balboa & Shag, all swing dances are invited to one dance floor. Swing Paradise festival vision is a full swing music and dance experience – very wide range of tempo in the music, some waltzes and ballads, orchestral arrangements, even some time to sit down and enjoy the concert.

Swing Paradise Festival Sixth Edition is part of the Swinging Europe Network 2 project, which is co-financed by the European Executive Agency for Education and Culture through the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.


The first online Learning Network meeting

On the 4th and 5th of November, the Swingin Europe Network organised the first online ‘Learning Network’. Spread over these two days we had over 70 participants from around 15 countries showing up. As a little surprise, we also welcomed Rita Ezenwa-Okoro from the Global Play Brigade to remind us of the importance of play in any environment. Learning Network is not only the name of the event. It is also the name of a methodology that emphasises innovative learning and exchange of experiences and ideas. It offers a space where any European swing dancer, organiser or participant can join in to learn in groups around specific topics. The goal of these meetings is to create a positive learning space. We believe that these gatherings will nourish the people participating and their communities at home.

Over a time span of two years we will hold online and IRL meetings on these topics:

  • social engagement strategies 
  • artists development strategies
  • history heritage preservation and recognition
  • green festivals
  • strategic and economic development

After the first Learning Network at the Ghent Conference in July ‘22 and this first online gathering, we are launched to hold another 6 gatherings. The next one will be held in March ‘22, so keep an eye on our online media and newsletter.

For more information, you can get in touch with LouisLou, who is the head partner responsible for these network moments. See you in March, and remember, these Learning Network moments are open to all actors in the European and international swing dance scene. Spread the word!

The Learning Network is organized within the Swinging Europe Network 2 project, which is co-financed by the European Executive Agency for Education and Culture through the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.


The very first edition of ILHC Europe took place in Sofia

The famous competition event, recognized by swing enthusiasts all over the world, had its premiere in Europe this November.

 

The International Lindy Hop Championships (ILHC) has a long history and tradition in the USA. Over the last 14 years, the ILHC has become an emblem of the highest standard and quality among swing dancers. The aim of the organizers is to promote the dance by creating an event that honours the spirit and traditions of the Lindy Hop and provides an opportunity for competitors of all backgrounds to showcase their skills on the dance floor.

Now, this opportunity has become even more real for European dancers thanks to Lindy Hop Bulgaria and Remy Kouakou Kouame the hosts of the first European edition of the ILHC format.

Within 4 days, between November 10 and 13, Sofia became home to dancers, teachers, musicians, speakers, and swing enthusiasts from all over the world. The event program included 15 competition divisions, lessons and workshops in different styles, live music, discussion panels, and much more.

ILHC Europe is organized within the Swinging Europe Network 2 project, which is co-financed by the European Executive Agency for Education and Culture through the Creative Europe Program of the European Union and by the Culture Program of Sofia Municipality.


Swinging Europe Network Project Third Edition Has Kicked-off in Sofia

The kick-off meeting of Swinging Europe Network’s third project period, scheduled to run between 2022-2025, took place at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria, between 6-8/6/2022.

Representatives of the 13 project partners from across 11 European countries, attended the activities scheduled by lead partner Lindy Hop Bulgaria (LHBG), to discuss in detail the implementation of the project, which is co-funded by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Union through the Creative Europe program.

The threefold aim of the Swing Net 2 project is:

  • To support professionals active in the swing dance and music sector – musicians, dancers, teachers, dance schools, event organisers, content creators- stand on their feet again after the COVID19 crisis, as well as provide them with opportunities for international professional mobility.
  • To increase visibility, introduce and acquaint the general public with the swing dance (lindy hop) and swing music vast history, origins, cultural heritage, iconic figures and values, and with the vibrant community active across Europe.
  • To establish Swinging Europe Network as a means for professional development through relevant interaction of professionals across Europe.

The means to achieve the aforementioned, combine activities in the physical world, such as festivals, conferences, artists’ residencies, as well as digital content creation, in the form of a series of podcasts, an audiobook, newsletter and other ways of making Swing Net 2 project available to the public:

  • An artists’ mobility and visibility programme
  • Training, experience sharing and career development
  • Swing history heritage awareness and recognition activities
  • Strategic development of the sector and representativeness activities

The 13 partners collaborating in the Swinging Europe Network 2022-2025 project period (Swing Net 2) are:

  • Lindy Hop Bulgaria (Bulgaria)
  • Marmaduke (Spain)
  • Italian Swing Dance Society (Italy)
  • Svingo Rojus (Lithuania)
  • Louis Lou (Belgium)
  • Associació Cultural Storyville (Spain)
  • Syncopation Society (Germany)
  • Little Big Minds (Portugal)
  • Pepita Dance Association (Hungary)
  • Shake That Swing (France)
  • Swingville Montpellier (France)
  • Kulturno Drustvo Swing Festival (Slovenia)
  • Swing in Greece (Greece)

What is more, sustainability, gender balance, inclusion, diversity and representativeness are among key points and priorities of the Swinging Europe Network project. In line with the EU Green Deal actions, the European Year of Rail initiative and the European Strategy for Textiles, project partners will be urged to promote the use of public transportation and rail whenever possible, paperless festivals and the upcycling of garments.


The First Swinging Europe Conference to Take Place in Sofia

As part of this year’s edition of Sofia Swing Dance Festival, our team is organising the International Swing Conference – a panel talk event aimed at community leaders, event organisers, swing dance teachers, musicians and all members of the swing dance and music family.

The event will take place on the 01st of July as part of the programme of Sofia Swing Dance Festival 2021.

Agenda:

12:00 – 13:15 Panel Talk 01: Covid-19 Impact on local scenes

The first panel talk of the day will take a closer look at the impacts of the pandemic on the international and local swing dance scenes. Our panel members will share their first-hand experience from the effects of the crisis on their local organisations and communities. We will discuss different aspects of the crisis, how local leaders struggled to overcome them and keep the community together.

13:15 – 14:30 Panel Talk 02: Reaching and retaining target audiences

In this second panel talk, we will address topics related to the communication with our community members and target audiences. More specifically, our panellists will talk about the need for more professional approach to online marketing and the application of different communication tools. We will discuss how to approach and attract new community members and bring back and retain long-time students.

14:30 – 15:00 Break

15:00 – 16:30 Panel Talk 03: The way ahead

Introducing the Swinging Europe Network – an Association dedicated to work for the sustainable development of European swing culture, creative scene and artists. The main goal of this newly established organisation is to support our sector by providing access to information and resources; increase the professionalization of the sector; find and encourage young artists and organisations; provide opportunities for training, collaboration, and exchange of good practices among community members.

16:30 – 17:30 Networking session

 

The International Swing Conference is organised as part of the Swinging Europe Network project supported by the Creative Europe programme of the EU, the National Culture Fund Bulgaria, and Sofia Municipality Culture Programme.


Final Results Announcement

European Swing Artists Contest 2020-2021

RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT

We are happy to announce that the Jury of the European Swing Artists Contest 2020-21 has reached an agreement on the winners in both categories of the contest.

In this edition of the Contest, we had a total of 141 participants, including small bands and big orchestras, solo dancers as well as dance teams. Big thanks to everyone that has participated. We hope that this initiative will support the swing sector in Europe, especially in such difficult times.

And now, the winners.

In the Music Artists category, the Jury has selected the following bands:

In the Dance Artists category, the Jury has selected the following dancers:

Congratulations to all the winners. Each one of them will be contacted in the following weeks and offered the chance to perform at one of the events organised by the project partners.

#CreativeEurope #SwingingEurope #SwingingEuropeNetwork


Public Voting Results

We are happy to announce the results of the Public voting in the European Swing Artists Contest.

In the Music Artists Category the winners with a total of 158 votes are the Jeepers Creepers Swing Band.

In the Dance Artists Category the winners with a total of 211 votes are Livio Totteri and Morena Petrolati.

Congratulations to the winners for getting the most votes from the public and thanks to everyone who has cast their vote.

Stay tuned because soon we will be announcing the final decision of the Jury and the winners who will have the chance to perform at the events organized by our partner.

#CreativeEurope #SwingingEurope #SwingingEuropeNetwork


Public voting is now closed

Public voting in the European Swing Artists Contest is now closed. In the past month, we have received close to 2000 votes in one or both categories of the Contest. Thanks to everyone who has cast their vote.

Results will be announced by the 15th of February 2021 when the contest Jury takes its final decision. The Jury will take into consideration the voting of the public. Learn more about the Contest here.


Swinging Europe Network Info Day

The Swingin Europe Network project consortium will hold an online Information Day that will take place next Friday 22nd of January, 18:00h CET. It will be streamed live via our Facebook page.

Join us to learn more about our project and what we have achieved so far. The Swinging Europe team will be there to meet you and answer your questions.

Swinging Europe Network project is financed by the Executive Agency Education, Audiovisual and Culture (EACEA) through the Creative Europe program.