Discover Turkey's swing and Lindy Hop dance scene

Published 03.05.2019 00:28
Swing and Lindy Hop, the dance styles and music of what is considered to be the golden era of jazz, has seen a revival in popularity in Istanbul and worldwide.
Swing and Lindy Hop, the dance styles and music of what is considered to be the golden era of jazz, has seen a revival in popularity in Istanbul and worldwide.

With multiple classes and dance parties held weekly throughout the city, there is a lively community of dancers, dance students and teachers that get together regularly to perform and have a great time

This weekend, the city's biggest swing and Lindy Hop dance festival, Crossover Istanbul, will be taking place from May 3 to May 5 in different venues in Istanbul. This three-day event is a wonderful opportunity to discover the swing and Lindy Hop dance scene in Istanbul as well as witness a wide variety of styles and specialties of this dance style performed by instructors from all over the world.

The way this festival works is there will be simultaneous classes held throughout the three days followed by dance parties, competitions and live musical performances with swing bands in the evening. This three-day event will be taking place in multiple venues throughout the city, with classes being held from noon to 7 p.m. at the Istanbul Lindy Hoppers regular practice venues, which are Harlem in Beyoğlu, Frankie in Beşiktaş and Savoy in Kadıköy, and will also include classes held at the IF Performance Hall in Beşiktaş. Evening parties will be held at Zorlu PSM Sky Lounge and the closing night at IF Performance Hall.

As the biggest swing and Lindy Hop dance event in Turkey, the festival will feature dancers and instructors from all over the world. There will be concept classes teaching techniques such as solo jazz, blues and even aerials led by well-known dance instructors in this genre. Participating instructors include a pair from Rico Lim and Chloe Hong from Korea, which has a popular swing dance scene. Hailing from Athens, Vassiliki Papadopoulou is an instructor and a central figure of the performance group Rhythm Hoppers. Mertcan Mert, who has been a part of the swing scene in Istanbul since it flourished, will be joined by one of Russia's best swing instructors Daria Chupyrkina. There will also be Nicolas Deniau from France and Mikaela Hellsten from Sweden, Lithuanians Arnas Razgunas and Egle Nemickaite and the Ukrainian duo Oksana Pavlova and Vitalii Kalinchyk, who are known for their aerial tricks. There will be Chloe Boucard and Peter Wishart of Geneva Swing and Yasemin Selçuk and Gökçe Alacadağlı, who are the organizers of the local Hadi Blues dance community, where they also teach the style for five different levels.

Each evening, there will be dance parties featuring live music and strictly swing competitions for advanced couples and 30-minute showcases, in which dancers will strut their stuff in turn in the center of a circle of dancers. There will be live musical performances by The Bandwagon Swing Orchestra, a nine-member band from Stockholm, in which many of the members are also swing dancers and Tin Pan, an American group that plays early New Orleans jazz. To find out more about the program and how to take part in classes and competitions visit The Crossover Istanbul event is organized by Istanbul Lindy Hoppers, Turkey's first-ever swing dance community. Formed in 2007, the community has since grown and holds regular Lindy Hop, solo jazz and tap dance classes and parties for all levels in three venues, located on both the Asian and European sides of the city.

If you want to take classes, Swing Istanbul is another organization that has been around for a decade and organizes a number of daily lessons from their three venues, which are located in Galata, Kadıköy and Caddebostan, as well as regular dance parties.

Lindy Hop comes to Bodrum

On Saturday, May 25, the Bodrum Lindy Hoppers will be holding a "Lindy Hop Dance Night" at Off Gümüşlük. The day will begin with a two-hour workshop for beginners from noon to 2 p.m.

The dance party begins at 10 p.m. and will have DJ In Jazz We Trust curating the music for a fun night of Lindy Hop and Swing dancing.

The Bodrum Lindy Hoppers also hold practice sessions every Wednesday evening in Gümüşlük.

Lindy Hop Festival in İzmir

At Town İzmir, a Lindy Hop festival will take place place from June 13 to 16 in the town of Balıklıova near İzmir's Urla. Organized by Lindy Hop İzmir, a dance school and organization that teaches classes and organizes swing dance parties and live music shows in İzmir, there will also be dozens of dance instructors from countries such as North Korea, South Korea, Spain, Italy, Russia and Poland to name a few. In addition to classes, this four-day festival will also have live musical performances, open dance parties and competitions. Check out for more info.

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