Back to Swing got its headquarters!
Before we tell you all about it, we would like to make a slight detour to recent history and share our experience, the one which literally turned our lives upside down and changed the concept of fun as we know it. We are perfectly aware that this sounds like the biggest cliché ever, but that’s how it is.
My lady and I have been together from the beginning of time by my calculations. We had many similar interests, but the one thing really added another dimension to our relationship was – dancing. It was something like four years ago when we discovered swing dance classes in our town, but till then, we didn’t know something like that even existed. Back to Swing was a fresh new school, run by Mario Švigir and Andrea Vozila, an experienced dancing couple who was really into this whole swing dancing thing. Back in the day, classes were held in Kopriva, a picturesque sculpture atelier where we learned the very basics and made some long lasting friendships (the Wednesday crew!). Classes weren’t refined yet like they are today, our teachers were also fresh on the scene, but from the beginning they had this learning curve, continuously improving their own dancing skills, and upgrading their lessons.
This is a random photo from the Back to Swing office, to break up this extremely long text. Now we can move on.
Like in any activity, only the determined ones managed to survive, and thankfully, this was the case with us.
As you already know I’m building a car little by little, always over the budget, and with all my skills for last 15 years. So, if anything, I could say I mastered determination :). The same thing happened with swing dancing, when we arrived we didn’t know anything and my sense of rhythm was criminal. My motoric and muscle reflexes have been already programmed by the different sports I used to train in the past and I just couldn’t get into this „bouncing“ and „feel the rhythm“ thing. I simply didn’t feel it. I remember coming home class after class, aggravated and disappointed – everybody, including Goga, has already mastered some superman figures while I was still fighting with the rhythm and the basic step. On this link you can see me mastering my swing out.
Soon, half of the participants dropped out, so it became much easier for the teachers to develop a more personal approach and use my natural stubbornness to help me get the hang of it.We continued practicing and slowly I started getting the groove. And by slowly I mean slower than you probably think. It took me eight full months before I finally stepped onto the dance floor and got the first crack at the social dance totally without pressure. And boy, the feeling was great.
In one specific time period I was training six days a week, took beginners’ classes over and over again… then we discovered Balboa, Rockabilly Jive, and lately Shag, Blues and Solo Jazz. Not to mention a billion of vintage and swing festivals… and then, it was too late for us to take up any other activity.
Ok, let’s get back to the subject.
Now, after 5 years the school has grown. It all started with two enthusiastic teachers, and now there are a dozen of them (the most persistent ones from the beginning of the story). Since Goga and I really like going to festivals, we became official Back to Swing promoters and teachers on the fly.
But, the reason why this post was written in the first place is the newest thing – Back to Swing got its official office and the official dancing hall at Bikers Beer Factory in Zagreb, and on this occasion they threw a big opening party. For about a month the whole crew worked really hard to bring the place into the habitable state. Sanja Bencetić, an industrial designer and university professor (also a Rockabilly teacher), was in charge of designing the interior, and she did a fine job. The space consists of two rooms, one is the very official office and the other one is a showroom, with some unique vintage items from Gangster and his Retro House. All in all – it looks great. Here’s a few pictures from the opening:
We had a great time. Two live bands, Ad Hoc Gipsy Swing band and Johnny and his Rockin’ Tunes played till the wee hours. We danced, we laughed, we drank, we gossiped, we enjoyed being together.
Good luck Back to Swing!
The rest of the album you can see on this link. Thanks Biba Lihtenvaler & Bruno Papić for the photos