Another crazy weekend came to an end This was the third edition of Shag-a-Bal, a small festival in Zagreb, devoted exclusively to fast music dances, like shag and balboa. You can see our reviews from the last two editions here and here – written by Django LaForge, who unfortunately couldn’t make it this year due to technical difficulties, and not the lack of enthusiasm, as you may think 😀
The weekend started with the Friday party at Kaptol Boutique Cinema, in the very centre of Zagreb. Actually this was the first time Vedran and I went there, and I must say I was quite impressed with the interior design of the cinema bar – it’s huge and cozy, modern and retro at the same time.
Maybe it wasn’t the ideal place for dancers, especially for those who were expecting something more similar to a dance hall, or at least a closed event, but, as one fellow dancer said, it kinda looked like you crashed a dance party at someone’s living room. So, yeah, it had some minor disadvantages, but the atmosphere was really pleasant, and even the carpet in front of the stage was good enough even for some balboa sliding.
Like the last year, Gadjo Manouche got the task to warm us up. And they did pretty well. We always enjoy their concerts, and their bass player’s solo outbursts, even though we have a chance to listen to them every Friday in Crafter’s Lav.
At some point they got a reinforcement in shape of Shorty George – one of this year’s teachers, who sang two songs with them, and the crowd went wild. He’s a pretty good singer and entertainer, we should invite him more often.
Not sure if anyone got that, but I played Who Said Shorty Wasn’t Coming Back two times, once when Shorty arrived, and once when he was on the go, since he’s already been in Zagreb once. They were so lucky they had me for a Friday party DJ.
Vedran in a good company
Workshops started at Saturday, and they were great as usual. I took the balboa classes, and again, I was blown away with the amount of new stuff, that can be applied to improve your skills. So, just when you think you’ve mastered the technique of basic steps, here comes someone like Nejc and Andrea to show you gaps in your knowledge This year’s lessons were mostly about the flow, and shaping your body movement.
Shag teachers this year were Gosia Aniolkowska and Matteo De Stefano, including some rising stars like our teachers Dado and Lea, Vid Milojković and Živa Šubelj from Slovenia, and Maria Shagfrau Grabherr from Austria.
Shorty George and Ira Ishchuk are a really nice dance couple, full of positive energy and craziness, and people, including me, really enjoyed their classes.
Saturday party was also held in the Boutique, but with another band. Retro Vibes Orchestra had a pretty good gig few months ago at the Christmas dance party, but now they were a bit too jazzy for most dancers. But – it didn’t stop us to make the most out of it.
The highlight of the evening was of course a Shag-a-Bal crew choreography. It was very hard to compete with the last year’s performance, though.
And like the night before, we stayed till the very end.
No video, didn’t happen. Literally When the class is over, teachers usually do a recap, and students record it with their smartphones. I wonder how many people would actually remember the class material without recording it. Maybe we should ask the guy who’s sitting on the floor, acting cool.
In the evening we moved to a newly opened Kulturni Centar Mesnička, where another band was waiting for us. Gungula is a young female band, who plays jazzy, gypsy, swingy music – and they were absolutely charming. They fit perfectly into the ambient, with both appearance and music, and we had the best time.
The gig was at the basement, so the atmosphere was cozy and friendly, even a bit tight for all the dancers who wanted to dance, but that also has its charms Just like Vedran’s shirt with the I Hate Shag title on it.
Shorty George was announced as a DJ, but unexpectedly the basement had to close, so we didn’t hear much of Shorty’s playlist, but I must say that it ended in the perfect timing. The party was still at its peak, but most of the people already had to go and prepare themselves for the working week. The wild bunch went to an after party, so this is the official last man standing photo
All in all – one amazing weekend. A little bird told us that some of the teachers will be back in Zagreb in April, for a Streetcar named Lindy festival, so stay tuned!
Thanks Biba from Studio Studio for the photos!