Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new is one of the best ways to meet new people and forge lifelong friendships. As an expat living in San José I decided to explore the city a bit and see if I could find anything of interest, this is when I came across SwingJosé, a swing dancing group bringing people together through the ravishing art that is Lindy Hop.
Lindy Hop is a style of dance that was brought to life in Harlem, New York within African American communities during the roaring 1920’s. Considered by many as one of the cultural movements that helped break down racial barriers, Lindy Hop is a smooth style of dance involving two partners mirroring each others movements. The dance is full of excited kicks and complex maneuvers that can be just as spontaneous as they are sophisticated.
“We came to San Jose to work, and upon realizing that there wasn’t a Lindy Hopper culture we decided to create a small school to form the future of Lindy Hoppers in the country”, said instructors Blai Garolera and Èlia De Lama who started the group in August of 2015 after moving to San José from Barcelona. Both have danced Lindy Hop for about six years and told me they were in love with it from the first class. “I don’t know anybody who arrives mentally tired to class and doesn’t leave ecstatic and smiling”, said Èlia.
SwingJosé holds classes at El Solar, in Barrio Amon several times a week. More advanced classes meet on Wednesdays at 7:30 while beginners meet Tuesdays at 8:30. There are additional intermediate classes Wednesday nights at the same times and after class everyone has the option of staying and trying out their newly learnt moves for an additional hour. If that’s not enough dancing, the growing group meets on the first Sunday of each month in El Parque Francia to dance outside and picnic together.
“The idea is to continue growing and fill the streets of San José with this wild rhythm that makes everyone smile”. If you’re looking to get more involved in the community, build life long friendships, and pave the way for a new cultural movement in San José, SwingJosé is definitely worth checking out. No experience is required and for additional information you can find them on Facebook at “SwingJosé, escuela de Lindy Hop in San José”.