DJ Lil’ Koko invited us to dance, perform and teach during her set at the Mardi Gras festivities at Pop Brixton. Dressed in purple, orange and gold we led the parade through the music to the driving rhythm of the Tunnel Chops marching band. Then back at the stage we performed three routines and taught a 20-minute solo Charleston class. We spent the rest of the afternoon dancing with people from the crowd, practising our gymnastics (occasionally being outshone by the kids!) and dropping in the odd surprise routine.
Briston Mardi Gras is such a energetic burst of colour in the grey of winter – what a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Thanks Lil’ Koko for having us. See you next year!
For our fifth year at Festival No.6 we played the piazza at 7:15pm on Friday night. We put on a ‘Mudflappers Megamix’ with tunes from the 30s to the 80s. For the first time we played with our DJ Tobin on stage, so we could mix it up between performances, demonstrations and audience dance-offs. What started with Charleston ended with a Thriller-fuelled zombie stage invasion. We also taught partnered Lindy Hop, St. Louis Shag and Northern Soul workshops up in the No.6 Academy. Our fifth No.6 has been our best one yet – great to end on a high!
Our old friends at the Idler Academy were running a bookshop at Byline, the festival of writing and journalism. They asked us if would like to teach swing dancing in their bookshop and we said “Yes!” (We usually do…) You remember the summer of 2018 when it was hot, hot, hot? Well, Byline was the weekend that the heavens broke. We took shelter in the bookshop tent and taught our mix of old moves to new music between the aisles of books.
Back at Neverworld (formally Leefest) for our third year of entertaining Merpeople, lost boys and pirates. We were called opon for an exhilarating early morning lindy hop teaching session, waking up the bleary eyed festival lovelies. What was a hour scheduled lesson soon turned into a 3 hour lunchtime dance session as we carried on performing and dancing to the DJs that followed. Ace time, as per, love this festival, especially glitter wrestling at The Beach!
Port Eliot was our first festival and one of our favourites. This year we were back for the 5th year to teach a programme of beginners’ swing dancing classes at the Idler Academy stage. The setting couldn’t be more idyllic: a lawn that gives onto a beautiful tidal inlet. Lots of space to dance, drink gin, and then, when it gets too hot, a quick swim in the bracing water and some skin treatment on the mudflats.
We taught a mixture of lindy hop, charleston and St Louis shag classes. We now have quite a loyal following at Port Eliot, with festival goers coming back year after year to try out our irreverent mix of dancing, messing around and generally making people laugh. We are super pleased to be coming back in 2019.
We returned for a second French adventure in Normandy, with rolling fields and sunny seaside as backdrop to the eclectic and charitable Pete the Monkey festival. We taught partnered Lindy Hop in a treehouse and our favourite solo Charleston stroll in the gorgeous (baking) sunshine. It was a treat to discover London friends Sweet Thunder playing pop-up swing-jazz slots with their travelling piano, so much of the weekend was spent cheerfully swinging out to live music with twinkle-toed festival goers. [Reports of unofficial Mudflapper-initiated dance-alongs in the late night Disco Tent can neither be confirmed nor denied…]
The Mudflappers’ Tour de France has become an annual fixture. This year we headed to sunny Provence for some rehearsals in the rolling hills, a village square show and street performances on the shoe-melting streets of Avignon. Our multi-talented ‘Flappers debuted our busking band and we just couldn’t help ourselves from a little impromptu dance “sur le Pont D’Avignon”, as the old song says…
The most glorious heatwave befell the UK over this August bank holiday weekend, so we de-camped from inside the Idler Academy’s Imaginarium to teach outside, doing several Charleston classes to vintage and not-so-vintage tunes over the weekend. We also got invited into the dance-off stage ‘all stars’ spectacle; essentially a boxing ring surrounded by hoardes of sparkly, cheering revellers. We have no shame in saying our Tranky Doo placed behind well-deserving winners including outrageously attired cross-dressers, a 10 year old acrobatic prodigy and obviously, the champion; the guy who took all his clothes off. Individual Flappers and friends however did win several heats with their unique swing-inspired moves, to rapturous applause. We love you Shambala ❤
With a Peter Pan-inspired theme of Neverworld, this weekend is all about escapism, and we drew crowds with our lively Charleston class three times over the weekend, despite battling larger sound systems nearby. Revellers were so keen they continued to follow along to our Michael Jackson Thriller Charleston routine (impressive!) and when we took to the decks to play tunes for the hour after class, the bar tent continued to hop. One of our biggest crews so far this summer, it was great to use extra Mudflappers for even more crowd engagement, and give our resident DJ centre stage for a while.