Jass Jamboree Recap

By Larisa Hohenboken

Swingin’ Denver and Boulder Swing Dance co-hosted a special event last month at the Savoy: the Denver Jass Jamboree. With a daytime teacher training workshop followed by a meet-the-scene dance with music from Jeremy Mohney and his Big Four, dancers convened from all over the Front Range and beyond to learn, socialize and dance the night away.

I spent the first hour helping out at the ticket booth, finishing up just in time to catch the first set of performances. The Denver Diamond Dolls kicked it off with the same routine we got to enjoy at Kakes Studio on Halloween.

Next up were the Cats of Swingin' Denver. Many of these performers are relatively new to swing, having started dancing as recently as two months ago.

Later that night, I chatted with one of the dancers from that routine, Derrick Granowski. When I asked him how the group had come together, he said, “The idea for the class came up because there were several students–couples, mostly—who had been coming to swing for some time, but never really danced with anyone besides their significant other. This routine was an opportunity for them to dance with different people, and for those of us with more experience to help them grow.” Congratulations to them for putting on such a well-rehearsed and complex routine!

I also got to learn a bit about the afternoon’s teacher training workshop. Led by professional teacher educator Sylvia Bielec, it offered a discussion-based workshop for current and prospective dance instructors as well as general scene leaders. Sarah Siertle was totally jazzed (pun intended) about what she had learned: "It was amazing! I took so many notes: how to carry myself differently while teaching, how I interact with the class, new materials to cover…It was so awesome.”

All in all, it was a great chance to meet new people and catch up with old friends. We also got to see two more stellar performances before the night was over, one by the CMDance Youth team and another from the Ladies and Gentlemen. It was my first time seeing either team perform, and they brought the house down.

Check out some of the photos Krister took from the dance:

And here’s hoping for more collaborative events by Swingin’ Denver and Boulder Swing!