I would just like to take a moment to mention how fantastic Cumberland Shuffle was this past weekend. I believe many congratulations and praises should go out to Morgan Kestner and Breanna Perry, who are the organizers of this incredible event.
I would love to see more events of this scale and caliber. The interesting thing about Cumberland Shuffle is that it started as a very regional event for dancers interested in learning classic forms and styling of dance – it has always been a smaller event, giving it a very intimate and casual feel. This year, however, the event attracted a much wider range of people from all up and down the Eastern Coast, and even a few from out west. I think this attraction is due partly to some great marketing by the 20 Club, and partly to the reputation for being a quality vintage-focused event.
I believe there are many benefits for maintaining the size of Cumberland Shuffle as it is; some aspects which I think made it work are:
- Fewer venues make transportation and navigation easy.
- One set of really quality instructors makes the event attractive, yet keeps it affordable.
- In the same vein, one (or two) really good bands keep the energy high and the price point low.
- To make up for only one band, a couple really fantastic DJs (such as Rob Moreland, who killed it every time he played) keep the energy high.
I won’t go into it, but I’ve seen a few events in the past couple of years strive a little beyond their means and really hurt the quality of the event. Cumberland Shuffle was spot on, and the affordability and simplicity of the event really enhanced the quality of the event. In particular, the level and quality of dancing was exceptionally high. Combined with the intimacy of the event, it fostered a very inspiring and energetic atmosphere.
I would love to see more exchanges and workshops which follow this model – sure, we all love a good ol’ Lindy Focus or ILHC to get the blood pumping. But in-between the all-star events, I would love more casual, intimate, and simple events. Ones where you go to relax and socialize at an affordable, comfortable event.
In a separate yet related topic, my favorite part of the event was going to the park on Sunday with a few people who weren’t taking classes. We watched the capoeira dancers, played some Frisbee, took naps in the grass, and learned the Tranky Do. It was entirely casual and relaxed and fun and social. I would love to see an exchange which focuses on being simple and social; I think it would be absolutely the best way to spend a weekend.
Also, I would love to say that our mohawks were incredible. And last but not least, you can be funny, but you can’t have fun. So a shout-out to my carpool and house-mates: you guys made this event into more than I expected or asked for.