Festiv’ Alan is one of the most unique swing dance camps we have ever been to or even heard of. It takes place in Toulouse, France in a smaller village called Alan. Now picture this: one street, a handful of houses, and one church at the end of a courtyard. Then imagine miles and miles of sunflower fields, meadows, and the Pyrenees Mountains looming in the distance. Further, go up a rocky road to the top of a small hill to find an old building resembling a monastery with a courtyard of green inside it’s four wings. This is the South of France, and this is where Festiv’ Alan has made a summer holiday for swing dance.
This camp was also unique because it lasts an entire week, with classes and late night dances filling up each and every day. It was so impressive to learn that almost everyone was on holiday, either because their home was France and practically everyone is on holiday for the whole moth of August, or because they purposefully requested the week off of work, to DANCE. The daily schedule was laid back, but still packed with hours of lessons, and then each and every night there was a dance that lasted into the wee hours of the night! Our favorite was the animal-themed dance, where we dressed up as Two Cool Cats.
A big highlight of the week was the night of the performance with the instructors of the camp. We performed a duet, a routine with our friends and mentors Michael Jagger and Evita Arce, the Carribean Shim Sham with Remy Kouakou Kouame, and a closing piece with the instructors and organizers of the camp. We were especially so excited to spend time with and perform alongside our “Grandfather” and “Grandmother”, Ryan Francois and Jenny Thomas, the mentors of our mentors Michael Jagger and Evita Arce. A true honor.
We truly have made memories during this European trip that will last us a lifetime! We hesitate to leave, but are thrilled to return to our home of New York City to share stories of our adventures and share the knowledge we have gained in swing dance in the process. Here’s to more adventures in the near future!