Together Again Dance Festival in Melbourne, Australia
Written by Evita Arce April 27 2022
Being based in Sydney, Australia afforded me the opportunity to work closely with long time friend, colleague and phenomenal dancer, Ramona Staffeld. Originally from Ithaca, New York, Ramona has been based in Melbourne, Australia for several years. She has been building a fabulous Lindy Hop school called “1929 Studios” and thankfully managed to hold on while the pandemic paused social dancing.
In April 2021 I joined forces with Ramona and created the first weekend dance event to re-emerge after the pandemic in this part of the world. Luckily, Australia had kept it’s covid numbers very low and we safely accommodated a cozy 120 participants across the weekend activities. (This was before the outbreak of the Omicron variant.)
We decided to call the event “Together Again”, celebrating our reunion and the come back of social dancing. Along with myself and Ramona teaching Jazz dance and Lindy Hop, we had Thomas Wadelton teach Tap and a zoom lecture panel with our elders, Ms. Barbara Ann Billups and Ms. Sugar Sullivan.
A primary goal for the festival is to show the connection between Lindy Hop and Street Style dances, uniting the dancers of these communities and expanding the way Swing dancers appreciate the African diaspora. It was critical for us to bring in a guest teacher representing street style dance. Through a connection by LaTasha Barnes, Ramona and I were able to have Nadiah “NfuZion” as our special guest! Nadiah can do many styles and she specializes in Dancehall which was the highlight class of the weekend.
This year 2022 I am beyond grateful that our dearest Michael Jagger will be partnering with Ramona to produce the festival! Already their pre-registration has SOLD OUT. I think the combination of Ramona and Michael’s reach into street style dances will no doubt expand the weekend festival to include more people with more reach and make stronger bonds across the dance styles.
Check out the website for more information about registering for classes and attending the parties. A few spots may still be available.
The Teachers this year will include Ramona and Michael teaching Lindy Hop and Jazz, Thomas teaching Tap, and new special guests Azzam Hassan teaching Afro House and Jamie Theam Kha teaching Hip Hop.
Follow their Instagram page for more updates about the festival.
We are strongly passionate about educating the Lindy Hop community, helping encourage the study and respect of African American heritage in this dance. We strive to continue working towards making connections with the Hip Hop, House and street style dance communities. “Together Again” is a festival that teaches and celebrates Lindy Hop, Tap Dance and Street Style dances. Even if you can’t go in person, have a look at the site and follow the event page on Instagram and Facebook.
video created by Michael Jagger