2017 in Review

Here we are at the end of the year – our second in the “new” studio, our fourth with Michael and Saran at the helm, and our SEVENTEENTH of Full Swing existing and swinging the flip out! We’ve had an awesome time, and we can’t wait to get stuck into next year – but first, here’s a little look at what we all got up to this past year.

January began as a typical Wellington summer, with earthquakes and severe weather warnings keeping things exciting, but here at Full Swing we paid no mind! We kicked off our new curriculum and level system, and (gently) threw a whole lot of new trainee teachers in the mix!

We also threw our first party for the year – a special edition Opium Den with incredible jazz and blues tunes from traveling musicians Sandino Cerrado (Brazil) and Georgia Olliere (Australia). International events in the dance world were on our mind too, and Full Swing was proud to host a Safe Scenes community meeting and Skype in participants from Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin to chat about how we can make our nationwide dance community more awesome, comfortable and safe for everybody.

As the year progressed the studio became home to our first Fringe Festival show, hosting Raybon Kan’s “comedy fest test show” after classes for three weeks which brought a lot of new faces and quite a lot of laughter in the door, and opened up the studio for more theatrical adventures, hosting several photoshoots for plays and interviews, and a week full of workshops for the NZ Improv Festival in October

Full Swing was proud to represent Lindy Hop and Charleston as part of International Dance Day in April at Te Papa, with packed kids’ classes and an elite four-person Big Apple performance squad, pictured here in obvious height order. June was freezing, so we didn’t stop moving, with Saran and Michael heading off to teach in the frozen south for Dunedin’s Midwinter Swing and an awesome chilly night of outdoor dancing at the Jazz Festival’s night market winter warmer. We also realised that a) it was freezing and b) heaps of our dancers have a crafty solution for that! Wool Swing, a dancer knitting and crochet circle was formed, and had several get togethers over the winter months!

Lauren and Andrew brought their super successful Balboa retreat to the big smoke for the first time, and held No. 8 Bal in the City at Full Swing – which was an awesome awesome time! Attendees from all over the country came for a big huge dose of tiny footwork and awesome ideas, and the Balboa-loving vibe in the studio kicked up another notch, which is really saying something because it was already pretty high!

August was a month of flying to and fro, with Saran zipping off to judge the Auckland Swing Dance Competitions, Saran and Michael taking the plunge down south to teach the Big Apple in Dunedin, and the incredible Jess McLachlan heading up from Christchurch to teach a full day of solo jazz at Fuller Swing! Nick and Jen headed back from Herrang with heaps of amazing ideas and moves to share, and we a super fun September Fuller Swing with moves from Herrang and Tap-Dance-Lindy-Hop and some pretty sweet Shim Sham slams… and September also saw the arrival of a certain little chap called Ethan – just in time for Windy Lindy!

Windy Lindy this year was a truly magical experience – bigger, better, brighter and happier than ever before, and we’re incredibly proud of how it all came together. We may have put all the goblins in a row, but the magic, the energy and the pure joy came from every single one of the attendees – from our spectacular teaching lineup to the inimitable Gordon Webster band, and everyone who came, learned, danced, laughed, made new friends and brought the event to life. Thank you!

We all needed a week off after Windy Lindy, and luckily the good weather just kept on rolling through November so we had plenty of outdoor time in the sun to refuel for the final block of the year. Comedian James Nokise packed out Studio 2 with his nine year anniversary retelling of The Adventures of Jimi Samoa, and our mid block Speakeasy had a surprise guest DJ – on surprise guest vinyl – for an impromptu Black Vinyl Club!

And here we are at the end of the year. Our final beginner bootcamp had incredible happy energy, our end of year Speakeasy was huge and amazing, with awesome performances from the Tap Ladies and Emma, and we wound down at Meow listening to the incredible blues that Mat from the Dancing and Drinking Society has been secretly cooking up!

We’ve had an a incredible year. Honestly, thank you! Everyone who’s been involved in any way, whether you’ve been at everything or a single class, Full Swing is made of the people who make it special and we’ve loved meeting and getting to know everyone better! Here’s to an even better 2018!

Classes start for 2018 on January 8th

And you can already sign up – or sign up your friends and family as a Christmas gift!


And to get you through the holidays, here are some of our favourite dance moments from 2017:










And some of our favourite articles and ideas!





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