The Inimitable Chester Whitmore.
This year was the first year in five that I was not able to make it to the Herrang Dance Camp in Sweden. This is an extraordinary event that takes place in a tiny town outside of Stockholm.
It is essentially a ‘swing dance’ camp which encompasses everything that comes under that umbrella term, and no, this does not in any way refer to the term used in the 60’s. From Lindy Hop (swing) to solo jazz, charleston, tap, balboa, and a plethora of other styles that are performed, taught and danced throughout the full month of July every year in this tiny town.
It is hard to really describe how unique this dance camp is, similar to a festival, around three thousand dancers from around the world fly into Stockholm every year. From workshops all day, to dancing all night, the music never stops. Live bands, themed parties, glamorous balls, the quirky Swedes and all those involved keep the shenanigans going all month long.
One of the many amazing experiences I have had there was learning from the inimitable Chester Whitmore. This enigmatic man has accomplished wondrous amounts in his lifetime and his talent is never ending. He is a highly renowned drummer, leader to his own big band, musician, arranger, composer and songwriter.
He is a Master in Karate, choreographer for fights scenes in Hollywood and a stunt man himself, he has been in Chuck Norris films and the like. He is a high speed tapper having learnt from one of the Nicholas Brothers and a dance choreographer with credits to his name such as Madonna’s Vogue film clip and the Opening sequence to Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal film clip.
This man is amazing; his modesty is humbling and his energy, relentless. I had the privilege of learning jazz from Chester as have a few of the Sugar Blue, jazz enthused starlets and it was an experience we won’t forget. And now that I have given him a little introduction, here are a few clips of this outstanding man. I Hope you enjoy. Scarlet x x