Some dance festivals and camps tend to put your mind on overload and your feet in constant pain. Camp Hollywood gets you on a four-hour daily track to sweaty fun--not from day one, but from day two. Sure there's dancing before then--a little getting to know you dancing and a bit of competition. If you haven't bought tickets to the camp, there's still time to jump on over to the LAX Marriott to join a day of classes or dance to the live music of Casey MacGill and Falty and the Camp Hollywood Quartet.
Camp Hollywood opens with a pre-camp visit to Pasadena's Lindygroove. Then Friday night, the shag division and the open Balboa division competitions start after 45 minutes of dancing to Jonathan Stout and his Rhythm Busters.
You can't buy tickets online any more, but you can show up for either classes, the competitions or just to dance. This year, the tracts include beginner, intermediate, advanced, advanced plus (partners required) and ladies. Camp Hollywood organizes your dancing desires into four hours of dancing, followed by two to three hours of spectating to different competitive dancing. Today's competitions are the amateur classic finals, the amateur Balboa finals, the amateur Jack and Jill finals and the Advanced Jack and Jill finals. Awards are given out at 6:30 p.m. then after the break, you can come back to dance at 9 p.m. At 9:45 p.m. there's a wee bit of fun with the intergenerational dance.
The beginner track is progressive. You can jump around between tracks, particularly if you haven't tried shag or Balboa. Balboa originated in Balboa Island so every self-respecting Lindy hop dancer in SoCal should get familiar with this variant.
Maybe it's due to the ladies track, but both the beginner track and the intermediate track had more men than women. The beginner track was a modest group of perhaps 40 compared to the approximate 100 people in the intermediate classes. That might change today when experienced Lindy Hoppers try to learn Balboa. The advanced plus classes require a partner and that doesn't mean you have to come with one. People were asking prior to the class for partners. There was no partner-sign up board, but a more official match-making might be in the works for next year as the Advanced Plus track is new.
If you don't want to think and just have to dance, the cost is $25, plus $8 for parking. We had no connectivity with our phones (T-Mobile) in the Marriott so you might want to make arrangements to meet someone prior to the camp and it also meant that we couldn't look up various local restaurants for a later meet, mingle and fortify.
What to bring:
- Light lunch (you only have time 45 minutes or less)
- Dinner break is from about 3:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. unless you attend the competitions.
- A change of clothes, particularly a shirt because you'll be sweaty after one hour of classes.
- For the dance, you'll want to dress up. Each evening is themed. Sunday night is "Mad Men." That means skinny ties and wiggle dresses.
- A towel to wipe off the sweat
- If you don't have dance shoes, shoes with relatively flat rubber soles will do. Many people are wearing Keds.
- Cold water is available free of charge