Helen admits to being a vintage film tragic from a young age, and any films with Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, Katherine Hepburn, Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and many more and are still sure to please. But that really doesn’t explain why she couldn’t forget the swing dancers she saw showing off at a Royal Crown Revue gig a friend dragged her to in 2000. She looked in vain for anything similar, which includes a rather embarrassing hip hop experience, until moving to Hobart and finding the real deal in 2001. Since then she hasn’t looked back (which means don’t mention the hip hopping).
If you ask Helen the “what is it about swing dancing?!” question, she may find it hard to choose between fabulous dance-floor experiences and great music, but in the end she would say the people, the camaraderie and the way swing dancing opens up the world to you. She looks at each dance as a conversation, and just like typical conversations so many things can influence the experience – how well you listen, what you say in response, and how well you know the person – of course that also means every dance is a chance to get to know someone that little bit better! And by the way, who ever said that every conversation has to be serious? Her advice to new dancers is: say hello!
Helen is co-director of FootNotes and is pretty excited about swing dancing in Hobart this year. She is also part of Hobart’s long standing performance group, Lindy Mob, and has been on the Devil City Swing committee for four years.
- Dancing on stage for Pinky Beecroft, MONA launch 2011
- Best costume, Pirate Ball, Hobart (as a parrot), 2009
- Hullaballoo, Perth, 2008
- Dancing in Stockholm, Hamburg, Paris, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Oxford, London, underwater on Cleopatra’s tower (Alexandria, Egypt) 2004-06
- Herrang Dance Camp, Sweden, 2004
- Frankie Manning Workshop, Melbourne, 2002