At my first experience with Lindy Hop in Basel I was hooked. Standing at a Basel Jitterbugs dance party with a gin cocktail in my hand, I watched the amazing spectacle of the couples dancing around me. My toes tapped to the live jazz and I was transported back in time.
Basel Jitterbugs is one of two fabulous Lindy Hop dance clubs in Basel (the other is Lindy Harbour). The founders, Larissa and Heiko Heckendorn were not always dancers (Larissa a former high school teacher and Heiko a former engineer), but that is hard to believe when you watch them dance. Smooth as silk, their fluid movements make it look like they were born dancing and the happiness they exude epitomizes what Lindy Hop is all about: pure joy.
Heiko and Larissa started Basel Jitterbugs in 2017 and although they are not from Basel (rather from nearby Schopfheim, Germany), they set up their business here in part because of Basel's Lindy Hop scene. They describe the scene as inclusive, open-minded and friendly and having experienced it myself, I agree. My husband and I joined Basel Jitterbugs shortly after moving to Basel and the warm and welcoming environment of the Lindy Hop community really helped us to feel at home. We have also been lucky enough to make some Swiss friends through the classes as well.
But the Lindy Hop scene in Basel is not just about the classes. Another part of what makes it special, as Heiko said, is that 'the culture of Lindy Hop is social dancing'. 'Social dancing' means that in addition to the classes that are available, you can also attend regular dance parties. Often accompanied by live jazz, these parties elevate what you learn in the classes from a hobby into a full blown passion. They are also a great way to meet people and build your community in Basel. Watching the talented couples and feeling the beat of the music, you have no choice but to surrender to the sheer joy of the dance and jump in.
See for yourself. Basel Jitterbugs have some fantastic videos! Explore for yourself and see how much fun it can be!
How to get started
Sounds great doesn't it. Here's how to get involved. Heiko and Larissa recommend starting with a dance party. Come and listen to the music and see Lindy Hop in action. Even if you don't dance the first time, the atmosphere will ensure that you come back again. You can also take a free 'crash course' at the parties, which is a half hour lesson before the regular dancing starts.
From here you can take one of their 'In-a-Day' classes which are held a couple times a month. These are introductory courses where for 2.5 hours on a Saturday you can learn the basics of a particular dance. These are offered for Lindy Hop, but also Solo Jazz, Balboa and Shag - dances you will soon come to recognize once you get involved. Once you are hooked, you can join one of their regular weekly courses and really get into the scene.
A bit apprehensive to take dance lessons in German? Not to worry, their fabulous website has also been translated into English and the instructors can accommodate English and German speakers. Also remember that dance is a physical form and much of the instruction comes from watching the moves. Plus it is an excellent way to improve your German.
I sincerely hope that this motivates you to try it for yourself. The Lindy Hop scene in Basel is really something special and is just one of the reasons why this city is so great.
Basel Jitterbugs Website and Socials