Dance Rehearsals in Full Swing

Swing dancers Vivien Yuen and Thomas Whiteway talk to us about discovering their love of the dance with City Academy, joining our exciting swing performance group and how they’re gearing up for the upcoming dance show at Trinity Laban on Saturday 14 May.

Swing is a high-energy, social dance that is guaranteed to put a smile on the face – hear Vivien and Thomas talk about their experiences and what they love most about discovering the moves of the 1920s and 30s.

Vivien Yuen


Vivien in action in the Winter Dance Show

I took up swing when Jon (my now husband) and I were walking through Portobello market about 2 years ago and we heard some classic 1940s music playing at one of the stores. We both turned to each other and said “I want to learn to dance to this!” The next week we signed up for Swing classes at City Academy.

Swing is a really great stress buster: it doesn’t matter how stressed we both are from work, a bit of dancing makes us forget all that. The people in the company are amazing as well: we always have a laugh and a giggle when rehearsing, and we often go for drinks and social dances together.

We are ready for the dance show this Saturday and personally I think this is a best routine yet! We’ve got some great intricate choreography this year and nothing is repeated. We’ve worked really hard to get it all together so I hope everyone likes it!

You can’t help but smile when you’re dancing Swing!

I used to get really nervous before our performances, but I don’t really now. I think it’s because I’ve usually practiced a routine so much that it’s all muscle memory. Plus, because it’s partner dancing, if I forget, my lead will usually push me into the right place!

Holly, our teacher, does a great job preparing us too. She always makes it fun and is also really positive and patient when if we don’t know what we’re doing. I also like it that she pushes us to do more challenging moves so it doesn’t get boring.

I’d recommend swing to anyone thinking about giving dance a try. It’s such a great dance to learn and the people that swing dance are always really friendly. You can’t help but smile when you’re dancing swing!

Thomas Whiteway


Thomas performing with the Swing Dance Company

I’ve been Swing Dancing for a couple of years now.  After taking the Absolute Beginners Dance course on a whim, I really enjoyed myself and decided to give some other courses a try.  In the end it was a toss-up between Jive and Swing and I ended up doing both!

I can be fairly reserved most of the time but find that dancing gives me the confidence to really express myself. The company has a great social side too: I get on well with everyone and we often go to social dances and workshops with each other.

Having the chance to perform in front of an audience is great fun, and always gets me fired up

Having the chance to perform in front of an audience is great fun, and always gets me fired up. By the time the shows come around I’m too pumped up to feel nervous. The choreography for this show is my favourite yet, and very varied.  As well as including different styles, it also includes some fun solo routines alongside the partner sections.

I think more people should give swing dancing a try!  Everyone I’ve met through swing dancing has been really friendly and you can get stuck into interesting moves quite quickly.

Vivien  and Thomas are members of the City Academy Swing Dance Company. They rehearse weekly and perform at theatres twice a year.

Interested in the Swing Company or want to try a Swing class? See here.