I arrived in Herräng on a Saturday and didn't even look at my camera until Thursday. I was just too busy taking it all in, soaking it all up, being in the middle of it all. But when I woke up on Thursday I decided the urge to take pictures was back, and so I decided to document that day.
11:13 When I wake up, Johanna is already outside reading.
13:26 Some ice cream while I wait for the first class of the day, set to live music by Read. :)
13:34 And this guy passed with a beautiful Takumar lens that made me drool.
14:08 The only class of the week that involved talking rather than dancing. At this point of the week, I was pretty tired, so it was rather nice to sit down, and listen to stories and anecdotes about the swing world as it used to be.
15:39 On my way back to the caravan I passed this class and had to photograph the light (always the light).
15:40 And then I passed my classmate Jeong-Min and had to photograph him too. :)
16:02 Taking a nap. This is my own cosy corner of the caravan. I love it and there is almost space to lie down without bending my legs or curling up in a ball. :)
17:00 Double class with Soochan and Hyun-Jung. Maybe the most energetic teachers I've ever had. :)
21:37 Jonas and Johanna dancing on their way down to Folkets Hus.
22:53 Mattias and I waiting for our turn at the tech rehearsal. Then we played at the cabaret; naturally I don't have any photos of that, but I hope I'll remember the feeling forever. The audience at Herräng is a truly great audience to sing for. I was all happy and fuzzy when I left the stage. Best feeling ever.
01:00 But I did get a photo of the naco plate I had in the green room after we performed. Because being able to relax in that couch with the cabaret on a screen in front of me, and not have to queue for half an hour to get in, or sit on a hard wooden floor, was a rather nice treat.
I didn't get much dancing done that night. I was a little tired, but most of all, I was bombarded with love. It was pretty crazy, I was pleased and happy and completely overwhelmed. So many people - close friends, acquaintances and people I've never even seen before - came up to me and told me, basically, how amazing I am and how much they had enjoyed my singing and our performance, and more or less begged us to sing more during the camp. I never doubted that people would say amazing things about Mattias, since he is a truly extraordinary musician but just sort of refuses to understand it, but me ...? That's a whole other story. (I know, I know ... somewhere in the corner of my eye I can see ta tiny contradiction here ...) Anyways - it was a beautiful experience.
02:54 Taking an early night. Good night Herräng!
The point of Herräng Dance Camp? The people.
Some are people that you only talk to for a couple of minutes while waiting in line at the Ice Cream Parlour. Some are people you live with, that share your days and nights, that listen to you over breakfast when you're bursting with joy after amazing dances. Some will tell you about their life, how they met their true love or why they started dancing or moved to a new city. Some are people that you dance with once, and never say another word to after that. Some are people you make an effort to dance with every single night, and if you don't find them one night, it feels like something's missing. Some people will take care of you when you are sick, some will join you for a late night brownie with double ice cream, some will light up when they see you across the dance floor and hurry to where you're standing to ask you to dance.
The point of Herräng is the people and this year, I took pictures of people; not all, but some of, the people that made my Herräng the amazing, wonderful experience that it was. Here they are:
Johanna, my partner in crime! She generously offered me to stay in the caravan with her and her boyfriend Örjan (who doesn't like to be photographed, which is why he doesn't appear in this post), and I couldn't have wished for better company. It's just so lovely to have such amazing people next to you to share the ups and downs of your Herräng experience with.
Emil is from Denmark. I totally suck at understanding Danish, but when I explained that to Emil, he said that that's just because I don't try hard enough. So obviously, after that I forced him to only speak Danish with me, even when he tried to switch to English ... Fortunately, Emil is a wonderful blues dancer, so we don't have to do a lot of talking. :)
Frida and I started talking in the changing room, when she noticed that my legs were covered with evil mosquito bites. She offered me her tube of Xylocain to put on them. Unfortunately, it didn't work, but her kind gesture brightened up my mood.
Bertil is an amazing person and dancer who I know from Göteborg, so I've danced with him a lot before, of course. This week, though, I had the honor of closing the dance floor (I don't know if "closing the dance floor" is real English, but in Herräng English it means being one of the last couples left on the dance floor when the DJ stops playing) at eight in the morning on slow drag night. That was quite awesome.
Duncan is one of those people that I only met once. But it was a lovely conversation (about language and languages, of course - my favorite topic and one that tends to come up often in Herräng, to some people's dismay and my delight) and he gives the best hugs.
Fia isn't a stranger to you if you've been reading this blog; she's a good friend from the Academy of Music and it's so great to be able to share the love of dancing with her now as well as the love of music. I was so happy to have her in Herräng with me.
Patrick was in my lindy class, and greeted me with my name every time we danced, in class and on the social dance floor. Things like that matter to me.
Mattias is a good friend who you probably already know. He is a fantastic pianist and I had the honor of singing with him in Folkets Hus not only once, but three times during my stay in Herräng, something that definitely played a big part in making my Herräng trip so wonderful. Also - we had a lot of fun. :)
Ida and I only had a few days in Herräng together, but it was great having her there, in the tent just next to mine and Fia's. Now that I think about it, we didn't manage to get even one dance together; thankfully, I get to dance with her most weeks at home.
Alba is a fabulous person who I met for the first time at the Blues Garden, where she was one of the teachers. She is an inspiration both in dance and in teaching and I'm glad we were able to spend a little time together this week, talking about dance and life.
Katie happened to be in the changing room when I got sick. I don't remember it very well, except that I very nearly fainted, and then stumbled into the bathroom. It turned out to be some sort of food poisoning. I have no idea for how long it lasted, but Katie stayed with me on the other side of the door, talking me through it so I knew I wasn't alone. I can't even express how much that meant to me; that someone I had never met before chose to take the time to care of me.
Markus is a blues dancer who I hardly know anything about (except that we had a blast on the dance floor), but I recognised his dancing instantly while dancing blindfolded after only having danced with him once before; it was both nice and somewhat magical, so I hope to see him on the dance floor soon again. I think he's from Stockholm, and Stockholm isn't that far away after all.
Lisa is an old dear friend from when we studied French in Lyon in 2003. She moved to Uppsala some years ago, and I rarely meet her nowadays, but each time I do I enjoy her company immensely. She was only in Herräng for one night, but a few days after that, we had a long, lovely chat over crêpes in Uppsala.
Michael and I started talking while catching air outside the first secret blues party of the week, and after that, we sort of didn't stop talking - it was just one long conversation, about dancing and cameras and Australia and Europe, that we paused now and then, to go and do other things. He's just such a lovely guy to talk to. And dance with, obviously.
Needless to say, I already miss all these people; I already miss Herräng. I am lucky to have some of these beautiful people around me on a weekly basis here in Göteborg. Some of the others, I will most likely never meet again.
But then again, I've never cared much about "most likely".
(More portraits here; more dancing here.)
Ryan O'Shaughnessy | Lost In You
På vår sista vandringsdag såg vädret ut att bli blött, så vi klädde in oss i underställ och regnkläder.
Och höll följaktligen på att svettas ihjäl, för så fort vi kommit över det första lilla krönet bröt solen fram.
Så. Fruktansvärt. Trött på torrmat vid det här laget. Men cashew nasi är den bästa sorten som jag blir minst trött på. Hurra! (Ja, naturligtvis kunde jag inte låta bli att kolla upp koordinaterna. Man hamnar på Kap Verdes nordligaste ö Santo Antão, för den som är lika nyfiken av sig som jag.)
Här är ett "vad" som några vandrare vi mött förvarnat oss om, så till den grad att jag blev orolig. Vi hade ju inga stavar och jag vadar inte gärna utan stav om vattnet går över knäna. Vilket det förstås inte gjorde. Vattnet var lugnt som i en plaskdamm och jag fick inte en droppe inne i kängan. Pah.
Den här sträckan i det här vädret tog inte mer än ett par timmar. Så när vi var nästan framme vid Storulvån satte vi oss i slänten, åt upp fikat och godiset och pratade om livet. Läget? Tack bra.
Sedan gick vi ned till fjällstationen, duschade och tog nattåget hem. Det var en kort och lätt fjällvandring, men den fyllde mig med allt det där jag behöver för att vara sann mot mig själv i ett helt år till.
Nitin Sawhney | Immigrant