A small village in the heart of rural Northumberland is being transformed into an unlikely hotbed of swing music and dance.
Village of Swing is a weekly session in Eglingham and is the brainchild of Stuart Lee Archer, a former village resident now living in Wooler, who started dancing after a back injury meant he could no longer play rugby for Alnwick.
He started sneaking down to Gosforth with a couple of friends to attend a swing-dancing group called Lindy Jazz after his girlfriend started dancing in London and he didn’t want to look silly when she dragged him on the dancefloor.
“The wonderful Joo-Lee Stock from Lindy Jazz has been completely responsible for getting us all hooked on dancing,” he said. “After being badgered in the local pub by people who said they would love to start dancing but Gosforth was too far away, I decided to bring a short class to Eglingham.”
So a five-week beginners class on Charleston and Lindy hop – an American dance that evolved in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s – ran in the summer with Joo-Lee teaching and Stuart demonstrating and due to its success – with 25 people attending – a group and weekly session were born.
Stuart added: “As luck would have it, when we announced the formation of the group on Facebook, a couple of experienced Lindy hop dancers who moved to Alnwick from Leeds spotted us and asked if they could come along and maybe help teach.
“Mike and Veronica Goulding who have been dancing for eight years in Yorkshire, have been a great help and instrumental in getting the support and experience we needed.”