2017 Dunedin Midwinter Swing Festival

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Everyone loves a trilogy, and we’re proud to bring you our most ambitious festival yet. From Friday 2nd June – Monday 5th June we’ll be hosting friends from all over Aotearoa (and beyond) for a jam-packed weekend of dance workshops, live music, and social dancing!

We’re showcasing some of the best Swing and Blues bands that Otago has to offer. Three nights of live music, dance taster classes, showcases and competitions will have you swept off your feet with that driving rhythm and beat.

This year we have the privilege of hosting six exceptionally talented swing dance teachers to inspire us.

We have:

  • Shob and Andy (Melbourne)
  • Saran and Michael (Wellington)
  • Sarah and Becky (Christchurch)

Click here for more details on these amazing people.

This fabulous team will be running workshops focusing on Lindy Hop and Blues at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels during the days. With three streaming options, you’ll always find something to challenge and inspire you.

With 3 nights of dancing (including late nights), 22 world-class workshops, and fantastic local live music events, there’s no place you’d rather be.

Take a look around to get all the details. It’s all you need to look forward to this winter!

If you want to know more about Swing Riot Dunedin check out our website here: https://swingriot.com/

Thanks to the Otago Community Trust and OUSA for supporting this community event!


New to dance

Want to enjoy the festival but you’ve never danced before? Our evening events include a free taster class before the band begins to get you ready for a great night of live music and movement!

Taster classes and evening events

There’s a taster class before each evening event free as a part of your event ticket. You can come to one, two or all three nights, no matter what your dance level. If you decide to come to all three nights then sign up for an Evening Events Pass ($100) to save some cash.

1. The Gallery Gala

Friday 2nd June @ Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Band: Dunedin City Jazz Orchestra

Cost: $40

Lindy Hop Taster class 7-8 run by Swing Riot Dunedin

2. Stompin’ at the Savoy

Saturday 3rd June @ The Savoy

Band: Rinky Tinky Jingle Jangle Jazz Club

Cost: $40

Lindy Hop Taster class 7-8 run by Swing Riot Dunedin

3. Portside Swing

Sunday 4th June @ Port Chalmers Town Hall

Band: VKB and the Fellas

Cost: $30

“Party Blues” Taster class 7:30-8:30 run by Shob and Andy (visiting teachers from Melbourne!)

You might also want to check out these Tips for New Dancers before you come along. Take a look around the website to see what else we have to offer.


Contact us at dunedin.swing@gmail.com with any questions!


Registrations are open – click on the image below to submit your form:

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Dance workshops

Event: Workshops

Time: 10:30am-3:45pm (Saturday and Sunday 3&4 June)

Location: 665 Cumberland Street, North Dunedin, Dunedin.

This year we’re running our workshops at the University of Otago School of Physical Education. You’ll have no trouble finding your way between three great functional dance spaces – Dance Studio 1, Dance Studio 2, and the Old Gym.

Workshops are designed for dancers who have taken at least a handful of classes in the basics of lindy hop or blues.

Remember: soft-soled, non-marking shoes are required.


Locals’ Night

Event: Jazz in the Pocket

Time: 8pm-11:30pm (Thursday 1 June)

Location: The Dog With Two Tails, 25 Moray Place, Dunedin

Every week our dancers are treated to local live jazz at our favourite watering hole! This week the organisers are putting on a special swing treat for festival punters, so if you’re local (or looking for an excuse to extend your long weekend) then join us a night early for great tunes and fine company to kick-start your festival fun!

Details: public event

The Gallery Gala

Event: The Gallery Gala

Time: 7:00pm-11:30pm (Friday 2 June)

Dance taster class: Lindy Hop with Swing Riot (7-8pm)

Music: Dunedin City Jazz Orchestra (DCJO)

Location: Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 30 The Octagon, Dunedin

The festival’s official opening will be held in style at Dunedin’s iconic Public Art Gallery. It’s going to be a fabulous way to start the event, with a few surprises and fun twists to get you in the mood for a great weekend.

Details: catering provided, bar available

Stompin’ at the Savoy

Event: Stompin’ at the Savoy

Time: 7:00pm-11:30pm (Saturday 3 June)

Dance taster class: Lindy Hop with Swing Riot (7-8pm)

Music: Rinky Tinky Jingle Jangle Jazz Club

Location: 50 Princes St, Dunedin

It wouldn’t be a Dunedin festival without a dance at the Savoy! Get your glad rags on and step back in time for a stomp in one of New Zealand’s oldest and most beautiful ballrooms. With more rinky tinky and jingle jangle than you know what to do with, our up-and-coming swing and blues band will take you back to the jazz era, making the most of your time in the Savoy.

Details: catering provided, bar available

Squeezy Speakeasy

Event: Squeezy Speakeasy

Time: 11:30pm-Late (Saturday 3 June)

Music: King Leo

Location: Pequeno, 50 Princes St, Dunedin (public entrance off alley on Moray Pl)

We’ve got exclusive access to this cosy cocktail bar through the secret passages of the Savoy building! Get ready for a night of live and gritty blues in the underground – local blues legend King Leo will have you dancing through the night.

Details: free entry with your Stompin’ at the Savoy ticket (or full festival pass)

Portside Swing

Event: Portside Swing

Time: 7:30pm-11:30pm (Sunday 4 June)

Dance taster class: “Party Blues” with Shob and Andy (7:30-8:30)

Music: VKB and the Fellas

Location: Grey St, Port Chalmers

Vintage buses are scheduled to take you out to Port Chalmers – one of Dunedin’s hidden gems – where we’re invading the local town hall for an endless evening of dance.

We’ve got great blues band playing a selection of swing and blues for us. This event will be the highlight of your festival, now that you’ve met your fellow dancers and you’ve done all the hard work(shops). Let loose and enjoy another great evening of live music and dance.

Details: catering provided, bar available

Late Night Bites

Event: Late Night Bites

Time: 11:30pm-Late (Sunday 4 June)

Music: VKB and the Fellas

Location: Grey Street, Port Chalmers (same as Portside Swing)

With no classes the next day, stick around to make the most of our last big dance. We’ll keep you going with chocolatey yums and maybe even some south-island sushi [cheese rolls]. As the live music continues, get ready to blues dance your way into the early hours of the morning. It’s going to be a delicious evening.

Details: catering provided, no bar

Monday Fun-Day!

Event: Monday Fun-Day!

Time: 10am-2pm (Monday 5 June)

Location: Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

We’ve got exciting plans lined up for Monday and the details are still being finalised!

We’re partnering with Toitū Otago Settlers Museum to host a brunch dance followed by a series of informal drop-in dance classes. Starting with modern dancing, you’ll work your way back to the swing era and pick up a few fun skills along the way. It’s a Museum event open to all members of the public.

You’re welcome to drop in and out as you like. We’re close to the city centre for lunch as well!

The Last Hurrah!

Event: The Last Hurrah!

Time: ~4-7pm (Monday 5 June)

Location: TBC

Our last get-together will be a casual social dance event, with food and drinks available at one of our great local establishments. We’re still finalising a few more details for this, but if you’re still around on the Monday afternoon, then join us for a relaxed wind-down before heading back home to normal life.

Escape Dunedin

Event: Escape Dunedin

Time: 4:30pm-5:30pm (Saturday and Sunday 3&4 June)

This year we’re partnering with Escape Dunedin for our fun afternoon social activity. Most people who visit Dunedin begin to think quite quickly about escaping – well now we’re giving you your chance!

Register your interest when you sign-up for the festival, then we’ll allocate you a day (and a room). It’s an additional $20, but well worth it. You’ll be finished with plenty of time to get ready for the evening event – so jump on board.


We’ve got a fantastic line-up of workshops for you – we’ve worked really hard to balance the classes in both dance styles and levels, so there’ll be something to suit everyone!

If you’ve never danced before, we also have a taster class before each evening event which is free of charge with individual event passes or the evening event pass (which covers all three nights – Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Check out Events for more information.


Class information

During the festival you can choose your own path through the classes. Use our level guide below to help you choose which class suits you best.

*Update* due to registration levels in some classes and our available room sizes, we may need to put limits on numbers in additional classes based on two considerations 1) first in, first served and 2) your dance level (according to your scene leaders). No matter what class you attend you’ll still get some of the best quality teaching available so don’t panic if you don’t quite make it into your first choice of class.

The Advanced and Floorial/Tricks/Pizzazz classes are classes with strictly limited numbers – first in, first served. You will receive an email closer to the festival confirming your attendance in these classes. No partner required, but we will be monitoring lead/follow numbers to ensure an even mix.

Note: if any classes become overcrowded on the day then late arrivals may be asked to attend a different stream.

Level guide

Our classes are designed with a specific level (or mix of levels) in mind. If you want to know where you sit (for each of the dance styles) then take a look below:

Beginner – you’re new to this style of dance (just a few classes or one block under your belt) and you’re ready to keep building on those basics.

Open – you’re comfortable with the basics, have done a few blocks, and are looking to extend your repertoire of skills and technique.

Intermediate – you’ve been dancing for some time and are confident in your skill set, you feel comfortable social dancing a wide variety of rhythms, tempos and shapes. You communicate well with your partner during the dance and can add your own flavour/styling. You’re seeking a challenge!

~Advanced – if you’re in the advanced classes in your dance scene then you are welcome to nominate yourself – entry will be on a “first in/first served” basis (and we will check-in with your scene leaders to make sure you’re ready). You’ll receive an email from us confirming your place in the advanced class(es) of your choice.

If you change your mind about an advanced class, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can fill your spot.


Want to know more about the 6 amazing teachers we have this year? Read on!

Shob and Andy

One day a tall, lanky Canadian walked into a Friday night dance in Melbourne with his own special brand of joyful (and occasionally goofy) lindy hop!  Thus started Shob and Andy’s dance journey together and it has brought them more joy, laughs and adventures than they could ever have imagined

True all-rounders, Shob and Andy are passionate dancers and teachers of lindy hop, balboa and blues.  Constantly learning and challenging themselves, they love to be in classes as much as teach them!  Through it all, they cherish true connection where both partners bring out the awesome in each other.

Over more than a decade, they hold dozens of Australian titles across all tempos and are proud members of Melbourne’s performance troupe Echoes of Harlem.

Shob and Andy have been honoured to be invited to teach workshops all over Australia, New Zealand and even London.  They are known for their down to earth, practical teaching style and their ability to bring the love and joy to class.

They are honoured to be invited to teach in Dunedin for the first time and look forward to sharing fresh concepts that are inspiring them…and dancing their hearts out!

Saran and Michael

Saran and Michael are humorous and energetic teachers who believe that jazz dances are for everyone, that full body movement and killer rhythms are the way to go, and that however you dance it, if you’re dancing it you’re doing it right! Their love for sharing all the fun stuff that makes swing dance so addictive means they aim for accessible, inclusive classes that get people up, improvising and having a ball. Together, they run Full Swing Vintage Dance School in Wellington, and have taught extensively around New Zealand and in Australia, Europe and the USA.

Sarah and Becky

Becky and Sarah started swing dancing as teens and have continued to do so for around 14 years. They have danced, taught, competed and performed through many cities, events and “Eras” of the swing resurgence.

Becky is both a superb leader and follower who is most focused on the feel and connection of a dance. She has been a strong advocate in chch for gender neutral roles in classes and has put her heart and soul into running the Swingtown Rebels for many years. She has recently decided to hand over the organisation reins to focus on other areas in the dance scene to contribute to and enjoy.

Sarah has wide reaching interests within dancing and has dabbled in everything that falls under the swing umbrella and more. She has taught in Australia and the UK and has danced all across the world. Sarah currently gets the most enjoyment from helping others to develop and find their love of dancing as well as performing as her performance alter-ego “Shortie Georgia”.


We’re taking advantage of Dunedin’s rich history by filling our most beautiful and iconic spaces with dancers! Find out more about each event below (use this menu.PNG button to open the map menu for specific venue icons):

Prices and Passes

We’ve worked really hard this year to bring you the highest quality teachers and events, for a cost that’s affordable.

After some seriously clever budgeting (and a little subsidisation on our part), here’s the price breakdown for you to feast your eyes on:

Early bird deals! (until 5pm, 16th April 2017)
$160 – Full weekend pass (early bird) – includes all daytime workshops & evening events
$140 – Full student weekend pass (early bird) includes all daytime workshops & evening events

Weekend passes (from 5pm, 16th April 2017)
$180 – Full Weekend Pass – Includes all daytime workshops & evening events
$160 – Full student weekend pass – Includes all daytime workshops & evening events

$100 – Evening events only pass

You can also register for individual events (these you can pay in advance, or on the door):

Friday: The Gallery Gala = $40
Saturday: Stompin’ At The Savoy* = $40
Sunday: Portside Swing* = $30
Monday: The Last Hurrah = no door entry
Dance Workshops = $20 per individual workshop

*Includes entry to the late night event that evening.

Safe Spaces

Here at Swing Riot Dunedin we’re all about experiencing the joy of dancing in a safe and positive community environment. To help us maintain our fun and playful atmosphere we’ve set up a Safe Spaces team for the the 2017 Midwinter Swing Festival.

Your wellbeing during the festival is important to us.  All attendees must read and abide by our Code of Conduct.

Our Safe Spaces team are here to address any conduct concerns you have during the festival. Our two representatives are here to listen and take action when appropriate. Beth and Matt are available to chat at every event.

You’re also welcome to speak to any representative on the organising committee. We’re here to help and make sure you have an amazing time learning and dancing all weekend!

Note: we do not tolerate verbal or physical misconduct. We may choose to ban someone from the festival (with no refund) if they engage in unacceptable behaviour. For more information, please see our Code of Conduct.

If you’re new to the dance scene then you might also want to check out our Tips for New Dancers to get you ready for all the fun!