The music is infectious.  The urgent rhythm sends dancers sweeping around the room, partners gyrating and in some cases being thrown bodily through the air.  At the end of the track, entitled “Shout Sister Shout”, everyone stops for a breather and swaps partners.  I’m knackered.  

People often ask what Kyiv is like for a foreign diplomat.  My answer is usually that most of the Ukrainian people with whom I come into contact are an exceptionally friendly and relaxed bunch with what can only be described as a pretty cool attitude to life.  Nowhere are these attributes more obviously on display than at the Kyiv Swing Dance Club, which I joined for a season of learning the “Lindy Hop” in September 2010.  You can see some of the basic moves of Lindy Hop here (the actual dancing starts 2 minutes and 40 seconds into the clip).  

Joining a dance group is always a bit nail-biting while you wait to see if everyone else is far more skilful , fitter or a better learner than you.  In fact the group is distinguished mainly by being friendly and although some people have some previous dancing experience all are 100% tolerant to those less skilled, older or less fit than themselves (or all three).  Over the months, with twice-weekly lessons, everyone makes progress.  I can recommend  the hour-long sessions in the basement of the “House of Officers” in central Kyiv to anyone, expat or Ukrainian, looking for a fun way to get fit(ter) in the coming year.  

Unfortunately, a camera malfunction means that the only photo of the group I have is of exceptionally poor quality.  With that apology, here it is anyhow, a great group of people to whom I owe a big debt of thanks - and especially to Taras and Vita for their superb teaching throughout the sessions.   

Leigh Turner



Ukrayinska Dumka


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