ACT News

Circus swings into town for Canberrang

Lions and tigers linked hands to dance around Garema Place, Civic, on Saturday as part of Canberra's annual swing dance festival.

Giraffes, elephants and even a bearded lady also took to the impromptu dance floor, in front of the ConneXion Big Band for a couple of hours of jitter bugging and doing the lindy hop.

Event spokesman Liam Honer said the Jumptown Swing dance school organised the festival, called Canberrang, every year and had adopted a circus theme for 2014.

It brought out scores of animal onesies, from giant teddy bear outfits to a mythical dragon and polar bear costumes.

"These dancers have come from all around Australia, New Zealand and of course Canberra,'' Mr Honer said.

"We like to use the festival to show people some of the nice things around Canberra, for instance  [on Sunday] we will be dancing at the Old Bus Depot markets from 11am-noon, and in the afternoon we are going to be at the Lake George winery.''

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Mr Honer said the lindy hop enjoyed a popular revival during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"Before that the big band era had really died down but right now it's massive around the world,'' he said.

"For this festival, we have about eight big bands playing for us over the weekend and we have DJs from all around Australia too. It's a non-profit production we just get together and organise it. It's a volunteer thing.''

Mr Honer said similar festivals were held in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The curiously named festival owes its origins to the largest swing dance festival in the world, held in Herrang, Sweden.

"Canberrang is about social dancing, it's not a competition,'' he said.

"We want people to come and dance and have fun.''  

Mr Honer said last year's Canberrang festival had a winter wonderland theme and many of the dancers had dressed up as snowmen.

A program of festival events can be viewed online at www.canberrang.org

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