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27 February 2024
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With the Alpine Jitterbugs, Innsbruck has a club that is passionately dedicated to swing dancing. The Alpine Jitterbugs not only bring the local scene together, but also establish the city as a fixture on the international map.

Swing dancing is just the thing for anyone who wants to dance to the sounds of jazz in the style of the 1920s without being stuck in old roles. Regardless of gender, the lead role is swapped around, it's fast and - in the best sense of the word - bouncy. Maurice Cazzolli, chairman of the Alpine Jitterbugs Innsbruck association, is passionate about the lively dance style: "It's joie de vivre in dance and music."

Dancing among friends

The Alpine Jitterbugs are a voluntary association that has been aiming to support the Innsbruck swing scene and local musicians since 2019. For Cazzolli, it is the creation of connections that makes the dance so special: "Swing is a very open scene, like a global network of friends with the same values." All cultures and genders come together to sweep across the dance floor. They literally develop their own language without words, as Cazzolli discovered in the final of a competition in Barcelona: his assigned dance partner and he didn't understand a word of each other, but nevertheless whirled their way to a podium place.

Moving history

Swing or - giving the Innsbruck club its name - jitterbug refers to dancers who can fluently combine a variety of swing dances and dance at any tempo. Swing dances became particularly popular between 1920 and 1940. Some of them are still very popular today and are celebrated accordingly: Balboa, Lindy Hop and Collegiate Shag, for example, to name but a few. The variations differ in tempo and basic steps, but the main element always remains the joy of movement. The Jitterbugs cover a wide range of levels of dancing ability, from solid basics with potential for development to those spheres in which the interplay of body and rhythm becomes a second mother tongue.

Tyrolean Swing

According to the club chairman, the number of active members in and around Innsbruck is difficult to estimate, but he estimates between 50 and 100 people. The Alpine Jitterbugs do their best to spread the enthusiasm for swing among the people. Among other things, they offer courses at the Sports Institute of the University of Innsbruck, where interested people on a tight budget are offered a low-threshold introduction. Numerous courses, workshops and events are also organized and held outside the USI.

The voluntary association is constantly looking for new collaboration partners to create new projects for the local scene. The latest venture, which was also subsidized by the City of Innsbruck and the Province of Tyrol for the first time, is called "Big Fat Swing - Promoting the local swing culture". The project was launched in collaboration with the well-established jazz club Ton Art Tirol and aims to bring together jazz musicians and swing dancers.

International flair

Since the first festival, the "Alpine Jitterbugs - Shag 'n' Bal" in 2019, the association has repeatedly celebrated the local and international scene in similar formats. "Shag ' n' Bal" is now taking place for the fourth time from March 1 to 3 in Innsbruck. It is aimed at dance enthusiasts of all ages, as Cazzolli reports: "The oldest are over 60, the youngest just 18." The aim of the event, which is practically fully booked, is clear: "We want to make the swing dance scene flourish." International coaches and bands are also involved, and the aim is to offer both local and international guests a cool experience. One objective has already been achieved: Innsbruck has become a permanent fixture on the international stage.

Take steps with impact

The Alpine Jitterbugs not only pay attention to their footprint when dancing, but also attach great importance to making their events as sustainable as possible. The measures they have taken have helped them to become a Green Star Event. For example, the main location, the Congress Innsbruck, can boast the necessary certification. The drinks on offer are sourced from local suppliers and participants are encouraged to use public transport and their legs when it comes to mobility. All merchandise products are chosen to be as sustainable as possible.

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