Swing has been at the heart of Berlin life since the 1920’s. Back when Berlin was burgeoning as a hedonistic metropolis, the Charleston was an emblem of the anything goes decadence of the finer days of the Weimar. After the collapse and the rise of the Nazi’s, swing became a political battleground. It was the fuel of the Swing Kids, a counter-culture of 14-18 year olds based mainly in Hamburg and Berlin, who sort to define themselves by their love of jazz music and the accompanying dance.

At a time when jazz was becoming increasingly offensive to the rising Nazi ideology, the once apolitical movement found freedom in music and dance that was the antidote the repressive nature of organisations like the Hitler Youth. Festivals and dances were organised to mock the dominant ideologies, leading the famous “Swing heil!” With roots firmly in US and British culture, it was a way of dancing against dark times.

In modern Berlin, Swing may not be quite the same political statement, but it’s still an escape – an evening where dance rules supreme. Perhaps no surprise then that there is a huge swing scene in Berlin, with plenty of willing outlets and audience ready to lindyhop, jitterbug and Charleston their way through the night.

Getting into the Swing: Miniloft Picks for Swing Dancing

Swingstep Berlin

Inclusivity is the name of the dance here, with SwingStep standing by it’s motto of “Everyone can dance”. Regular swing parties are held on Monday nights and every second Friday, with the chance to take on dance lessons if you find yourself hitting your groove.

Rudolfstraße 1-8

10245 Berlin Fredrichshain

Tanzschule Bebop

Located in a former factory in Kreuzberg, Tanzschule Bebop offers dance nights and lessons that are a big hit with swingers of all ages

Mehringdamm 33
10961 Berlin Kreuzberg

Clärchens Ballhaus

It would be remiss to talk about swing and not menton Clärchens Ballhaus, which offers both weekly and weekend workshops from Lottas Jitterbugs (link to: http://www.lottasjitterbugs.de/ ), as well as regular swing sessions in the main ballroom.

Auguststraße 24
10117 Berlin Mitte

La Boheme Sauvage

Looking for the earlier roots of swing? Get your Charleston cracking at La Boheme Sauvage, an immensely popular 20’s night that hosts regular parties in Berlin alongside. Expect cigarette holders and flappers a plenty, if you happen to be in town when a party is happening, it’s well worth going for a cocktail and a shuffle.

Swing in Berlin

Still stuck for a swing night after all that? You’ll find regular updated listings courtesy of Swing in Berlin, a frequently updated calendar that will tell you what is swinging in Berlin and when.

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