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BISB Teacher Heads to International Dance Competition

July 07, 2014

Two years ago, when asked to go to a swing dancing workshop by a friend set to marry an avid dancer, Will Bowry had no way of knowing the dance would grow to be something he loved.

  • A teacher swing dances

And he certainly didn't know he'd spend part of this summer competing at the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington, D.C., traveling and competing with a team of other dancers from Boston Swing Central.

"I was tasked with going to a one-day swing workshop with my friend," said Bowry, an English and drama teacher at the British International School of Boston. "We decided we better make it a competition, and at his wedding we would get our mothers to see who was the better swing dancer. So, of course, we became horrendously competitive."

After spending about a year getting ready for the competition (which their mothers decided was a draw), Bowry realized he didn't want to stop dancing. So when he moved to Boston to teach at BISB, he started going to Boston Swing Central a few times a week. Two years after starting to learn lindy hop, he's looking forward to competing in the international event.

Lindy hop is an American form of swing dance that evolved in Harlem, New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, part of the jazz movement at that time. 

Hundreds of dancers from around the world will turn out for the International Lindy Hop Championships on August 21-24, Bowry said, competing as couples and as teams for the chance to win prize money. But for Bowry, the competition is less about the potential for prizes, and more about a chance to continue his practice of the dance he has grown to love.

"Through this dance, I've engaged in a world of not only dance, but fashion and music as well," he said. "I like the athleticism, too. It's a very athletic dance. Plus, it's a huge amount of fun."

Bowry and the other members of the Boston Swing Central competition team had to audition to join the dance group at the championships, and have been practicing about three times a week to prepare for the competition. 

Bowry said he has no idea what to expect from the competition, but that he's looking forward to the experience.