MEET LENNART WESTERLUND & EWA “W” BURAK
Lennart started out dancing a Swedish form of American Jitterbug in the very early 1980s. In 1983 he came across the Lindy Hop through books and old film clips, and in May the following year he travelled to New York on the look-out for the roots of the dance form. He soon met, studied and started to spend time with old-timers including Al Minns, Frankie Manning and Norma Miller. In 1985 he co-formed the semi-professional and later on highly recognized Swedish dance company The Rhythm Hot Shots (now Harlem Hot Shots), and started to seriously study also tap and vernacular jazz dancing in general. A few years, later the company was in the forefront of the first steps of the revival of the Lindy Hop, and in 1989 they took over the complete administration of the Herräng Dance Camp, and invited legendary swing dancer Frankie Manning to visit his first major international swing dance camp.
When The Rhythm Hot Shots started to receive some serious international recognition during the early 90s, Lennart was one of the key dancers. The company travelled extensively throughout the decade, and was among a handful of other dancers seriously leading the way to put the Lindy Hop back on the map again. At the time, Lennart also established himself as an international instructor, as well as an administrator and background worker at especially the Herräng Dance Camp. In 2004 he opened Chicago swing dance studio in Stockholm, and in 2010, after 25 years, he left the professional performance aspect of the dance, now focusing more on teaching, giving lectures and perform dance demonstrations.
Lennart is today still a most active dancer, instructor, lecturer, judge and administrator. He divides his time between the Herräng Dance Camp, the Chicago swing dance studio, and traveling around teaching and giving lectures. After some 35 revival and renaissance years of the Lindy Hop, Lennart is one of very few of the pioneers that are still active in the scene. His background and dedicated interest in the Harlem roots of vernacular jazz dancing has positioned him as an important link between the past and the present.
EWA “W” BURAK
eWa started dancing the Lindy hop in the fall of 1986, after successfully auditioning for the Swedish dance company The Rhythm Hot Shots (now Harlem Hot Shots). At the time, she did not have any experience with African-American dancing, but her background as a gymnast helped her quickly to become a most skillful acrobatic Lindy hop performer. Her repertoire gradually grew during the latter part of the 1980s and early 1990s, to include vernacular jazz, Charleston, tap and other elements of the Harlem jazz dance tradition. In 1989, she teamed up with Lennart Westerlund and they soon positioned themselves as one of the top performance couples, specializing in fast acrobatic Lindy hop. When eWa decided to step back from performing professionally in the late 1990s, she continued to teach, passing on the Lindy hop and other traditional jazz dances to a new generation.
During the 1990s, eWa was one of the most recognized and celebrated Lindy hoppers out there. She was a key member of The Rhythm Hot Shots, she frequently partnered Frankie Manning, and she was often on the road teaching and performing in the constantly growing Lindy hop community. Her style of Lindy hopping and vernacular jazz dancing is characterized by a pure and powerful quality based on Harlem traditions and extensive experience. Modern influences have never been a part of her dancing, and today she belongs to an exclusive minority of Lindy dancers who are clearly rooted in the history of the dance form.
eWa splits her time between Virginia (USA) and Knivsta (Sweden). She teaches Lindy hop locally as well as internationally, performs occasionally and gives demos. Her background and knowhow position her as an important link between the traditions of the dance form and the contemporary dance communities.