London SwingVitational© – 2009 to Present Day
The London SwingVitational© was born out of the SwingVision© of Catriona Wiles, along with several members of the original WCSUK gang who casually sat around a table in a chalet at another dance weekender and shared some ideas for a new UK WCS event concept!
At that time, Catriona and former dance partner Paul Warden were successfully competing on the USA circuit, regularly dancing and hanging out with their fellow Allstars, many of whom have gone on to pursue successful professional dance careers. The idea was to bring over a group of our Allstar friends to teach, dance and socialise with our ever-expanding UK WCS community.
We invited 12 of the most up-and-coming talent, all known for their prolific social dancing skills to take part in the event alongside Catriona & Paul. Most were not in partnerships at the time, so in order to showcase those dancers’ skills, we hosted the first ever Pro Invitational Jack & Jill in Europe at the first ever SwingVitational© in November 2009.
Our first year event was a resounding success and for the next 3 years, we grew and grew, becoming WSDC registered, mixing up the pro line up whilst still maintaining the unique, fun, social energy!
In 2013, we changed locations to allow for more dancers to attend and again it was fantastic, attracting 460 dancers from 23 countries. However, teething problems at the new venue put a halt to hosting future events there.
In 2014, we took a hiatus, a well deserved break after 5 brilliant but hectic years!
Then in January 2015, the decision was made to move back to our original host hotel, the Copthorne Hotel Slough-Windsor where the magic all started! We had a great time but sadly, due to pressure from an entirely new hotel staff at the Copthorne, our previously brilliant working relationship lost some of its sparkle and we decided not to return for future events.
In 2016, we took another hiatus, spending the time searching for another fabulous location. In 2017, we found it at the newly renovated and re-branded Crowne Plaza Hotel Felbridge near London Gatwick airport. We had a fabulous time there, enjoying the stunning hotel rooms and grand ballroom. We were limited by the small amount of onsite accommodation but we managed with the help of the Holiday Inn over-spill hotel across the road! We had hoped to continue our journey there but sadly, the Crowne Plaza as a brand have high profit margins to maintain which meant we were quite simply “priced out!”
Back to square one it seemed! Until another hotel contact made a fabulous suggestion! “Why not try the Coppid Beech hotel in Bracknell” he said, which is another 4* hotel that already hosts a very well established Modern Jive event annually, has more hotel rooms than we can possibly fill, has many function rooms located over 3 levels whilst still managing to maintain a cosy, welcoming feel. So in 2018 we were greeted with welcome arms into its fold! And I’m delighted to announce that we’re back here for 2019 too! We are back to being near London Heathrow, one of the most accessible airports in the world; the hotel staff are very experienced in managing groups of our type; and our hotel liaison who previously managed the Copthorne during several years of “SwingV” and has been with us for every hotel change since, is still with us and knows all of our event needs! What more could we ask for! We are all super excited for this year’s event and look forward to many more years of “SwingV” at our new home, the event where the infamous “Breakfast Club” truly began!
Check out our 2018 event highlights reel here to see what “SwingV” is all about;