Three hours north of Stockholm, the sleepy town of Herräng multiplies hundred-fold every July as people from all over the world flock there for summer dance camp. Yes, that’s right, summer camp, but for grown-ups.
The magic of summer camp is not in what you do, or the weather, or the long days and short nights. The magic is the freedom. As a kid, it’s freedom from your parents, being allowed to spend the whole day with fast friends doing fun things you couldn’t do at home. No school, no homework, no parents.*
Herräng Swing Dance Camp is just like that, except with all-night dancing and alcohol instead of campfires and horseback riding. (Awkward sexual tension still included!) The freedom is not from parents, but from the normal routine that has you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning. Instead of work, you start dancing as the sun sets, continue dancing as it rises, and go back to bed when you should be waking up.
Something about long days and staying up all night makes you feel like you’ve known new friends your whole life. Just like exchanging those hand-made friendship bracelets, sharing a dance (or two, or 20) cements that relationship for eternity, or at least for the ephemeral eternity of a 4-minute lindy hop song. We all know that eventually we’ll stop writing our summer camp friends, just like we know that we won’t talk to these people every day on Facebook. But when we come back next year, we’ll leave the real world behind and pick up right where we left off.
*unless you were one of those nerds who did something like debate camp, cough cough