The Mess Around 2024

20-21-22 September 2024, The Hague

Let’s do The Mess Around​

More than your average Lindy Hop festival, The Mess Around combines excellent locations, swingin’ bands, and great teachers with a fresh concept. Designed to grow your connections with the musicians, rhythms, and each other, our teachers and organizers have been working together to create a program featuring a class with live music, in-class challenges, and surprises during the parties. 

Our locals know us for our welcoming and inclusive monthly beer dances. With The Mess Around, we want to create a weekend of fun and inspiration that helps you grow your dancing, whether it be solo, partnered, or even with more than one partner!  Let’s get connected, be playful, and Mess Around!

Focusing on how we interact and connect, we challenge you to take your dancing experience to the next level and…

Dancing is so much more than doing moves and following steps together with a partner, it is an exploration of the music! That’s why we will strive to really connect with it during the classes, one of which is with live music. Connection and exploration will also be the focus of our three parties with live bands. Tune in to a specific musician, sync with one of the many rhythmic layers, and become a part of the ‘musical organism’ that’s filling the space.

…connect solo to partner dancing and beyond

Be prepared to explore how solo, partner dancing, or group dancing can boost your ability to connect with the music, other dancers, and the dance floor around you. We are welcoming upcoming and established international teachers to guide you along the way.

…connect to your inner joy and mess around!

In the end, just like the move, The Mess Around is all about having fun. Get ready for some grooving, stealing, switching, and jamming. The festival will allow you to safely explore all those groovy possibilities in your body. It’s not about what you do, how you dance, or with whom, as long as it brings a smile to your face.

Ailsa Croy

she/her

Ailsa discovered Lindy Hop in Edinburgh in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. After travelling around Europe in search of festivals and social dancing, she landed in Toulouse where she continued to learn more about the different swing dances as well as learning about the dance’s history, the music and the culture that gives these dances their depth and richness. 

A teacher by training, Ailsa’s passion for sharing her love of dance prompted her to start teaching and she now teaches both Lindy Hop and Solo jazz/Charleston full time. She also teaches at festivals across France and recently organised her first festival : MEET THE MUSIC. 

She loves to challenge herself and keep learning which has led her to compete in competitions, to perform and to explore other dance styles. Ailsa loves the music and energy that this dance is built upon and she wants to share this with her students

Nathan Auvray & Anaïs Nguyen Thé

he/him & she/her

Nathan and Anaïs met in Caen, France in 2016. The meeting of their relaxed and musical approach to dance resulted in an artistic and human love-at-first-sight. In September 2017, they began teaching classes together at Caen Ça Swing, exploring the depths of connection and pushing the boundaries between roles. They now travel across France to teach and enrich their dance.

They see their practice as a research laboratory for swing and musicality, often discussing concepts such as switch, backleading, and energy, which have become the backbone of their dance. Using made-up words and silly but effective metaphors, Nathan and Anaïs teach a lively, expressive swing dance, emphasizing personal feeling and expression.

Léna Djaïz & Thomas Noguer

she/her & he/him

Both of them have been on their personal swing dance journey for 10+ years. They enjoy exploring it through many aspects: Lindy Hop as Lead, Follow, Switch. Practicing Solo Jazz, Tap Dance, and Body Percussion. Together they develop Jazz rhythms, call & response dynamics, fast dancing, and aerials. Léna and Thomas find their core values in crossovers between individual expression and connection.

“Our favorite social floors are the playful ones, based on care, share and connection. Grooving and growing collectively is our credo!”

The Hop 'sh Bam Connection

The Hop ‘sh Bam Connection is an excellent swing band from Belgium, brilliantly guided by Marie Anne Standaert (trumpet+vocals). Being a dancer herself, she perfectly knows how to combine all the musical ingredients to connect with the dance floor and to provide dancers with top swing music. All Hop ‘sh Bam musicians swing with their whole body, heart and soul! Be prepared: Heavy swing and Hot jazz that will make your feet move like never before!

The Hop ‘sh Bam Connection will play on Saturday.

The Royal Croquettes

In 2019 they discovered that they shared the same passion for traditional jazz and swing music in the style of the great legends. Few days later they decide to meet and jam hard on some old fashioned classics. Thanks to their talented arrangers, Niccolò Angioni and Simon Gelsdorf the Royal Croquettes are swinging as hell, and make dancers jump on their feet to fill the venue with their energy.

You can enjoy The Royal Croquettes on Friday night!

Celebrity Hot Tub Party

Celebrity Hot Tub Party is a four-headed time machine that takes you to the 30/40’sIn the traditional line-up of double-bass, drums, accordion and guitar, the guys from Celebrity Hot Tub Party will entertain you with accessible, danceable music from all over the world.

Swinging songs by and for romantics.

They will guide us through our Sunday afternoon!

What will you find in our tracks?

Every track will contain 8.5 hours of classes. You will get to see all teachers and… have a 1.5 hour class with live music! The classes will focus on deepening your connection beyond partner interaction and will be a mix of solo, partner, and who-knows-with-how-many-people dances. How you tune in with your surroundings, get inspired by your fellow dancers, and connect to specific musicians is what we will explore. Below you will find the different track types, to make sure you are in a group with dancers of a similar level.

🫧 Hidden pearls

Ready to show your shine? Let’s do it! You’re beyond the beginner stage, feeling confident on the social dance floor. This might even be your first international festival! You’ve got the basics down – 6 & 8-counts, Lindy circle, Charleston, and swing outs. Improvisation and rhythm incorporation are still challenges, but you’re eager to learn. In partner dance, the lead still shapes the dance. You mostly concentrate on the moves which makes it hard to have a chat with your partner and might result in bumping into others on crowded dance floors. This track is perfect for improving your skills and your connection with your partner, your groove and musicians!

🐚 Proud sea shells

You certainly bounce around with the tides as well as on the dance floor! After some years of swing dancing, it is a part of your life. You’ve often gone to socials and have likely attended Lindy Hop festivals before. Comfortable with slow and medium tempos, you effortlessly execute swing outs and various Lindy moves. While you enjoy improvisation, mastering rhythms into your movement requires focus. With a broad vocabulary of Lindy moves, you’re exploring connection, styling, musicality, and rhythm variations. In partner dance, leads determine the majority of the dance, but follows also take their chance to do some variations. It gets easier to keep an eye on your surroundings and you can have short chats with your dance partner. You start to take opportunities to mix up moves, steal and mess around a bit. This track offers a mix of conceptual and moves-based classes for dancers at your level, providing new material and creative challenges.

⚪ Smooth pebbles

Hello groovy dancers! With your shiny shell and agile moves you are ready for a true challenge, effortlessly improvising with your own unique style and deepening your understanding of rhythm. With quite a lot of dance experience, you navigate all tempos with ease and are fluent in basic improvisation and don’t hesitate to show your solo jazz. Regularly attending social dances, workshops, and international Lindy hop festivals, you’re comfortable with any swing out variations and have a broad and diverse Lindy move repertoire. In partner dance, both leads and follows take responsibility in shaping the dance, taking inspiration from your partner, dancers around you, and the layers in the music. You are aware of your surroundings and rarely step on someone’s feet,even on a crowded dancefloor. This track offers conceptual and moves-based classes to inspire growth and challenge advanced dancers.

Zilt op De Pier

Our location for the Saturday party. De Zilt is located on the iconic landmark De Pier in The Hague. With stunning views of the North Sea and the picturesque coastline, it’s the perfect backdrop for a night of dancing in the fresh ocean air.

Address
Zilt op De Pier
Strandweg 150a
2586 JW Den Haag

Public Transport
tram-/bus stop Kurhaus

  • tram 9 from The Hague Central Station
  • bus 22 from The Hague Laan van NOI 
  • tram 1/9 from The Hague Hollands Spoor

Parking
There are several parking garages nearby. Some require online reservations. Parking on the streets is very expensive.

The history of the old Pier goes back to the beginning of the swing era. The 372 meter Wandelhoofd Koningin Wilhelmina opened in 1901 and connected the famous Kurhaus with a sea pavilion as a cultural center for music performances, theater and dance in The Hague.

The current Pier, still one of the most famous in the world, started construction in 1953. After a period of decay, The Pier was resurrected as a two level construction containing a parade of craft food bars and pop-up stores. The top floor offers a panoramic view on beach and North Sea with space to enjoy sun, to stroll or dance on! We are thrilled to bring back swing dancing and music to this beautiful location.

From: Haags Gemeentearchief

Brouwerij De Prael

Our location for the Friday and Sunday parties. Here we also host the monthly Beer Dances that are known for their great atmosphere! At De Prael they have a wooden floor that is great for dancing! De Prael is a restaurant and brewery with supported employment where community is central. Apart from dancing you’ll be invited to discover a lot of exceptional brews and great food. The brewery is conveniently located in the city center and is therefore easily accessible by public transportation, bike, or car, with nearby parking available if you have to drive.

Address
Brouwerij de Prael
Esperantoplein 20
2518 LE Den Haag

Public Transport

  • Tram 2/4: tram stop Monstersestraat
  • Tram 3: tram stop Westeinde
  • Tram 11: tram stop Loosduinseweg

Parking
Until 6pm, free parking is available at parking De Verademing / Esperantostraat, next to Brouwerij De Prael, Den Haag. After 6pm paid parking.

RevamB

Located within walking distance of The Hague’s central station, RevamB is easily accessible for everyone arriving by train, tram, or bus. At this prime location with 3 spacious dance floors you will take your classes.

Address
RevamB
Daendelsstraat 57
2995 XT Den Haag

Public Transport

  • 13 minutes walking from The Hague Central Station
  • 12 minutes walking from The Hague Laan van NOI
  • 4 minutes from tram stop Beatrixkwartier (tram 3, 4 or 34)

Parking
There are several parking garages nearby. Some require online reservation.

Our community runs on respect. Let’s work together to make our dances a safe, welcoming, and enjoyable space for everyone!

Safe Space

Hofstad Hop is dedicated to providing a safe space for everyone, no matter their gender, race, sexual orientation, age, ability, sexual orientation, physical appearance, religion or any other personal characteristic.

Code of Conduct

All attendees and staff are subject to our code of conduct.

We have a zero tolerance policy on harassment be it racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic abuse, unwanted sexual attention or sexual assault.

Drug use or being under the influence of drugs is prohibited at our venues.

If the code of conduct is breached we reserve the right to remove the participant from current and future events.

Our Team

Members of our team can be found at every dance. You can easily identify us by our “Hofstad Hop” pins.

We have a care team: Merel, Anne, and Marc. If you experience any issue or concern you want to address, please come and find us. This might include unsafe experiences on or off the dance floor, or situations in which you or others have been made to feel uncomfortable. Your concerns will be taken seriously and treated confidentially. If necessary or desired, our care team member will discuss possible courses of action with you. Contact any organiser if you need help in locating us.

Let’s dance!

Asking someone to dance

We encourage anyone to ask anyone to dance. Anyone can respond with ‘no, thank you.’ An explanation is never required.

We believe that dance roles are unrelated to gender. Don’t assume that someone dances a certain role just based on appearances. To have clear communication when asking someone to dance, it’s good to state your preferred role or ask. For example: “Hey, would you mind leading in this dance?” ”Hi, would you like to dance the next song? Would you prefer to lead or follow?”

Floorcraft

While dancing you invite people into your personal space and enter other people’s personal space.

While there is always some risk associated with any physical activity, we are committed to preventing injuries before they happen. Unsafe dancing is any movement that puts anyone at an increased risk of physical injury.

Social dances are not the time or place for aerials. Please save these for competitions or jam circles with the consent of your partner.

Be aware of the space around you and account for this in the moves you do. If you should bump into anyone, check-in with them and offer an apology.

Be considerate of others

Good hygiene can make dancing more comfortable for everyone, so bring a change of clothes, deodorant & mints if you need them.

Our classes and social dances are not the place for unsolicited feedback. This is reserved for teachers or when your partner explicitly asks for it.

Instructors

Our workshop instructors are selected for a variety of reasons including skill, awareness of community safety concerns, and inclusive and accountable teaching methods.

We look forward to dancing with you!

Internal Care Team SOP

Internal care team is not the same as event staff. Any concerns brought to a staff member should be directed to a care team member present. Our current care team members are Merel, Anne & Marc.