Swing dancing the night away at Phra Phathom Chedi (PHOTO ESSAY)

A ninety-minute drive from Bangkok, Rod Fai street near Thailand’s tallest pagoda “Phra Phrathomchedi” on Sunday transported people back to the swing dance era, as if they had stepped back in time by ninety years. Ladies sporting flared dresses and gents looking sharp in waistcoats and top hats jived away as swing music blared from the temple’s speaker.

“Big Bang: Swing Dancing,” a free dance event in Nakhon Pathom, brought the old community at the famous pagoda back to life as the streets were transformed into a dance floor. It was wild, loud and sweaty, with hundreds of swing dancers and party goers from Thailand and around the world bringing a friendly, energetic vibe.

Dancers from the Bangkok Swing group, which organized the event, kicked off the night with a brief lesson for beginners, which was the majority of the crowd. Swedish band Gunhild Carling then began playing live swing music.

As part of street dance culture, swing dancing is a mixture of many styles such as disco and ballroom, with improvisation thrown in by the leading partner. The exciting part was watching dancers switching partners with every song as they grooved to the funky beats.

“This all started from my love of jazz and swing music. One day I found Bangkok had a small community of swing dancers, so I took my first course and joined this event for the first time. Swing dance helps me stay healthy and also make new friends from different circles.”  — Bank, 27, Architect.

“I’ve never taken any dance courses. I had planned to take the free class at the beginning of this event but we missed it… I can’t dance well, but still enjoyed this event very much. It’s a relaxing, nice outdoor event with a sense of community.” — May, 30, freelance worker.

Two hours in, the instructors took to the stage and stunned the audience with their flawless moves. They were later joined by the talented members of the Gunhild Carling band.

The dance continued until 10pm on the dot as promised by organisers, as attendees formally bowed to bid each other farewell. The fairytale evening was over, and all there was left to do for party goers was to go back home and dream of their magical evening.

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