2023 in Review.

In News by Muriel Gravenor

Backdated to December 2023.

Hello CTS Community,

What a year it’s been! As we approach the year-end and immerse ourselves in the summer festivities, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our collective achievements and share some exciting focus areas for 2024.

On a personal note, steering the ship at Cape Town Swing has been a tremendous honour. Witnessing the individual contributions of enthusiasm, skill, dedication, and generosity to our community has been truly heartening. Structural changes are unfolding, paving the way for my dream of a more sustainable and self-sufficient CTS. As a non-profit organisation, transparency is a big part of our success as a community. Team efficiency has been a key theme this year, and our migration to Slack and Asana is improving our communications and task management.

Now… Here are some highlights from each of our primary teams, along with some ambitions for 2024, and a request (to you!) from each team.

Administration & Finance

The spreadsheet geeks among us like to see some good numbers, ensuring that CTS is in the black, not in the red. Our finance lead, Brendan, has reported that overall, our financial situation is positive. Despite being 25% over budget in expenses, we’ve also exceeded our revenue target. Ambitions for 2024 include streamlining class attendance tracking and providing financial support to existing and new community projects.

Request: Always sign into class; your attendance data informs crucial financial decisions.

Classes & Teaching

There have been a few changes to our class structures post-Covid that have helped the scene grow substantially:

  • Teaching in three different locations instead of one.
  • Offering a membership that incentivises more frequent class attendance.
  • A Novice course that better equips people with lindy hop fundamentals.

Nicole has highlighted our teaching team’s growth and diverse skillset and the considerable work that’s gone into developing a structured learning-to-teach pathway. Looking ahead, we plan to focus more attention on the Improvers block and offer Advanced classes with a view to levelling up the dancing in our scene.

Request: Please use the temperature check form to provide constructive feedback after classes – your input is a crucial part of our development as teachers.

Events

Our events team ensures that social dances, live band parties, and non-dance events fill our calendar. Despite challenges in 2023, we’ve hosted two successful Swing Camps, introduced Thursday evening social dancing at Cape Point Vineyards, and enjoyed the tunes of our homegrown jazz bands. The goal for 2024 is to have more small, low-budget events and to ensure that each event pays for itself.

Request: If you have venue connections or ideas for low-cost events, reach out – your input is invaluable.

Communications, Design & Website

Ruby, Meritxell and I have handled the bulk of our communications workload (including WhatsApp, Instagram, email newsletters, Google, Meetup, and Facebook). Our design volunteers collaborate using the Canva Pro account, and the website team is working to enhance user experience. Some highlights from 2023 include beautiful photos of our community from James H, warmly written blogs coordinated by Mary-Anne, and loads more reach through our social media platforms. In 2024, we’d love to create footage of dance performances showcasing Cape Town and to improve the user experience on our website.

Request: Communications, marketing, design, or website professionals, share your suggestions for improvement – or volunteer your time with us 🙂

Community Creators & Safer Spaces

The warmth and inclusivity that many of you will attest to within CTS is largely a result of intentional work behind the scenes. Our Safer Spaces initiative is active again, with about a dozen trained representatives. Our Birthday Champ Jayne has been helping us to celebrate individuals with steal jams and personal notes. In 2024, we’ll create structures to actively encourage integration between more experienced and less experienced dancers.

Request: Everyone, familiarise yourself with our Dance Etiquette guide and Safer Spaces texts. Intermediates, ask Novices to dance.

Active Projects & On the Backburner

Our dusty dancers will be back at AfrikaBurn, and we’re fostering international connections with teaching residencies and support for members to attend events abroad. While the dream of a portable dance floor is on hold until we focus on fundraising, Echoes of Sophiatown’s Phase II awaits funding and team capacity.

Thank you for taking the time to read this extended note. If you’ve reached this far, you’re awesome! Remember to complete the feedback form by January 1, 2024.

Here’s to a brilliant 2024 filled with dance, growth, and more of that community spirit we’re known for!

Much love and sunny vibes,

Muriel

CTS Operations Manager.

About the Author

Muriel Gravenor

Muriel discovered lindy hop in 2013 via a friend – she was hooked and for the next year, took as many classes as she could pack into the week. Her interest in scene building (and later, teaching) was ignited after attending an international lindy hop event for the first time, in Istanbul. Besides working with the Cape Town Swing team, Muriel also freelances in various things – and always has something brewing.