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Swing Patrol Brighton | Scott Cupit Q&A

20 August 2017 2 Comments

Dance teacher and entrepreneur Scott Cupit (second from left in the first image) founded Swing Patrol with business partner Claudia Funder back in 1998, after falling in love with Swing dancing in America, and this Summer made the move to Brighton to grow this swing thing by the sea.

Swing Patrol Brighton

Scott has a pretty impressive track-record; having run classes all over the world, performed with troupes at 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace and on TV shows Call the Midwife, The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den, where he won investment from Deborah Meaden. He even has a Guinness World Record under his belt for the world’s largest Charleston dance. So swing fans are in safe hands. Here he explains what’s in store and why he’s fast-falling for his new seaside home.

Why is now the right time for Swing Patrol to shimmy into Brighton?

Brighton is well known for it’s amazing passion for all things vintage, making it a perfect fit for Swing Patrol and its vintage dance focus. Many Swing Patrol and Brighton dancers have strong relationships already, due to weekend events that bring them together; making the move more like seeing old friends than meeting new ones. Lindy Hop has experienced a phenomenal growth globally so we hope we can play a role in contributing to the Brighton swing dance scene.

Why did you decide to make a move down here personally?

I grew up by the water and miss it. I’ve always said that Brighton was somewhere I would love to live one day so when the opportunity arose it all made sense. I love the vibe, the spirit and the energy and the architecture, history and talented artistic scene all add to the appeal.

Swing Patrol Brat Pack | Image by Tim Gee

How did you decide on the right venues for your classes in Brighton and Hove?

We choose venues according to many factors that include location, management and even sound system! Our three venues have really supportive management, great dance floors and already understand the dynamics of hosting dance classes.

Will you be teaching any of the classes yourself and how did you hire local teachers? 

I’ll be involved in all the classes but do have teaching commitments abroad once a month so am assembling a roster so we have a back-up team. Most of the teaching will also be done by local dancer Faraday Loughlin who is an amazing award-winning Lindy Hopper who has danced for over twenty years. Faraday has been teaching with me up in London recently so we can get used to each other and I ‘m really excited about the partnership.

London Swing Festival 2015 | Image by Light eX Machina

Do you have any plans to teach outside?

We’d love to find opportunities to perform and teach outdoors and will be looking out for them. We’ve been involved with Love Supreme through Jazz FM for a few years and performed at various outdoor events such as the recent Community Pride Day in Preston Park.

How quickly did the Swing Patrol scene grow in London and what difference did Deborah Meaden’s investment make to the profile and growth of the business?

The first two years were really hard work in London and I have no doubt that Brighton Swing Patrol will start slowly as building awareness of anything new isn’t easy and requires a real focus. In 2009 most of our classes had about 10 people in a class and it was the third year that we experienced a real tipping point and suddenly we had 900 students. That momentum only grew through having an incredibly passionate team that had performed all over the place and shared the dance at every opportunity. Securing investment on Dragons’ Den gave us a new branding and opened doors at the BBC and so forth but we already had momentum and growth and that didn’t change too much.

Swing Patrol Wedding Couple Dance

What ages do you teach – from youngest to oldest?

We have a couple of amazing teenagers in our classes and a few in their 80s. It’s what I love about the swing dance community as age, culture, sexual orientation and religion is put aside as we all share a passion for the music and the dance.

What can you promise your students from the classes?

Classes will have solid instruction and be founded on strong technique but they will be wrapped up in a lot of fun and laughter on the way. The dance is so joyful and we have to share that as part of the learning experience. I also promise amazing swing tunes!

Do you have any favourite vintage spots in Brighton yet?

I’ve loved every coffee and every restaurant and am immersing myself in all the offerings of Preston Street. The cafes in the Lanes are to die for and some of the charity shops are so much fun that I wish I had more reason to buy things. It’s too early to give my favourites but I’m loving the daily research!

See the full list of Swing Patrol Brighton classes and workshops at www.swingpatrol.co.uk

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