Every semester, EMU students are given the opportunity to learn the elusive art of swing dancing. Now, they will also be able to enjoy it weekly through the new Swing Dance Club.
“Swing dance is the perfect balance between a structured social dance and a free form style,” explained Senior Aly Zimmerman, who is deeply involved in both the swing dance event this semester and the newly formed swing dancing club. “It is so easy to mix and match different moves and make the dance your own!”
To help make this dance more accessible to students, Micah Hurst, Seminary student, led the students through both simple and complex steps of swing dance in the gym on March 17. More than thirty people attended, only a few with a dance partner or swing dancing experience. Of those present, about five pairs were composed of all girls. For these pairs, they designated one to dance the male role and the other the female role.
“The turnout is awesome,” said Senior Joel DeWald, who was involved in creating the club. “Sometimes it’s hard to find a dancing partner,” added DeWald.
Some of the dance moves that the students learned included the cradle, pretzel, simple turns, complicated turns, flips, and headlights. Two helpers went around the room after the demonstration to help each couple understand and execute each move, and many couples helped others learn new moves and master the ones they had learned that night.
“I like swing dancing,” said Junior Rachel Hershey. “I’m not very good at it, but I like watching others. It looks fun.” Later in the night, she stood on the mat with her dance partner Joseph Arbaugh, Sophomore, and they were the first couple to successfully do an aerial.
“A lot of people want to swing dance more, but don’t have the opportunity nor the time to pull the resources together. This club will take off that pressure,” said Zimmerman.
Her current plan is to have the club meet in the group exercise room in the fitness center almost every Saturday night at 9 p.m. Everyone is invited. “Grab a friend from JMU, your second cousin’s boyfriend’s sister, a man from VMRC, one of the professors, or anyone else you’d like to have there. Most of the time we’ll encourage partner rotation, so you don’t even need a partner to attend,” Zimmerman added.
Zimmerman has high hopes for the club. Few of the events that are being planned are “an event with a live Jazz band, connecting with students in other schools… planning another event at VMRC… an outside dance when it is the right temperature (court square, anyone?)”
For more information about the group or events, join the Facebook group, “EMU Swing Dancing.”