Those who happened to walk by Gymnasium C around 8 p.m. last Saturday night would have heard the sound of swing music and laughter coming from inside. If curiosity got the best of them, they might have found themselves caught up in an old-fashioned night of the ‘50s, dancing with someone they may or may not have known previously.
Micah Hurst, one of EMU’s current residential directors, led this unique night by giving out step-by-step dancing instructions to the 50 or so students and faculty gathered in a circle around him. He demonstrated his instructions with his dance partner, senior Aly Zimmerman. Hurst was a careful observer and teacher, so if he noticed a pair was having particular trouble with a step, he graciously stepped in and gave them one-on-one instructions.
I had a really good time swing dancing even though I had not known my partner previously. We were first taught how to do the basic swing footwork, which was a little tricky for both my partner and I, as we had a little trouble finding the beat of the music. It was really satisfying when we got it, and especially when we learned a step involving me being spun around twice and then back to him. I loved being spun.
We were then taught how to do slightly more complicated steps such as being spun, ending with “The Cradle,” where the man’s arms were wrapped around the woman as she was holding his hands and entwined at his side. It was a good way to get out and do something different than I might have usually done on a Saturday night. With Hurst’s instructions, I even found myself being lifted in the air by my partner (which, as it turned out, was less complicated than it looked). First he spun me out, and when I was swung back in, he wrapped one arm around my waist and one around my shoulder. I leaned sideways into him as he also leaned to the side, and he lifted me up and sideways as my feet kicked to the side. It felt like I was a “real” swing dancer. It was definitely fun. Swing dancing was also a good form of exercise.
Hurst’s instructions were clear and the demonstrations certainly helped. One thing I might have changed about the dynamics of the event, however, was to find a new location for it with better acoustics (or perhaps a megaphone) so we could all hear Hurst better. Also, there was a shortage of male participants, so this is a shout out to all male EMU students: we need you!
Keep an eye out for EMU’s next swing dance! Contact Micah Hurst for more details. Swing dancing seemed particularly fun for dating couples. So why not drop by for a date night?
Monica Root, Staff Writer