By Brecken Mumford | Echo
Sundays from 3-5 p.m. in the Kesler Student Activities Center (KSAC) aerobics room, a handful of students lace up their shoes, play big band jazz and dance the afternoon away. This is Taylor University's Swing Dancing Club.
The Swing Dancing Club began as an informal gathering among students who loved the art of swing dancing. They met Sunday evenings in the KSAC, practicing the variations of swing (such as Lindy hop, Charleston and East Coast Swing), aerials and stunts-all for the sake of loving the art of the dance and the community it brings. Three years ago, the acting presidents of the club, Emily Love ('16) and Daniel Ford ('17), began and completed the process of being formally recognized as a Taylor-approved club.
While the Swing Dancing Club looks a bit different than its under-the-radar, Sunday soirees, the love of the art is still alive and dancing away.
"In the past few years, swing dancing here was all about learning impressive aerials," said junior Edric Yu, who's been a part of the club for the last two years. " It became clear that this was discouraging to many people for multiple reasons . . . we're moving away from that and toward a more classy style of dancing to the music. Right now, we're focusing on learning Lindy hop, a great style for most jazz music."
Last year, members of the club were involved in two on-campus performances. For Mosaic Night, the club joined forces with the Jungle Cats, a student-run jazz combo, to highlight the unique experience swing dancing has brought to American culture,past and present. Also, for Nostalgia Night last spring, the Swing Dancing Club performed to "Jailhouse Rock."
While they love performing and are hoping to start hosting more events throughout the year, the club also hopes to engage in events off campus. Together, the members reach out and find other swing dancing events in the area.
"We (just) received an open invitation from the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra to come enjoy a night of music, dance and dessert," sophomore Imani Muya said. "The event is on Nov. 11 and it starts at 6 p.m."
The event is open to everyone, and the Swing Dancing Club has put out a student announcement with more information. Too nervous to test out your swing dancing skills this early? Don't worry-Sunday afternoons are open to everyone!
Newcomers are welcome to join in at any point, and the club is open to all of the student body. Freshman Emily Knight joined earlier this semester after hearing about the club through friends who started going.
The afternoon sessions start off with lessons taught by Muya and Yu, followed by social dancing for the rest of the time.
"It's super easy to learn, the only requirement is having feet," Muya said. "It's not a strict program of sorts, so people can literally drop in any week and they can jump right in."
For more information or questions, follow Taylor University Swing Dancing on Facebook, ask questions or show up on Sunday and twirl your way into swing!