The Centrum came alive Sept. 30 with big band music blaring and students showing off their swing dancing moves. The event started at 8 p.m. with lessons and lasted late into the evening as students danced, some in rhythm with flawless moves and others stepping on toes but still enjoying learning the art of swing dancing.
The Swing Dance Club is unique as it is a tri-college club, meaning that anyone from Concordia, MSUM or NDSU is able to join. Though the Swing Dance Club usually meets on MSUM’s campus, Sept. 30 was a fun kickoff to the beginning of a new school year.
“I really love that it is a tri-college club, getting off campus is always nice and it is fun to get to know a new community of people,” said senior Katie Peske, club president.
Peske got involved with the Swing Club when she attended a meeting with her roommate freshman year. Though her roommate eventually stopped attending, Peske continued to go alone, drawn in by the friendly community and her love of dancing.
Co-president Jennifer Schroeder, a sophomore, first got involved in the Swing Dance Club when a friend randomly invited her. The club was just what Schroeder was looking for.
“It was love at first sight, and good friendships developed,” Schroeder said.
Peske agreed and added that though the first times people attend the club it is a little bit awkward, experience can make dancing more enjoyable.
“If you have any fun at all while knowing nothing,” Peske said, “it can only get better and more fun as you learn how to dance.”
The Swing Dance Club has no prerequisites to those interested in joining, and newcomers are welcome anytime since free beginner and advanced lessons are offered every week before open dance begins. Both presidents agree that the only requirement for learners is to be comfortable trying something new with new people.
A unique aspect of swing dancing is it must be done with a partner. In order to learn a new dance move, one must find someone to learn it with. The Swing Dance Club is a community of students willing to learn together, encouraging each other along the way in a friendly environment.
“Dancing is a great way to relax,” Peske said. “You just let go of tension and can get lost in the music; it is a great break from a stressful schedule.”
Schroeder nodded in agreement. “I can barely hold a conversation,” she said. “It is so good for stress.”
Peske concurred, adding “you just can’t help [but] smile while you are there.”
Besides their regular meetings Friday nights, the Swing Dance Club also hosts numerous exciting events and invites a number of swing instructors throughout the school year. On Oct. 7 the club had a Sock Hop, or a fifties-themed swing night, at MSUM that included free food and music. Like a traditional sock hop, dancers were encouraged to show up in socks without shoes in order to not scuff the floor.
On Oct. 14, the Swing Club will be hosting Ben White, a nationally-known swing dance instructor. He will be giving free lessons for an hour before open dance begins.