Sunday night swing: RSO resurrects a lost art

On Sunday nights in Finch Fieldhouse, one can find an enthusiastic and eager group of nearly 30 students studying Lindy Hop, Balboa and Eastern Swing.

However, these students are not preparing for an exam or class project. They are resurrecting the lost art of swing dancing.

Produced by Allan Harvey

The Swing Kids are a registered student organization that provides swing dance lessons and socials to students and community members.

Shepherd resident and CMU alumnus, Carrie Mills, explained the warm environment of the meetings is an aspect that keeps her returning each week.

Anybody is welcome, and that’s what I love about this group,” Mills said. “It’s free and it’s a chance for me to start my week positively with exercise, fun, and meeting new people.”

Although a newcomer may think the moves are hard and take a lot of practice, Mills explained the learning process is all part of the fun and experience.

“You have to [learn] the basics and you have to have form to do those things.” Mills said, “but I like being in a social environment on the dance floor with all the different people and the different tricks and dips are a lot of fun.”

Lake Orion freshman, Ashley Cotter, said the weekly meetings are helpful to her mood throughout the week.

“It makes you feel refreshed because you’ve had some physical activity, made some new friends and had some laughs,” Cotter said. “It makes you go into the week with a positive attitude.”

Cotter not only attends the sessions for exercise and the chance to meet new people, but also for the opportunity to spend time with her best friend, Waterford sophomore Jenna Losiowski.

“When we were little we would make up little dances together,” Cotter said. “We’ve been best friends for 14 years, so now it’s really fun because we get to learn actual dance instead of making up random stuff.”

The Sunday night sessions are led by various members of the executive board — all of who choose self-taught dance moves and genres to teach at each meeting.

Bay City sophomore and treasurer of the group, Kevin Whalen, explained that becoming the teacher has been a positive experience.

“I’ve never done any kind of dancing before this,” Whalen said. “I think it definitely made me a better dancer to be on the e-board because it forced me to really come out of my shell and not be worried about looking stupid dancing in front of people.”

Whalen has not only become well versed in the different dance styles, but he has also taken an interest into the culture of swing dancing, especially the dress. He, along with other members of the group, wears fedora hats to give added effect.

“If I had a zoot suit, I’d be wearing that, too,” Whalen said.

If you’re interested in joining the Swing Kids…

Meetings: Sunday from 7-9 p.m. in Finch 113