‘A dance to die for’

GVL/Luke Holmes - The Swing Dance Club meets Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 for their second to last meeting before Christmas break.

Luke Holmes

GVL/Luke Holmes – The Swing Dance Club meets Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 for their second to last meeting before Christmas break.

Ty Konell

In celebration of the spooky season, the Grand Valley State University swing dance club is hosting the “Spooky Swing: A Dance to Die For” as part of its yearly Halloween dance celebration.

The GVSU swing dance club, founded over 10 years ago, has made its Halloween party an annual celebration. This year, the event, which will be held at 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, will be held in the Kirkhof Center Pere Marquette Room.

The party will feature a costume contest and pumpkin carving contest as well as music and dancing. Alex Candela, the event planner, said holiday parties are a positive way to relieve stress by having fun in an upbeat and energetic environment.

“We are a social dance group, and it just makes sense to have a dance to match holidays. The whole group just has fun having an entire night for open dance,” Candela said. “We hope our members have a fun night and practice their dance moves in more than just a lesson setting.”

Furthermore, open events where members can practice their dancing gives students the opportunity to rehearse their skills, which they will use at the Swing Dance Showcase at the end of the school year.

“Our members like the dance parties because it gives them a chance to practice what they learned so far this year, which they also get to show off in our annual Swing Dance Showcase in April,” Candela said.

The club, which meets every Thursday at 9 p.m., offers weekly lessons and is open to people of all experience levels.

“I never did any dance, and then I started to find success early on in my swing dancing,” said Brenden Hoekstra, president of the swing dance club. “It’s a great outlet.”

“When I first joined, I had never done any dancing,” Candela said. “I learned all dance styles within two semesters. The teaching was really good, and if you needed more practice, the (executive board) was willing to take you aside and personally help you.

“I like all the people. A lot of my friends are in the club and it’s a nice stress reliever after a whole week of school. And it’s my only exercise.”

The club offers lessons in a variety of swing dance styles including East Coast, Lindy hop and Charleston.

“Members really like East Coast because you can do it to faster, fun songs,” Candela said. “The members also really like Lindy hop. Even if it’s pretty hard, after they learn it, they really like it.”

Moreover, the executive board members love the social atmosphere that accompanies swing dance culture.

“I enjoy the movement of it. How the dance corresponds to the music, the musicality that’s behind it,” Hoekstra said. “It is a phenomenal lifelong hobby. You can learn, dance and meet new people. Also, it’s accessible, free and on campus.”