Swing Dance Club closes semester with performance

Taylor Crowley

Grand Valley State University’s Swing Dance Club has made its way back into our calendars for the organization’s annual showcase, closing the semester with a night of performing. 

The dancers have decided their routines, picked the music and practiced their styles leading up to this annual performance. The Irish Dance Club and K-pop Group Evolution club will showcase their talents at the event as well. 

Dating back to the 1920s, swing dance has evolved and modernized over time. The club focuses on four different styles of swing dance, including West Coast, East Coast, Charleston and Lindy Hop.

The show will contain great variety in these performances, showing off different styles of swing to the audience. All of the dances being performed are student-choreographed and based off what the students have learned over time practicing with the club. 

Jessica Long, president of the Swing Dance Club, helps teach the different styles of swing every week at their meetings. Long said she had always loved dancing but never felt great at it. However, with swing, she felt at ease. 

“Swing is a very forgiving dance,” Long said. “I wouldn’t say it’s easier than other dances, but people can pick it up easier. If you create an environment where it’s okay to mess up, people are much more willing to keep with it and try new things.”

During high school, Long went to swing dance events hosted at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids and decided to continue her passion for swing dance into her college years. 

Long said she decided to take a chance with the Swing Dance Club here at GVSU and that it was one of the best decisions of her life. She thinks of the members in the club as family and described it as a home away from home. This will be the final showcase of her college career.

Amy Zann, promotions manager for the Swing Dance Club, has also been a part of the club for four years. She joined after a group invited her to go swing dance her freshman year. This is also Zann’s last showcase at GVSU. 

The light-hearted, fun environment of the club is what kept Zann going back weekly. Zann said her favorite style among the four swing dance styles taught is Charleston. 

“I love Charleston,” Zann said. “It’s very fun and bouncy. It takes a lot of energy, so after a Charleston, I usually sit out for a dance or two. It’s a lot of moving around with your partner; it’s a great dance.” 

At the end of the showcase, there will be an open dance for people who want to stay and learn swing dance moves. The dancers love teaching new pupils and encourage the audience to stay and celebrate. 

The showcase will take place Saturday, April 14, at 8 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Pere Marquette Room. T-shirts and carnations will be for sale as well.