Swing dancing the night away

It had been a long time since I had been out on the dance floor. Four years to be exact, so I was not sure what to expect when I heard that Campus Activities Board and their Special Events coordinator Sam Dauz was putting on a learn how to swing dance event.

It began at 10 p.m. as a steady flow of Big Band beats resonated throughout Davenport on Feb. 8. With a decent turnout of around 30 dancers and another 20 onlookers; I was sure that I was not going to be the only one who was tripping over their own two feet.

At almost 10:15 p.m. the group was ready to start but there was a slight problem. With the extreme lack of males that University of La Verne deals with, it seemed that the event was going to be a struggle. Thankfully, some of the lovely ladies in attendance decided to solve the problem and dance the male part.

I did not want to confuse myself any more than I needed to, so I decided to stick to the female role. As if I was not nervous enough already I got partnered up with a friend of the instructor. Predictably, he was an extremely better dancer than I was.

The group worked its way slowly through the traditional Lindy Hop 8-count.

“Triple step, triple step, rock step,” I could hear not only myself whispering the counts but everyone around me seemed to join the chorus.

Most of the onlookers sat and laughed as they munched on their nachos from the nacho bar.

“Why don’t you guys get up here and try it,” the instructor said and they immediately went silent.

For a while all you could hear was the crunch of their nachos, but slowly as they began to feel more comfortable then the threat of them having to dance was gone they began to laugh again.

Just as soon as all my swing dancing experience was coming back to me the instructor decided to throw the group a curve ball. We had to rotate partners. Everyone moaned as they realized that now they were going to have to dance with someone they might not be comfortable with.

The fear of stepping on someone’s toes became apparent in everyone’s eyes. Thankfully, I got an amazing partner. Lenny Moore rotated my direction and we started to dance. I thought I was going to be embarrassed every time I missed a step but Moore did not care. We would just laugh and keep going.

“Don’t worry, we got this, we got this,” Moore said over and over as we kept practicing.

As I looked around the room everyone seemed to be having a great time as we learned spins, dips and jumps. Even the few men that were there seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We all danced together right up until 12 a.m. but people still did not want to go home. Girls and guys alike kept asking the instructor questions on how to perfect this move or that step. Dauz eventually had to just shut off the music because it was getting late and the cleaning staff was getting restless.

Once the music stopped people still stepped and dipped here and there throughout Davenport.

So many people stayed the whole time that it made clean up a snap.

Everyone had such a good time that no one seemed to mind helping Dauz and her committee move the tables back into Davenport.

It was a good night. Everyone had a good time and I even remember how to dance. I guess it is like riding a bike; you never really forget.

Jillian Peña can be reached at jpeña2@ulv.edu.

Jillian Peña
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