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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Swing Cats bring it old school

    Swing Cats bring it old school

    Unbeknownst to most UA students, there was a bomb on the UA Mall last Wednesday night – an explosion of energy that lasted from about 8:30-11:00.

    Seeing as how there wasn’t a gaping hole on the Mall afterward, this bomb was not the destructive kind. This was a Lindybomb.

    Lindy is an eight-count swing dance that originated in Harlem in the late 1920s. It is often referred to as the “”original swing”” and originates from African and European styles. A Lindybomb is a dance for those who have a passion for swing.

    The UA Swing Cats club provides weekly lessons featuring Lindy hop swing, but also teaches basics for variations such as East Coast Swing, the Charleston and the Balboa. The classes are every Tuesday from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in Room Four of the Ina E. Gittings building.

    Swing Cats president and nursing senior Kristine Blackmore teaches the classes.

    Blackmore has taken Lindy hop classes for almost two of the seven years Swing Cats has been a campus organization.

    Because the lessons are open to the public, attendees come from all levels of swing dancing experience.

    “”Regardless of your experience as a dancer, everyone here is supportive of how much fun you can have while you dance,”” said Sara Button, a junior majoring in classics and creative writing, who has taken classes for about a year. “”Lindy is about connecting with people and having fun.””

    The first lesson is free; people wishing to become regular club members must pay a semester fee of $20 for any subsequent classes.

    After each lesson, a free two-hour dance is open to the public.

    In addition to the weekly dances, the Swing Cats hosts a monthly dance on the second Friday of every month at the First United Methodist Church, 915 E. Fourth St. Each dance lasts from 8-11 p.m. with an hour-long lesson starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 for students and $7 for non-students.

    Austin Scheidemantel, a club member for the last two years, believes there are many benefits to learning how to swing dance.

    “”For one, you get to meet incredible people, people you might not run into otherwise,”” said Scheidemantel, an electrical engineering junior. “”Also, (Lindy) takes skill to learn and a certain level of commitment, but knowing how to swing definitely helps with your confidence on the dance floor. You are also introduced to new kinds of music.””

    He added that moves learned could be integrated into more contemporary dance genres; in fact, a hip-hop variety of Lindy has emerged.

    Main Instructor: Blake Kish
    Assistant Instructors: Corrie Vandervlugt and Jake Schwarz
    Dances offered: Rumba, Cha-Cha, Swing, Tango, Waltz, Foxtrot, Samba and Salsa.

    Classes Available:
    Beginner: 9 p.m. Mondays
    Intermediate: 8 p.m. Mondays
    Practices (both intermediate and beginner): 8-9 p.m. Wednesdays
    Location: Ina E. Gittings Gym
    Cost: First lesson is free; $40 for entire semester

    For more information email
    uofaballroom@gmail.com
    “”(Lindy) is my favorite swing dance, because it is so partner involved,”” Blackmore said. “”It is very down to earth and fun. You’re always smiling while you’re dancing.””

    Another swing event, though not sponsored by the Swing Cats, is a monthly dance held at Armory Park del Sol. These dances feature a live band every fourth Saturday of the month and cost between $10 and $15 to enter.

    Each dance commences at 8 p.m. and ends at 11. The park also offers an hour-long lesson before each dance.

    The Swing Cats club will host the second-annual Tucson Lindybomb convention the weekend after finals end in May.

    Instructors and dancers will be flown from all around the country to participate in the three-day event, with a dance on Friday night and lessons and dances both Saturday and Sunday.

    Swing Cats members will receive a discounted fee. More information can be found through the Swing Cats Web site, www.tucsonswingcats.com.

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