Under the Knife: Swing Dance Club shakes the stress away

The Swing Dance Club is a student-run group on campus that serves as a fun way to de-stress and learn to dance without any pressure.

Many members join the group without any dance or swing experience, which is warmly welcomed. The club asks for $5 per semester from each member, which goes a long way in helping to discount club T-shirts and host a variety of events, such as swing dance movie nights, pasta dinners and other semester gatherings. In the past they have viewed Swing Kids and Havana Nights as well as other swing dance themed films.

Co-Presidents junior Minerva Campbell and senior Laura Kraft said they are excited for their upcoming ice cream social, held every spring. In the fall, the club hosts a night of swing dancing in the College Union Ballroom, of which they display equal enthusiasm. All of these social activities help them become what Kraft refers to as a "little family."

"Swing Dance club is primarily a teaching club," said junior Kate Cragg, vice president of the club. "We exist to teach anyone who wants to know the moves - no experience or dancing partner necessary. We aren't a performing group."

The no-performance factor caters very much to the club's atmosphere. Because they are not preparing for a specific event in the future, they are relaxed and under no pressure to memorize dance moves.

Typically, the club begins a semester with 30 to 40 members, which eventually drops down to about 10 to 15 dedicated dancers. As is the norm on the Geneseo campus, there are more girls than boys, which works out just fine.

"Swing dancing is a social activity," Cragg said. "The goal is to learn the moves so that you can dance with everyone."

Co-presidents and other e-board members currently lead the group. According to Campbell, there is no pecking order when it comes to who teaches; anyone who wants to can learn the moves and explain them to the group. "No one's going to yell at you if you mess up," said Cragg, noting that the club works primarily to foster an interest in the dance and have fun.

Campbell avidly works to dispel the intimidation she senses from many when asked to dance. "Swing dancing is easy! I always tell people, if you can walk in a straight line, you can swing dance," she said.

The club meets Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Schrader Dance Studio and is always open to new members. For more information, contact the group at swing@geneseo.edu.