By: Rosemary Hofstede
Swing dancing is a time-honoured tradition of vigorously exercising with a group of friends to music. I was introduced to it by my sister and her boyfriend, who were going to Sugar Swing (the swing dancing club in Edmonton), along with a large group of college friends. One of the main reasons most people who find swing dancing keep coming back is the community.
The whole idea is to have fun. Once you master the basic jitterbug step (a fairly easy task if you have any sense of rhythm) the sky is the limit.
The atmosphere of the swing dance community is very open and friendly. If you want to dance, find a partner. If you want to watch other people pull off awesome moves, that’s great! Then when they’re done, ask them to teach you. One of the best things about swing dance groups is that it’s very easy to match yourself to your partner’s experience level.
Now, if you’ve never danced before, there’s a few ways to get into it. The best one is to go to Sugar Swing on a Friday or Saturday night, take in a lesson, and get right into it. If you haven’t quite enough time to squeeze that in, there are a few channels on YouTube that demonstrate beginner and intermediate moves. However, one of the swing instructors I recently spoke to reminded me, “it’s very easy to get into bad habits if you don’t have a live teacher”. One of the best channels is Uptown Swing out, a group based in Minneapolis. But whether you learn from an instructor, through a video, or by googling ‘swing dancing’ and going with the first tutorial you see, it’s the most fun you can have on a Friday night.
Photo Courtesy of Sugar Swing