GVSU Swing Dance club to hold Valentine's Day dance

By Kate Branum | 2/11/16 12:04am

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GVL / Luke Holmes The Swing Dance Club met Dec. 3 for their second to last meeting before Christmas break.

by Luke Holmes / Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Grand Valley State University Swing Dance club invites students to join the club at their upcoming Sweetheart Swing dance, which will be held on Feb. 11 at 9 p.m. in the Pere Marquette Room of the Kirkhof Center.

Students are encouraged to wear formal attire, but it is not required to attend. The event is more laid-back, as prior swing dance experience is not needed.

Luke Holmes

GVL / Luke Holmes The Swing Dance Club met Dec. 3 for their second to last meeting before Christmas break.

The Valentine’s Day theme encourages students to bring their significant others, but a partner is not required as plenty of others will be available to pair with. Swing Dance club e-board members will not perform, but will be readily available to answer questions or demonstrate any moves.

Every year, an annual dance is held in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, ever since the club's inception eight years ago. The biggest motivation behind the Sweetheart Swing is upholding tradition.

This year, more than 100 people are expected, some of which are members of the club or new learners of swing dancing.

“Sweetheart Swing is actually one of our biggest dances that we have,” said Taylor Greene, president of the club. “We play a lot of cheesy, old, lovey-dovey music and people love it.”

Alex Candela, the club’s event planner, put in hours of time and effort to make this event an unforgettable one. After reserving the room and constructing the decorations, Candela and the rest of the executive board are ready to finish the final touches.

“I really look forward to hear everyone’s reactions to the decorations, since that’s where I put most of my effort in,” Candela said. “It makes all the time I spend worth it. I also look forward to seeing all the members dressed up, since it’s a formal dance.”

Greene said the club hosts these dances with the hope that it will bring in new students to the meetings.

“We find that people do come strictly for the ‘party scene,’ and so we are able to meet with them and teach them a little bit while they’re at the dance,” Greene said. “Hopefully, that sparks their interest and they’ll want to come to normal meetings.”

Dances such as the Sweetheart Swing, offer club members the perfect opportunity to show off what they have learned at regular meetings. It also gives newcomers a taste of what swing dancing is all about.

The club focuses on three main types of swing dancing: East Coast, the Charleston and the Lindy Hop.

Each week, executive board members teach a new lesson, while at the end of each meeting the open dance allows everyone to practice their new moves. Anyone can join the club as it is free to all participants.

Several events are coming up after the Sweetheart Swing. One event will feature a 20s and 30s-themed dance, which will be held at the end of March.

“This year, we thought we’d stick to our roots and make it really cool,” Greene said. “We’re hoping for a lot of fedoras and flapper dresses. We want to really take where we’re from and bring it out in this event.

“It’ll be similar to Sweetheart Swing, where there’s no big performance and there’s free food and dancing.”

At the end of April, the club will host a showcase event to allow year-round club members to perform original choreography to the song of their choosing.

Like the other events hosted by the Swing Dance club, there is no cost to attend the Sweetheart Swing. Light food and drinks, such as fruit, baked-goods and sparkling water will be provided.

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