GVSU Swing Dance Club to host 1920s holiday dance

By Jessica Harsevoort | 11/29/17 10:23pm

Spooky Swing Dance (11 of 14)
GVL / Dylan McIntyre. On Thursday, October 26th, the swing dance club hosted their "Spooky Swing" dance. The swing dance club Eboard members dressed in their Halloween attire for the "Spooky Swing" dance.

Grand Valley State University’s Swing Dance Club invites everyone to put on their dancing shoes for their 1920s Holiday Dance on Thursday, Dec. 7, in Room 2204 of the Kirkhof Center.

The dance event will start at 9 p.m. and will come to a close around 11 p.m. Swing Dance Club’s executive board members are expecting more than 50 people to come to this free party, as this will be the club’s last meeting of the semester.

During the semester, the GVSU Swing Dance Club meets every Thursday at 9 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center.

As the dance event is a holiday celebration, people who attend will be invited to dress up. Attendees can wear 1920s garb, such as flapper dresses, or they can wear other fancy attire.

Aside from this dress code, there will be no other requirements for this event. Attendees are not obligated to participate in any of the activities or dances, although they will certainly be encouraged to do so.

Music will be playing throughout the night to promote open dancing. Here, dancers will be able to demonstrate the four main styles the Swing Dance Club focuses on: East Coast swing, West Coast swing, Lindy Hop and the Charleston.

“We encourage both socializing with your peers to create friendships, as well as learning (to) dance and strengthening your skills,” said Jessica Long, president of the club.

There will also be socializing over food and drinks, including hot chocolate, brownies and more. In addition, there will be a photo station with 1920s paraphernalia for people to commemorate their experience.

This will be the first time club members are implementing a theme for their annual holiday dance. The idea for this year will center around the 1920s since many of the dances and songs chosen for the party originate from this decade.

“Swing dance is most prevalent in that time period; that’s where it really started booming,” Long said. “So, we thought it would be fun to make the atmosphere fit the style of dance.”

Caity Van Essendelft, the club’s event planner, said she envisions black and gold decorations with pearls and feathers to match the 1920s theme. Van Essendelft will also try to install a temporary dance floor in the Pere Marquette Room on the night of the event.

For many club members, this holiday party will be the culmination of their swing dancing experience this year. 

“The people who have been working really hard to learn the styles will have the chance to dance with people they haven’t danced with before and show off what they have learned this whole semester,” Van Essendelft said. 

However, even those who do not know how to swing dance are invited to come and move to the music. Long said the atmosphere will be open and upbeat since the club’s members are known to be quite welcoming. Plus, to make this event accessible to everyone, there will be line dancing toward the middle of the evening with popular songs. 

Unlike Swing Dance Club’s weekly meetings, this party will not feature a dance lesson before the open dance. However, the e-board members of the club will be open to answer a few questions or teach a few dance moves during the party.

“This is a really interesting club in the fact that you don’t really need prior experience,” Long said. “A lot of people have this idea that they can’t dance or they’re not a good dancer. Swing dancing does take practice, but it’s very open for all people to join in.”

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