Tradition in Dancing

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Bela Lima and her dancer partner during Swing Club Wednesday evening. Photo by Annabelle Nicholas

If there’s one tradition that will never die, it most definitely is the art of dancing. Being the social and spiritual beings that we are, it’s not hard to see that this boot fits, and quite well too. Luckily for those looking to tap into this whirlpool of musically-oriented energy, the University of Dallas  has its very own Swing Club — “swing” as in swing dancing. 

The club has long been a staple of the university, albeit rather a rusty one in years past, but now it’s going full-swing — pun intended. 

“I really enjoy Swing Club,” said freshman Randall Edington, “It’s always a blast. Whenever I go it’s always lively. There’s always a bunch of people there.”

Each Wednesday night of the school year, the club meets in the Rathskeller at 8:30p.m. and dances the night away until 10:30p.m. A typical layout of the night consists of a half hour lesson to give guidance to anyone who needs it, followed by a fun-filled night of dancing and socializing.

Nico Walz, a Sophomore classics major and an officer of the club, said: “I think it’s just really informal and anyone can learn. You know at UD we’re always seeking more traditional things, and I’d say swing dancing you don’t really see too often. It’s definitely a more traditional American dance, and it’s old and so I think it connects people with a little bit of nostalgia I guess, but it’s also just really fun.”

Indeed, swing dancing is very traditional, with a very communal atmosphere to it. The music is fun-filled and energetic, perfectly describing the back-and-forth spinning and twirling on the dance floor. 

Swing dancing has a real ebb and flow to it that makes it truly beautiful and it has endless variations to it that make it truly unique. With multiple moves and upbeat tunes, accompanied by a cheerful sense of community, this dance is wonderful.

But aside from the aesthetic appeal and beauty of this wonderful tradition, there is something fundamental to it that keeps it going strong. It is a traditional dance from another era, a time where a dance was considered a communal and romantic event, a time where dancing meant community, fellowship, and good fun.

This is why swing dancing continues and why it is important. In a time where beauty is replaced with lewdness, romance with lust and music with dissonance, it’s not hard to see that the dance our present culture orients us towards is not beautiful or conducive to our spiritual flourishing and well-being. In short, it lacks beauty which is what we fundamentally seek. Since beauty can most often be reliably found in tradition, perhaps it is time to revisit the tried and true beauty of traditional ballroom dancing. Maybe it will surprise you. 

But enough soap-boxing. Go to Swing Club, meet new people, enjoy the community, and get out there and dance. 

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