Lawrence Swing Dance (LSD) hosted its first weekly social dance on Friday, Sept. 15 from 9-11 p.m. in Dance House. Friday night social dances are a running tradition of LSD where they teach an hour of beginner lessons followed by free dance.
The events are open to dancers of all skills. On Friday, there were a large number of freshmen trying out swing dance for the first time, alongside returning students continuing their commitment to the dance. There were around 25 people dancing at the beginning and more trickled in throughout the night.
Club president and senior Alex Lessenger and sophomore Kate Martenis gave the dance instruction. “We taught the basic Lindy step on Friday. This coming Friday we will be teaching the basic Lindy swing-out and Lindy-circle, which are fundamental components of Lindy,” said Lessenger. “Throughout the year we will be teaching Charleston, Blues and some solo Jazz as well.”
For those who aren’t aware, LSD occupies one of the houses on the quad, Dance House. It’s “a social dance club that focuses on learning a unique form of dance while creating a community. We choose to put our resources into hosting social dances in various forms. By doing so our club becomes open to dancers of all experience,” Lessenger said.
Some people hear about swing dancing and believe that it’s nothing but a throwback activity, living past its cultural peak. But swing dance is quite popular in many places. “There are large swing scenes in international metropolitan hubs, including London, Seoul, Beijing as well as many large American cities. Participation in these swing scenes has helped many of our club members find communities while studying abroad,” explained Lessenger.
In addition to helping make friends, swing dance has personal improvement potential. “Both leads and follows are able to improvise and respond to each other’s improvisations throughout the course of a social dance, and this leads to greater confidence on the part of the dancers” said Lessenger. “The confidence I’ve built moving my body has made me a better public speaker as well,” He added. And then, of course, it’s a fun way to get exercise while building skills and interacting with people.
LSD will be hosting a Halloween dance this term and “Dancing with the Profs” in Winter Term. At this LSD dance, professors will be taking the dance floor to the enjoyment of all. Also in winter term will be the annual Home from the War Charity Ball, which benefits Heifer International. It is a fancy, off-campus dance with a live band,” said Lessenger.
If you want to get involved with LSD, there are three regular events a week. As Lessenger explains them, “New Move Mondays are focused on the more creative aspects of swing dance, exploring many different ways of motion in the context of a swing dance.” These take place in Dance House from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Then the “Tuesday intermediate lessons are geared toward helping dancers improve technically.” These are 8-9 p.m. in Dance House. Finally, there are the Friday social dances from 8-11 p.m. with the beginner lesson until 9 and free dancing onwards.