Swing Dance takes Charity Ball back to the ’40s

Kristi Ruff

There was a great turnout at “The Castle” Saturday for Lawrence Swing Dancing’s annual Charity Ball. This year’s theme, “Home from the War,” had everyone decked out in ’40s-era attire. Girls wore their hair in victory rolls and guys dressed up in bowler hats and sleek suits.
Swing Club members and LU students shared the dance floor this year with members of various local Appleton swing groups. The variety of skill was obvious — from a basic East Coast swing with a friend to Lindy-hopping with a cute old guy in suspenders, the night was a complete success.
Regardless of ability or knowledge of dancing, everyone in attendance seemed to have a great time. Students especially got the chance to break out of the LU bubble and learn new steps by watching older dancers.
LSD members performed a choreographed dance at 8 p.m., after which dancers continued jiving to Fred Sturm’s jazz band. Almost everyone, it seemed, commented on how fantastic it was to get to dance to live music, and there was nothing but good comments for Fred Sturm and the performers.
The biggest success of the night? The club raised over $500 for this year’s charity, the United Service Organization. USO provides support to military families located in the states and overseas.
The night went off without a hitch — although the organizers seemed a tad overwhelmed by the surprising turnout — and everyone in attendance had a great time while raising money for a great cause.
I overheard an elderly dancer tell a young man dressed in a navy uniform, “You’re taking me back 60 years, kid.” While I’m sure this was not the focus of the night, the theme provided the perfect context for old and young dancers alike to mix, blending the past and present variations of swing together into one unified dance that all could enjoy.