Of all on-campus groups and clubs, few are as visible and available as Lawrence Swing Dance, a group of students unfailingly dedicated to educating Lawrentians about swing dancing and teaching them how to dance.
Lawrence Swing Dance has been an official on-campus club since 2001, and its lessons places emphasis on teaching both the East Coast and Lindy Hop styles of swing. Weekly dance lessons are held in the Esch/Hurvis room from 9 to 11 p.m. every Friday night, and are normally taught by students — so those who wish to participate shouldn’t worry about having to perform in front of an instructor.
In fact, any knowledge of swing dance at all isn’t necessary to attend! However, according to senior Sam Estrem, who has been a consistently active member in LSD, “Because swing dancing is a social dance, the more people that participate, the better the dancing.”
For those who become more serious about swing dancing, Lawrence Swing Dance has the option of travelling to dance competitions, such as Hawkeye, or the Midwest Lindy Exchange. Competition is optional, and all students who travel with the club can participate in lessons at these competitions, along with a social dance following the competition.
Perhaps the most well known event that has made Lawrence Swing Dance such a visible group on campus is its annual Dancing with the Profs fundraiser. LSD members make sure to publicize this event well by creating a memorable Warch Campus Center dinner, bringing their dancing skills to the public.
You’ve really got to give them all credit; dancing in the middle of the cafeteria, especially during the most high-traffic time of day, is extremely brave, and requires social nerves of steel. Additionally, dancing for four hours can get exhausting!
However, LSD’s high-risk, entertaining dance display always seems to reap a high reward, as Dancing with the Profs grows more popular every year. Another popular event is the Charity Ball, which is open to all Lawrence students as well as the Appleton community. On top of this, LSD brings in live bands and guest teachers to their weekly Friday meetings, so each week can sometimes feel like a special event.
In addition to hosting weekly dances and several on campus events a year, LSD also has an established formal group house, which became official for the first time in 2006. Since then, all those on campus interested in living in an environment where dancing, community and camaraderie are all encouraged on a daily basis have an excellent living option in the Lawrence Swing House. Those who walk past the quad on any given evening may be able to hear the catchy rhythms of swing music and see those who live in the house practicing their moves.
LSD aims to provide a fun, low stress environment for students who would like to socialize in a way that is a world apart from the typical college party atmosphere. All students, even those who feel they have two left feet, should go and give swing dancing a chance and support this one-of-a-kind campus group.