Club provides ?swinging? time for students

By By Katie Valentine

By Katie Valentine

Every Thursday night, a free activity on campus gets students swinging across the dance floor.

The U Swing Club brings students and their friends to the Naval Science building, where it has met ever since its inception in 1997. Swing dance instructions start at 8 p.m., and the dancing goes from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. They teach and dance the lindy hop and East Coast swing.

The club acts a stress reliever, said Alex Moore, a junior in electrical engineering. He said he joined the group with friends with whom he took a swing class in high school.
Moore said he is a dedicated participant. The last time he missed a dance was three months ago when he was on vacation, he said.

Jacob Muehle, the president and a junior in mechanical engineering, said he makes it a priority to get Thursdays off of work.

The swing club doesn’t take vacations during the summer. Instead, the dances are moved to the plaza outside of the Naval Science building, which lets the club rent out its gym for free.

Elisabeth Jessop, a junior in international studies and political science, said she first learned about the swing club this year.

“It’s just a good time,” Jessop said. “Very carefree.”

The club is laid-back, not only in tone, but also on the leadership side. Muehle approached Doug Johnson, previous president of the club, and asked if he could be president. Johnson said yes, and that was that.

“It’s a blast,” Muehle said about being president.

As president, Muehle teaches the art of swing, brings the sound system to and from the building and approaches the Associated Students of the University of Utah about funding for marketing. Muehle hasn’t approached ASUU this semester, but he said he plans to in the spring.

There are anywhere from 15 to 60 people who come, depending on the week, Muehle said.

Students don’t have to bring a date with them to participate. Jessop said she has come with a few dates, just herself or a group of people to participate.

The club isn’t limited to U students8212;half of the people who come are from the community, Muehle said.

Anyone who wants to join the club can show up whenever they want Thursdays and become a member.

Swing dancing originated in the 1920s, but it took off in the 1940s. There are about 15 different forms of swing dancing. Some of the earliest swing forms are the jitterbug and lindy hop. Country western, ragtime and R&B blues music are just a few of the different types of music swing can be danced to.

Moore said his favorite type of swing is blues dance.

As part of today’s Veterans Day celebrations in the Union Ballroom, the swing club plans on performing its moves to the tunes of the visiting band.

Members of the swing club have other opportunities in Salt Lake City besides Thursday night to show off their moves. Tuesday nights, the club Piper Down hosts “Salt Lake City Swing Nights” and the Murray Arts Center has West Coast swing lessons Friday nights.

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