The Florida Swing Dancing club will host an event Saturday that will introduce swing dancing to newcomers and give experienced dancers the opportunity to show off their skills.
Dancing Under the Stars will begin Saturday at 6 p.m. for beginners at Depot Park, which is located at 200 SE Depot Ave. The first hour will feature dance lessons for UF students and non-students for every skill level, whether they’ve never danced before or just need to brush-up on their skills.
The main event, social dancing, begins at 7 p.m. This portion will feature swing music from all eras, from “Illinois Goes to Chicago” by Jonathon Stout and his Campus 5 to “Dance With Me Tonight” by Olly Murs to “Goody Goody” by Naomi & Her Handsome Devils.
Miranda Wilson, a senior tourism, event and recreation management student who joined the Florida Swing Dancing Club at UF her sophomore year, is now the club’s events coordinator. When a fellow church member invited her to join the group, her competitive cheerleading background gave her the ability to catch onto the moves quickly. Since then, she has taken on the role of putting together events and raising money for the club.
“I came up with this idea because we didn’t have a fall event for the club, and we have a really big workshop in the spring where we bring in special dancers, but this year we’re short on our budget,” Wilson said. “I figured I’d bring back something we stopped doing a few years back, which was sort of a ‘Dancing With the Stars’ event. I hope that this event will help us bring those expert dancers to UF next semester.”
Wilson said she hopes the event will bring exposure to the club so that more students will join. She said the club has a fair mix of students , as well as older couples who are more familiar with swing dancing and bring their experience to the current generation.
“I’d love it if people dressed up,” Wilson said. “This is going to be a really fun event with a ton of lights, really good music, a photographer and, of course, refreshments.”
Membership to the club is free, and it offers three-tiered lessons on Mondays (beginner, intermediate and specialty, as swing dancing is an umbrella term for many types of dance). Fridays are reserved for social dancing at Thelma Boltin Center on Northeast Second Avenue.
Rachel Akram, a 21-year-old UF telecommunication junior, said she knows very little about swing dancing, but when she saw that a friend had RSVP’d to the event on Facebook, she felt she had to look into it.
“The fact that I’ve never tried swing dancing nor know anything about it attracted me to it the most,” Akram said. “I thought it was something that doesn’t happen in Gainesville, and that I should give it a try. I’m excited to learn a new skill that I can use at weddings and parties.”
When guests arrive to the Depot Park location, tickets for lessons will be $5. There is an additional $5 charge for social dancing, and this price is applicable to dancers who do not take the 6 p.m. lesson. Guests who bring an additional person can save $5 by paying $15 total for two lesson tickets and two social dancing tickets.