University is a great way to try new things and discover your passion for something previously unknown; whether it is an academic topic, a sport, or a society.
At the end of my first year, I went to the University of York Swing Dance Society’s first ever lesson, simply because it was free! Since then, I have become hooked on Swing Dance, or Lindy Hop, and all that it offers.
- The music is fantastic. I love old-style jazz and swing music so from that perspective, it is perfect.
- There is a great social element. The whole aim behind swing dancing is learning how to lead and follow moves within a partnership so you can then social dance. Being able to do this means you can walk up to any person in the room and ask them for a dance! It makes it so easy to meet new people. We also rotate partners during lessons, so you get to meet everyone in the room; it’s a bit like speed-friending!
- There are other swing dance societies in other cities and at other universities, who frequently hold weekend dance camps and events (like Jorvik Swing which I mentioned in my first post). Dancing is a great reason to get out and visit other places with your friends, be it nationally or internationally. And of course, you make a ton of friends when you get there too!
- It is good for you! Swing dance is very energetic and is a great form of exercise.
- It’s a crazy amount of fun.
Last weekend, I travelled up to Scotland for Edinburgh University Swing Dance Society’s weekend event, ‘University of Swing’.
The weekend consisted of four workshops, as well as a hour-long taster in something new. The workshops were taught by a range of teachers, some coming from Leeds, some from London and some from Stockholm!
It was also fantastic to see friends I’ve made at previous events, and to have a dance and a catch up.
As well as taking part in these classes, I also entered my first ever competitions! The first competition I did is called a Jack and Jill (JnJ). Couples are randomly paired, and are often switched around between rounds, so it really tests how well you’re able to lead and follow moves! I managed to reach the final in this category which I was insanely pleased with.
The other category I entered was the Strictly Lindy. In this category, you sign up with a partner and dance with them for the whole competition. For this category, I signed up with my friend George who is part of the society at Nottingham University.
Click here to see a video of us dancing in the preliminary rounds (I’m representing York in my blue society t-shirt). Amazingly, we made it to the final and placed third overall which is phenomenal for my first ever competition!
I came away from the weekend feeling tired and inspired, and proud of what I’d achieved.
This weekend, York are running their very own weekend event called ‘Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Hop’, named after the shortest street in York with the longest name. It’s the first event like this that we’ve ever run, so there are a lot of nerves flying round in preparation for the weekend. But, I’m also very excited to see old friends and have a dance, and I think the event will go swimmingly.