Swing Cats’ annual Fall Stomp brings ACU students and the community together for a night of dancing, live music and fun.
Students wanting to join a dance group on campus have a variety of options, but Swing Cats, the only swing dance group, offers a unique opportunity. Each fall, the group puts on Fall Stomp, where the group performs the dances they have been practicing. This year, Fall Stomp will be Oct. 6 at the historic Elks Ballroom in downtown Abilene and is free for the whole community.
Dr. Cole Bennett, associate professor in the Department of Language and Literature and director of the Writing Center, also serves as the Swing Cats faculty sponsor. He began swing dancing 18 years ago and said he has enjoyed seeing students discover the timeless dance style.
“I enjoy exposing students to a dance they’ve never seen,” Bennett said.
Bennett said Fall Stomp is unique when it comes to a dance performance because it features live music courtesy of the ACU Jazz Band.
“Nothing is better for swing dancers than a live band,” Bennett said. “There’s nothing else like it.”
Alyssa Johnson, senior English major from Wheeler, is president of Swing Cats and said Fall Stomp is more than just a show.
“It is not primarily a performance; rather, it is a dance where you are welcome to come, participate or just watch the dancers and enjoy the live music,” Johnson said.
She hopes members of the Abilene community will feel comfortable coming and joining in on the fun, especially because the event is free.
“If you’ve never danced before and are a bit hesitant, we can help to make you comfortable on the dance floor,” Johnson said.
Swing Cats has traveled to different universities for competitions, and Johnson wants to invite swing dance groups from those colleges to attend Fall Stomp.
“In the future, I’d like to see dance groups from other colleges, such as Baylor, whose formal dance we attended last spring, attend Fall Stomp and possibly do some friendly competitions,” Johnson said.
Fall Stomp is the culmination of a lot of hard work put in by the members of Swing Cats. Johnson said the group has formed friendships because of the time spent dancing and that she loves the people she has met through Swing Cats.
“Dance really fosters community like nothing else,” Johnson said. “Although I love dance for its own sake, I love the community it has brought me even more.”