I know that a lot of pledging and social club mayhem is commencing on campus, and as an officer of Swing Cats, I can’t help but compare my swing dancing community to the social club circles. As an active member of the ACU Swing Cats and as an observer of social clubs, I think swing dance communities like the Swing Cats can provide a few perks that social clubs cannot.
Firstly, it’s cheap. The first lesson is free, and after that it’s only $1 per lesson. In addition, it is a pay-as-you-go system, so you don’t have to make gigantic financial commitments at the start.
Speaking of commitments, Swing Cats won’t harass you for skipping lessons. Our lessons are low-key, non-obligatory opportunities to dance. They meet Tuesdays at 9 p.m. in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, and you don’t have to force it into your schedule, unlike many social club activities that can be overwhelming.
Dancing means movement, and movement means exercise. Every week, I’ve enjoyed breaking a sweat to some great music. I feel less guilty grabbing ice cream at the Bean now.
In addition to exercise, studies have consistently shown that dancing keeps your brain healthy. Swing dancing is social dancing, meaning that there is no set choreography, which means that dancers practice thinking on their feet, improvising and getting creative with their moves with split-second decisions.
We welcome all genders too. Male and female, we dance with them. With this in mind, we strongly discourage disrespectful and creepy habits as well as encourage respect and trust between dancers to cultivate healthy dancers.
The biggest upper hand that swing dancing has over social clubs is that the community goes beyond the university. This last weekend, I’ve had the chance to go to Dallas with friends for swing dance workshops and dance halls. Even though I’m learning most of my fundamental moves in Abilene, it didn’t stop me from dancing with people from all over the country who learned the same steps I did. I was able to make friendships beyond what the local university could offer thanks to a common passion to dance.
I’ve been enjoying Swing Cats ever since freshman year, and I can’t imagine my life without the benefits it has brought me. I say you should try coming out to Swing Cats sometime and experience these perks firsthand.