Feeling that good ole Swing Beat!

By Casey Toner

The Residence Hall Association is teaching students how to jump, jive and/or wail.

Swing dance lessons are led by RHA Treasurer Julie Heniff and RHA Secretary Jon Dolieslager.

Heniff and Dolieslager encourage all to participate in the dancing lessons. Heniff promises to start each session with the basic steps of the six-beat, which basically is a slower tempo swing-dancing style.

-As participants get more involved in the lessons, the dance moves become more complex. One more complicated move is called the spin-off.

“A spin-off is when you spin someone in close and spin them out again,” Dolieslager said.

Heniff can swing a variety of acrobatic moves, and she has been swinging since high school.

“[Dolieslager] throws me on the floor; I swing around him and he picks me up,” Heniff said about their moves.

Undeclared major Andy Sears said he thinks the hardest parts of swing dancing are the hand positions.

“It took me an entire day to get them down pat,” Sears said. “Once you get it down, you’ll fall in love and you’ll keep on going.”

The thrill of dancing and getting spun around is often a draw for swing dancers.

“It keeps me energized and pumped,” sophomore biology major Erika Slider said. “You’re just flung around the entire room. It’s almost a workout.”

It may be a workout, but Slider insists there is serious technique to what some might consider frantic madness.

“You have to be pinpoint-precise in how you do it,” Slider said. “If you’re not precise, it looks sloppy.”

Dolieslager has been practicing for three years at school and in a strange location — on top of a post office in Cherry Valley.

Participants dance to music from older performers like the Glenn Miller Orchestra. They also dance to newer artists like the Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.

Slider estimates about 15 to 20 people show up for swing dancing per session, and there is a two-to-one female-to-male ratio.

Recently, the swing dancers put on a show for a conference of residence halls from around the state. They called the program “Swingers.”

They placed in the top 10 RHA-sponsored programs in the state.

“If you’re interested in the dancing, try it. Even if you have no rhythm or beat, it isn’t hard to learn,” Heniff said.

Swing dancing lessons are free to whomever shows up and will be held at Grant North’s conference room.