From basic steps to aerial techniques, swing dancing has been swinging the nation and the world since the 1920s. Originating in black cultures, swing is a compilation of dances including Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Blues, Charleston, Balboa, Shag, and more, according to syrswingdance.org. These dances developed in tandem with the style of jazz music from the 1920s to present.
Swing is a popular recreational activity and growing trend among students at USF as well as members of the Tampa Bay community. In fact, USF has its very own Swinging Bulls official dance club.
Every Monday night from 7-10 p.m. in the Argos Fitness Center, the Swinging Bulls offer free lessons to both beginner and advanced swing dancers at USF. Not only are the lessons free, the dance that follows is free as well. Each Monday, the club is divided into beginning and advanced dancers. Beginners are taught basic swing steps and turns and experienced dancers learn the variations.
Patrick Foley, senior chemical engineering major and president of the Swinging Bulls, said his goal as a teacher is to “create a nice, comfortable place to learn while helping people to become confident in the dancing techniques”.
“The swing atmosphere is a good, non-threatening atmosphere,” Swinging Bulls vice president Cindy Lyons said. “Everyone is down-to-earth and just ready to learn and have a good time.”
“The Swinging Bulls had many helpful instructors who made you feel comfortable and encouraged you to learn,” said Danielle Superior, a freshman and first-time attendee.
The Swinging Bulls don’t limit themselves to swing and also offer tips in Latin dances such as Salsa and Tango. On March 29 in the Marshall Center Ballroom, the Swinging Bulls Club and the Salsa and Latin Dance Club will sponsor a Spring Swalsa Dance.
A “Swalsa” is a dance event that incorporates both swing and salsa. To find more information about upcoming events, see the Swinging Bulls Web site at ctr.usf.edu/uswing.
Swing dancing is seen as a “universal language” to many dancers at USF. One could dance with someone from another country who speaks a completely different language and still remain completely in sync with swing dancing techniques. That is one reason attributed to the increasing number of Swing clubs in the Tampa Bay area.
The Zendah Grotto gives lessons followed by a dance every Sunday night for all ages, according to swingang.com. Club Vincente of Ybor offers an upscale dancing experience for the meager price of $5. Located right off campus on 56th street is the Rhapsody Ballroom, according to simonesalsa.com, which plays a variety of music and offers many types of dances.
Having a ball isn’t the only benefit of dancing. According to thrivingnow.com, dancing does wonders for your cardiovascular health.
Swing Dancing is an affordable and unique way to stay healthy, meet new people and gain a hobby. “Once you begin to swing, it becomes an inevitable part of your social life,” Lyons said. “You make life-long friends with unbelievable connections.”
Dancing can: • Increase range of motion and flexibility. • Lubricate connective tissue and joints to help you maintain better health. • Stretch and strengthen muscles. You move in a variety of ways when you dance, so many muscle groups get worked. • Improve circulation throughout the body and brain. • Work the heart and lungs, thereby improving cardiovascular health. • Burn calories, making for a fun way to manage weight.