Swing Knights offers dancing classes, parties for students
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 16, 2012 15:09
Feet are kicked high in the air as hips swivel from side to side. In a flurry of arms and legs, a dance emerges, old-fashioned, yet quick-paced. This is Swing Knights, the UCF swing dance club. Swing Knights is a club made for the community, including both student and nonstudent swing dancers. The club hosts lessons and dances weekly throughout the entire year. Swing Knights began about 10 years ago and today has about 90 registered members. They are taught by instructors Joel Green and Lenka Green, and sometimes guest instructor Tiffany Hickman.
“[Swing Knights] is an outlet for people that love swing dancing in Orlando. It is probably the largest swing club in the area because we have both college members and members from the community,” Swing Knights treasurer and business management senior Jason Gosch said. “It’s kind of a gateway for swing dancers.”
Students interested in joining do not need previous experience in swing dancing or even any type of dancing at all. Many people joined without experience and can now call themselves swing dancers. Although, from the outside, the quick twists and turns can seem nearly impossible, instructions are broken up move by move so anyone can learn.
The club doesn’t just get members dancing, it also creates an array of connections. Members have noted just how close they get to the fellow dancers. The club often travels to swing dancing exchanges all across the nation to learn swing dancing from different instructors, some from foreign countries.
“For exchanges, you go to a city with a lot of people from around the world. You get to see how they are and how they dance. I’ve met people from all over the United States and England,” Swing Knights public relations officer and senior history major John Poulard said. “[Swing Knights] expands one’s personal sphere and it’s a great way to get one-on-one experience.”
Swing Knights not only creates friendships and connections, it has also connected two members in a different way. Gosch met his fiancee, Dana Mooney, at a Swing Knights event.
“I met [Mooney] at a Swing Knights dance house party and we dated soon after. I proposed to her at a swing exchange dance in front of 350 people,” Gosch said. “That’s probably my favorite experience at Swing Knights.”
While the club is fun, it is also a source of exercise. The entire body, from head to toe, is involved in swing dancing. Dancers can be seen sweating near the end of a dance from the activity. It’s hard to tell the body is actually working out, disguised by entertaining dance moves. Swing dancing also requires a lot of thinking and thought processing. Members have to connect what the instructor is showing them to their own body, and imitate those movements, all while storing it into their memory.
“Swing dancing helped me to talk to my body because sometimes what is said doesn’t happen. It bridges the gap between the mind and the body. It helps people gain the confidence to tell the body what to do,” Swing Knights member and UCF alumnus Adam Lydon said.
Swing Knights meets in the Student Union in room 316 on Mondays for lessons and in the Ferrell Commons auditorium on Fridays for dance parties, unless otherwise noted. Interested students can attend the first lesson free, but membership costs $25 per student per semester, which includes free lessons and attendance to five free dances. Visit www.SwingKnights.org or the Swing Knights Facebook page for up-to-date information.
“It is a lot of fun. It’s a different thing to do than the normal run-of-the-mill activities,” Swing Knights member and chemistry major Krysten Villalon said.