Swing music makes a comeback

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Two partners move to the music at Mu Phi Epsilon's Swing Dance.

Francis Smith


As the crowd walked into Peters Gymnasium on Nov. 4 at 8 p.m., they soon forgot that they were at Radford University. The setting easily went back to the 1940s and 50s of a swing-dancing era. The professional music fraternity, Mu Phi Epsilon, along with a partnership with RU After Dark, hosted their second annual swing dance from 8 p.m.- midnight. The first hour, from 8-9 p.m., offered a swing dance lesson from two Virginia Tech students, Mike Cantrell and Hannah Campbell. The later part of the evening was time for everyone to get on the dance floor and show off what they had just learned.

The first hour seemed a bit awkward, due to the fact that some had never swing danced. Despite this, the dance turned out to be entertaining for all those who attended. Everyone and their partners had a blast feeling their own rhythm to the music, and enjoyed learning new moves as well.

“I enjoyed last years and feel this year’s was better,” said sophomore Chelsea Sponaugle. “It also helped that I knew what I was doing. I love being twirled around the dance floor and the swing dance was no exception.”

After 9 p.m., the real fun started. The music  started out a bit slow, yet people enjoyed an easy pace before the music sped up. The first dance started with a new partner for some, and although some attendees felt that their skills weren’t fully up to the swing dancer potential, they were helped the whole way through.

After the second song, though, everyone dancing warmed up to the moves. The dances were made up of a basic three-step movement. More and more people got into the music, as the women channeled their inner swing dance flapper girl.

“It’s always a good time getting together with your friends and playing music,” said senior Mario Ruiz, the trombonist for the Swing Dance’s live band. “Just being in an atmosphere where everyone is having a good time.”

Later, as the night went on, the live band performing for the dance played some jazzy music, which helped increase the classic feel of the event. Old-fashioned street lamps donated from organizations in the New River Valley complimented the atmosphere. Overall, the decorations added to the true effect of the night, creating a uniquely authentic atmosphere.

Overall, it was an amazing event for all who attended, and a great way to spend a relaxing Friday night. The Swing Dance saw an impressive turnout, and Mu Phi Epsilon hopes to bring back such a night to Peters Hall next year.