The Haps: Jump, jive and then you wail

| Scene Reporter

Some nights you just gotta dance. You feel a good beat, your foot starts to tap, and you gotta move to the dance floor. On Saturday, Nov. 21, the Washington University Swing Dance Club is bringing in a band to give you those impulsive dancing feelings.

The dance will be in the Tisch Commons in the Danforth University Center from 8-11 p.m. with swing lessons for beginners at 7 p.m. The event is free to anyone with a Washington University ID and $5 for everyone else. The Swing Dance Club’s events normally draw a decent crowd from both the University and the greater St. Louis swing dance community. But for this event, the club hopes to attract even more people because of the live band.

All previous Washington University Swing Dances have employed iPods and CD players, not live musicians. This event, however, will feature The Grand Marquis, a band imported from Kansas City for its unique sound. Many St. Louis swing bands might play great songs to dance to, but they do not play the most authentic versions of swing and jazz. The Grand Marquis feature a wider variety of instruments more heavily featured in jazz and jump swing such as saxophone, trumpet and clarinet. Because of the band’s special musical style, listeners are encouraged to come and enjoy the music as well.

For those interested in actually dancing, know that there will be a wide variety of dancers who attend, including highly advanced swing dancers. But this is no cause for concern, as most of the dancers are more than willing to dance with and teach those who are just starting out. If you fumble around with the steps, they’ll certainly help you out.

“Everyone was a first-time dancer at some point,” says junior Christian Frommelt, Swing Dance Club president. So no one should feel nervous or intimidated about learning a new style of dance.

For those who really enjoy dancing swing, the Swing Dance Club meets every Wednesday from 8-10 p.m. This is a great chance to practice and learn new steps. The club also offers lessons—a new round will be starting next semester.

So if you’re a cool cat with some hip moves or you just want something new to try out this week, stop by the dance and listen to some good jazz and jump blues. It’ll have you tapping like you’ve never tapped before.

  • Evan

    The Grand Marquis are a great band and should be seen, but are they “more authentic” than other St. Louis bands? No, that is a bit silly – the very nature of jazz and swing incorporates the fact that everyone plays everyone else’s tunes and may or may not do the songs a bit differently from the original. Often the most popular version of a swing tune is not the original. “Authentic” does not imply better. Let’s just enjoy good music without being snobby.