Twirls, kicks, shuffles and swiveling hips filled the Morehouse Hall Ballroom on Saturday night. It was the first-ever September Swing Out, co-hosted by the Bulldog Swing Society and Greek Street Fellowship. Students and Des Moines residents alike attended.
The night began with lessons for the beginners, taught by professionals, Michael and Eve Brafford. Around 8:15 p.m., the Red Pants Jazz Orchestra, 11 Drake Jazz Ensemble I students, began to provide the evening’s music. The floor was then filled with couples, laughing and dancing the night away. The dancing led to such a build up of heat that the ballroom’s windows had to be cracked open.
Society President, junior Aly Browder, hopes the event was a launch pad for greater things to come.
“My vision is that hopefully someday Des Moines will be known as a city with a great dance scene, as say, Minneapolis and Omaha are,” Browder said.
Jennifer Clarke, a P3 student, started dancing on campus four years ago.
“It was great to see so many new faces to the swing scene here in Des Moines, and I hope the event had a lasting impression on everyone that attended,” Clarke said.
A wide variety of students attended the event, most hearing about it around campus. First-year graphic design and advertising student Hannah Erickson heard about it from her Peer Mentor/Academic Consultant (PMAC).
“I heard about it. I saw some advertisements around school, and then my Bible study was coming, so I just joined with them” said Mitch Olson, a first-year accounting major.
Matt Tough, a current member with previous dancing experience, observed the beginners’ growth and excitement.
“I loved seeing the room fill up with energy as people arrived. During lessons, it got to a dull roar and the
music started and the event just took off,” Tough said.
Students were not the only ones participating. The Des Moines Swing Cats, a local dance troupe, also performed, providing a little insight into what a few years of practice can do.
Coincidentally, the event took place after the Drake Student Affairs Committee denied the Bulldog Swing Society the ability to become a Drake organization. As of last Wednesday, the Swing Out was postponed until the details could be sorted out.
Greek Street Fellowship, however, came to the rescue. By volunteering to sponsor the event, it could still be held on campus.
“(The Bulldog Swing Society) right now isn’t a Drake affiliate. Right now, it is a Des Moines organization and we will soon be coming to campus when and if we are approved. . . ” Browder said.
An online petition has been created, and all students interested in the organization are encouraged to sign. The petition can be accessed through a link on the Bulldog Swing Society’s Facebook page.