Though I emerged from the sweaty sea of students at the Freshers’ Fayre without information for St Andrews Swing Dance society (SDSA), I still had an itch to attend a class. Unfortunately, I was soon caught up in schoolwork and the thought retreated to the back of my mind until Owl Eyes reignited the urge and I finally cleared my diary.
Being the A-type, everything-has-to-be-perfect person that I am, if I was going to Swing Dance, I was going to do it right. I joined the Facebook page for the SDSA to check times and researched swing dancing to make sure I went in the right clothes and knew what to expect.
The Facebook page was very helpful. The members seemed enthusiastic, constantly suggesting new events and opportunities to travel and dance with Swing Dance societies around the country; they also actively post about the plans for the next classes. I was a little worried about this, wondering if this enthusiasm and involvement would lead to a tight-knit club that I, starting at the end of November, wouldn’t be invited to join. Luckily, I was wrong.
Despite their claims that both singles and partners were welcome, I entered Holy Trinity Church Hall with boyfriend in tow, just in case. Fortunately, the club had just started a new dance, the West Coast Swing, so I was able to start from scratch with everyone else (though some had experience in other dances).
The instructor was another student and he managed to be enthusiastic and funny, as well as a very good teacher. The class was of about twenty people, small enough to feel like you are getting personal attention, but large enough not to be awkward. And there were only slightly more women than men, something that will amaze anyone who has ever taken any sort of dance class before. Everything was going well… and then I had to switch partners.
I was a little nervous to leave my boyfriend and clasp hands with a stranger, but as I went down the line from partner to partner as the lesson progressed, I realized that everyone was very nice and I had absolutely nothing to worry about. The class seemed to pick up the dance fairly quickly and within a fifty-minutes, we had the basics down. I really enjoyed it and my boyfriend was, and still is, hooked.
This is definitely the class for you if you want a relaxed, non-judgmental environment to just dance and have fun. Since there are two levels of classes, Beginner and Intermediate, you don’t have to worry if you’re a newbie like me; even coming in late in the semester, I didn’t feel like a fish out of water.
This class is also ideal if you’ve always wanted to try swing dancing but never had a partner handy. SDSA’s advertisement that no partner is needed is completely true; you won’t feel out of place at all if you fly solo. But that said there’s nothing wrong with taking a partner, as long as you’re willing to share. As long as you’re comfortable getting up close and personal with strangers. I definitely will be going back and I hope that you’ll join me!
The St Andrews Swing Dancing Society has weekly classes most Sundays at Holy Trinity Church Hall, just off Abbey Walk. Beginners classes are from 3-4pm. Membership is £5 for the year, and £2 for each class. For more information, visit their Facebook Page.