Swing out!

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It’s 8:00am.  The only time I get up early is for flights, job interviews, and swing dance events.  I’m tired but very excited to start the day. We’re headed to NYU for their annual Intercollegiate event called NISE which is consistently awesome. NISE stands for New York Intercollegiate Swing Exchange which is basically an event that caters to Swing Dancers working towards completing their Undergraduate Careers. It pretty much goes without saying these events are perfect for us because lessons and admission are always really inexpensive.

This year is particularly special because I’ve decided to compete with a friend of mine. I’ve been dancing for three years and this is only my second time competing because I don’t really care about “winning.” For me, having fun and feeling good are a personal win everyone should strive for. But, I want to put Rutgers’ name out there. So here we go!

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Third lesson in and we just ate bagels. Now we’re really getting into it.

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I have no idea what this move is called. It looks like you’re shoveling snow so sometimes we, maybe just I, call it “that snow shoveling move.”  I think it might be called “digs.” Or maybe “hallelujahs.” Who knows. That’s the beauty of Swing Dancing. You don’t have to spend hours remembering patterns or learning the names of moves. Once you master the basics you can put your unique twist on pre-existing moves or make up entirely new ones that no one will remember the names of.

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Swing Dancers passing out after their lessons.  Swing events are known for having designated nap corners or people unabashedly sprawled out on the floor on top of makeshift pillows. Public Transit and Swing events are the only places I know of where sleeping is not to be judged.

Dance hard. Sleep hard.

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Refueling at a Ramen Takumi. After 4 bowls of ramen, 3 appetizers, and 12 glasses of water between the four of us, we are finally ready to dance.

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A follow gets spiffy before the main event. I’m not sure about the men’s bathroom but this is a glimpse of what the women’s bathroom looks like at every event I’ve ever been to. There are always women changing, steadily lining their eyes, or securing their vintage inspired hairdos with a handful of bobby pins. From time to time there are rare sightings of people exiting the bathroom stall.

Follow (n): A dance role traditionally* given to women.

*Times are a-changing

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Took this selfie…groupie…to commemorate our friendship before we started dancing. And sweating. And in my case, wheezing after competing in two competitions.

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This isn’t your grandma’s ballroom dancing.

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End of the night Groupie says, “Wow, this is the best event ever look at us being cool* and having fun! I’m so glad I spent the day with you guys.”

Reality says: Wow this was the best event ever! I’m so glad I spent the day with you guys but I want to go home, now.

*nerds

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4 medals two bodies, Rutgers takes second place in total medals at NISE after Amanda almost faints from physical exertion. Well not quite, but that’s what it felt like.  The two of us competed in 6 rounds total. Each round has three songs in it so that’s 18 songs of  competing. 18 songs of trying to impress the judges as much as you can without keeling over from exhaustion.  I’m not sure I’ll ever enter more than one competition again.

P.S. Ignore my partner’s creep face. He’s awesome.

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How Swing Dancers get ready for bed 101. I’m finally home! I peel off my sweaty clothes and leave them in a pile I’ll deal with tomorrow. Laying down has never felt better.

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One comment

  1. As one who knows little to nothing about dance, I really find your post interesting. What I find most interesting about it is the fact that swing dance is still so relevant in modern society; I had no idea until I read this post. All eras of American history seem to have their own unique character, therefore they deserved to be embraced today. What worries me, however, is that when I think of this current era, no source of character comes to mind. What will we be remembered by? At this rate, will future generations even care enough about exploring and embracing the past? If they do, will we even be remembered at all?

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