Getting into the swing of things

Malena Heineman, Staff Writer

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Lively jazz music floats up from the dance room during lunch. A peek inside would reveal a crowd of students swing dancing enthusiastically.

Swing Dancing Club is the newest addition to LASA’s extensive club list. It was started by juniors Winn Philpott, Drue Gillentine and Micah Heilbron after they found out math teacher Nathan Wong has a background in dance. Although there have only been three official meetings so far, the club has big ambitions.

“Once we get a stronger base of people who come here every other week to show up and learn stuff, then there are some local swing dancing competitions and stuff that teams can compete in,” Philpott said. “Hopefully, by the end of next year, we’ll be able to register for those competitions.”

Sophomore Elyse Hall said the club meetings are fast-moving but fun. They usually begin with a warm-up. Then members try and follow Wong as he demonstrates a move, and then stitch several moves together into a dance.

“Mr. Wong is a really good teacher and he makes it really clear what we are doing and he makes it really fun,” Hall said. “I see myself making progress quickly.”

The club provides a way for students to relax and destress during the school day. Hall said she enjoys interacting with new people who share her interests and making new friends.

“It’s kind of like a break in my day,” Hall said. “It’s really relaxing because you get to let loose and have a lot of fun and not really think about all the things that you’re stressed about.”

According to Philpott, the club also gives people the opportunity to come together over a shared common interest and passion for dance. Although the club began with many of her friends as members, it has expanded into a bigger crowd of diverse people.

“Normally, you’re just sitting in a classroom, talking about physics homework or whatever with a lot of the people you see in school,” Philpott said. “But being able to talk to people who I would have just seen in class in a dance setting is very different but also very cool.”

Wong, who began dancing in college, said he really enjoys the social aspect of dance and sharing his passion with others.

“Mainly it’s sharing things that I love, which I think is the place to teach from,” Wong said. “If you love what you do, then it’s easier to teach and it’s easier to get people on board. Swing is something that I’ve always loved and wished more people knew, so this is a nice way to fulfill that dream.”