Swing Dance club twirls around the courtyard

Students socialize with friends and learn new dance moves.


Aaron Fooks//THE CHIMES (file)

Emily Justiniano and Andrew Schundler practice their swing dance moves.

Patricia Yang, Staff Writer

Every Friday evening, members of Biola’s Swing Dance Club twirl around in pairs in the library courtyard. The Swing Dance club, currently headed by a team of seven leaders, was founded in 2014 by several students who wished to share the joys of swing dancing. 

Hannah Jensen, sophomore English major and member of the leadership team, explained the history of this dance style.

“[Swing dance] is a type of partner dance. It’s very lively,” Jensen said. “It was developed sometime early in the 20th century [and] became popular in the ‘40s and ‘50s.”

Two of Jensen’s favorite swing dance moves are the Belt Loop, where one partner twirls back and forth over the other partner, and the Cuddle, where the two partners twirl close together. 

Jensen explained there are different styles of swing dance, two of which are East Coast and West Coast. 

“We tend to do East Coast style at our club,” Jensen said. “They’re pretty similar though — East Coast is a little more structured and West Coast a bit more flowy. There’s also Lindy Hop, which has its own little variations — but they’re all in the same general group. If we’re looking for a new move and we find a cool one from West Coast, we’ll be like, okay, so how does this fit into the timing and way of dancing we’re used to doing? So we’ll cross and adapt a little bit.”


Each meeting starts off with leadership team members teaching club members a few swing dance moves. 

“Every club meeting will basically start with teaching a lesson that involves one or two, or more new moves that we haven’t taught yet this semester,” Jensen said. “The way swing dance is, there’s not a prescribed [pattern]. There’s a basic step and then lots of different moves that can come out of that and combine into many variations.”

The Swing Dance club leadership meets beforehand to discuss the types of moves they want to teach each week. 

“Usually when we teach two or three moves, we try to find some connection between them so that it’s not [difficult] to go from one move to another,” Jensen said.

Jensen had previously dabbled in a couple different types of dances before, so she was excited to learn swing dance. After learning some new moves, club members enjoy what they call “social dancing,” where they talk, dance and socialize freely together. 

By now, Jensen has been involved with the club for over a year. 

“I started coming to swing dance at the beginning of my freshman year,” Jensen said. “I started coming pretty regularly at the beginning of the year, then very regularly by the end of the year. I joined leadership this fall.”

One thing Jensen especially enjoys about swing dance is that it is a partner dance. “It’s fun when you and your partner are involved and you both can be part of the moves,” Jensen said.

Jensen also loved the variety of people she met at Swing Dance club. “I really like the social aspect,” said Jensen. “It’s a really fun way to get to meet people that I wouldn’t otherwise encounter, because they may be people who are in different years or different majors. So I’ve made a lot of friends from there.”


This fall, the Swing Dance club hosted several special events.

“[We had a] costume party and taught a swing line dance around the end of October,” Jensen said. “And every semester, during the conference weekend, we’ll go to a ballroom in Irvine that does swing dance, which is a fun opportunity [to learn] from people who know way more about it than us.”

The Swing Dance club is working through plans for next semester. “I’m sure we’ll go to the ballroom again during the Missions Conference. We often have a Valentine’s Day party. And if we can, it’ll be fun to have an [alumnus] come as a guest and teach,” Jensen said.

If you are interested in getting involved in Swing Dance, join the club on the Biola App or DM the team on Instagram to get started.

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