By Natalie Deford, Guest Writer
With growing membership and new music, the Pacific Lutheran University Swing Club club is expanding its array of events by hosting a renowned Seattle dance instructor.
“Peter Flahiff, besides being a gentleman, wonderful person and amazing dresser,” Swing Club president Katrina Watson said, “is one of the best swing dance teachers in the northwest.”
Flahiff approached Watson about doing a couple of workshops while he was in town this month, and Watson jumped at the chance.
This Monday and again on Oct. 28, Flahiff will be giving a free workshop series in Lindy-Hop.
Lindy-Hop is a dance that evolved with the jazz music of the 1920s and ’30s. It is faster and more advanced than the usual basic step taught by the Swing Club.
Both workshops will begin at 8 p.m. in The Cave, and all PLU students and community are welcome to attend, no experience or partner required.
The workshops are beginner workshops, suitable for anyone interested in dancing. This means teaching will include the basic step for Lindy-Hop, the Lindy-Hop ‘swing out,’ and some basic turns. There will also be partner rotation and in-depth technical instruction for both leading and following.
“It’s whatever Peter feels like teaching, and instructors at his level are great at reading the crowd, so it will go at a good pace for everyone,” Watson said.
Afterward, there will be time to practice what is taught and to have fun dancing.
Watson said workshops like these are longer than a traditional class, so learning is quick and easy.
“People are really impressed when you tell them you’ve only been dancing for a couple weeks when it seems like you’ve been dancing for a month or so,” Watson said.
Swing Club has many other new things to offer this year as well, including bonus lessons, new music, membership focus, field trips, community outreach and more.
Watson, who said she is really excited for Swing Club this year, said [said twice in one sentence], “we are growing a lot, in numbers as well as passion.”
The club has more leaders this year, which makes it easier to have bigger events.
Besides the workshops, Watson said the club will be performing at David Joyner’, a professor of music and director of jazz studies, jazz festival in February, volunteering to dance and teach at a retirement home. She also said she hopes to put something together for DANCE2014.
Also new this year is Swing Club’s DJ, junior Campbell Brett, who said he will continue to “read the crowd and cue up tracks and blend them together in order to keep the audience happy, excited and dancing” at club meetings.
Brett plays a combination of classical swing, new age swing and music that can be can be described as blues or fusion.
The club now offers lessons on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. for anyone unable to attend the Monday club meetings.
Monday meetings are in The Cave from 8-11 p.m. and include a review of the previous weeks’ lesson, a new lesson, a beginner lesson, a social swing dance and a fusion dance. Watson gives a crash course in fusion, or “blues,” dancing every week.
Watson said the Swing Club’s new membership this year has already surpassed expectations, and the club hopes for a large turnout at the Peter Flahiff workshops as well.
Anyone is more than welcome to attend any Swing Club event at any time, and more information can be found on the club’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/PLUSwing/.