Club Downunder brings swing and soul to campus with ‘Dory’s Jazz Club’
The Roaring Twenties have come to FSU in full swing at Dory’s Jazz Club, the collaborative experience hosted by Club Downunder, featuring dance performances from the Swing Dance Club and music from the Graduate Jazz Ensemble. This event took place on September 1 and gave students the opportunity to put on their finery and enjoy an evening of swing dancing lessons and incredible jazz concerts.
The evening began with dance lessons led by Swing Dance Club President Artemis Phipps and dance instructor Skyler Lewis. Participants were encouraged to join the swing circle regardless of experience level, and instructors provided tutorials for basic swing dance sequences as the group went along, swapping partners after the dance. progression of each sequence.
“It was pretty daunting at first, trying to learn the moves while dancing with people I had never met before,” said junior Emilie Widarsson. “But the instructors were really encouraging and very engaging, so by the end of the lesson I felt so much more confident in my skills.”
Swing dancing originated in the 1920s during the Harlem Renaissance, and the jazz genre that was popularized at the time is what inspires the rhythmic prancing movements that make up popular swing dances such as Lindy Hop and Charleston. .
“All the spirit of the dance is alive [and] adorable,” Phipps shared. “The feeling of dancing around so many people and getting into the spirit will make you feel like you want to do this forever. You meet friends, you meet partners, and you have a good time.
After the initial dance lesson, guests were invited to a performance by the nationally acclaimed Graduate Jazz Ensemble featuring a select handful of musicians. It was difficult for attendees to find seats as the hall was filling up with every passing minute and more and more people were arriving to enjoy the music. The ensemble performed traditional and modern jazz pieces as well as several bossa nova-style songs, and participants who had already taken the swing dance lessons danced together on the open floor.
Phipps tells us that the Swing Dance Club is open to anyone who loves to dance, regardless of their level of experience. “It’s a fun thing to do on a Friday night,” Phipps said. “Some people are tired of going out to nightclubs, and others are looking for another way to relax on the weekends, so we’re here to provide that option and there’s absolutely no commitment. You don’t need to audition, you don’t need any type of dance experience, and it’s a no-stakes environment that offers a dance experience at no cost. If you’re looking to get your foot in the door dance, come join us.
Students interested in joining the Swing Dance Club or just trying their hand at dancing are encouraged to join, and each week the club meets on Friday nights at 8 p.m. in room 114 of the Housewright Music Building.
“We were super excited when Club Downunder approached us to teach for this event and collaborating with other clubs and organizations is one of our favorite things,” Lewis said. “If you’re looking to learn swing, blues, or other adjacent dances, that’s where we come in, and we love the opportunity to introduce people to dance.”