For this week’s Northrop MOVES Online edition, I am happy to share with you some exciting events related to swing dancing! I’m Kat Keljik, the Campus and Community Engagement Coordinator at Northrop and for me, swing dancing has always been an expression of joy. I was lucky to join a group of Lindy Hoppers when I was in high school, and have enjoyed every minute of learning the dance form since. It isn’t a dance form you often see on stages, but it’s a social dance found in jazz clubs, dance halls, and occasionally in a 1940s-styled airplane hangar with a big band playing as the main attraction. So, to get the news that Northrop would be presenting Swing Out as part of our (virtual) season, I was thrilled! Here is swing dancing finally getting its spotlight.
As an Engagement Coordinator, I help to coordinate interactive opportunities with folks on and off campus. We create deeper connections with our audiences and our visiting dance companies that can foster mutual respect and inspiration. With Swing Out, we have the unique opportunity to work with the self-described “brain trust” of artists this fall as we pivot plan for their performance next season as part of the Northrop Centennial Commissions. There are so many exciting events and ways for folks to be involved with the artists through the month of October.
Kicking off the series, Northrop presented a Meet-the-Artists Panel on Fri, Oct 2 with the brain trust of Swing Out, followed by a meeting of teaching artists and participants in the Artistic Exchange program. The Artistic Exchange was an application process, in which anyone could apply to learn with the team of Swing Out for one-on-one instruction. Each paired teaching artist and participant will spend five hours together (virtually) and the experience will culminate in a sharing session on Wed, Oct 28. We received applications from 17 countries!
Also, as part of the Spotlight Series, dancers LaTasha Barnes and Gaby Cook explore the roots of Lindy Hop, swing, and vernacular jazz in a program titled Identities and the Creative Processes. These dance traditions are part of African-American history, but have also become part of a larger global community that reflect a multiplicity of identities. The entire six-part Spotlight Series examines topics of identities and polarization. Please tune in on Thu, Oct 8 for that discussion.
I really hope you do join us for a Solo-Jazz Dance Class on Sat, Oct 10. Lindy Hopper Nathan Bugh will guide a class through some simple solo routines, so that we can dance on our own (together while also safely apart). You might find a love for this dance form like I did all those years ago and experience the joy of swing dancing!
Until then, stay cool hepcats!