On any given Wednesday, as many as 50 people will lindy hop and jitterbug the night away at the weekly meet-up of UT-Swing, the University of Toronto’s swing dance club. Active since 2007, the group brings together neophytes and budding Fred Astaires and Lena Hornes from the university and wider community to promote swing, a partnered dance popular in the 1920s through the 1950s.
“People show up week after week, no matter what tests or essays they have,” says UT-Swing president Hannah Bild-Enkin, a fourth-year psychology student at University College. “The reason they get hooked is the community. Swing dancers are a quirky, passionate bunch!”
In January, UT-Swing celebrated its eighth weekend-spanning social dance with workshops and classes, and a ball on Saturday. Outfitted in vintage garb, about 300 dancers gathered at Toronto’s Dovercourt House to two-step their spectator shoes and swish their pin curls to tunes from a live 15-piece jazz band.
“I’ve had people come up to me to say, ‘This is the club I’ve been looking for,’” says Bild-Enkin. “UT-Swing is a great way to find community on campus that translates to an off-campus community. It’s fun, social, physical, and it can be a hobby for the rest of your life.”
Watch U of T swing dancing… we’ve got a club for that!
Video by: University of Toronto