Senior's project all about swing dance

Free classes open to public
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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A new dance craze is taking Del Oro High School students by storm. The dance has nothing to do with grinding or freaking and everything to do with having fun. Del Oro senior Christian Freed is teaching swing dance classes in the school cafeteria for his senior project. The lanky 17-year-old learned how to swing dance 2 years ago and is a convert to the retro music, styles and dance moves that go with this hand-holding form of dance. More than 30 students showed up to Christian’s first swing dance class last Thursday night. Some were complete beginners and some more experienced, but all were willing to learn and practice skills with their ever-changing partners as Christian and his assistant Charlene Molino demonstrated some basic moves. Christian said over the course of the classes he hopes to teach both East Coast and West Coast swing along with the Lindy Hop and Balboa. “I want to introduce people to how much fun partner dancing is. Dancing is a passion and introducing people to it is a side effect of that passion,” Christian said. Christian said he was introduced to swing dance 2o years ago when his friend had a birthday party at Midtown Stomp at the Sacramento Eastern Star Ballroom. Alicia Foster, 17, said she took a swing dance class with Christian at Sierra College. Now, she and Christian are part of a group of about 20 Del Oro students who make their way to the Sacramento club every week for swing dancing. Christian’s younger brother, Branson, a freshman, tagged along to the club about 6 months ago and now is hooked. “It was hard at first. After a while it just comes to you,” said Branson. Branson said Friday nights at the club will find him dancing with partners ages eight to 80. “I love the music and the connection with people. You learn something new when you dance with the older people,” he said. Branson said he now likes all kinds of music including jazz and swing. Some of his favorite artists are Cab Calloway, the Andrew Sisters, the Mills Brothers and the new swing bands. When swing dancing, couples hold hands as opposed to placing their hands on their partners’ shoulders or waist, as ballroom dancers do. Experienced dancers include lifts, spins and flips in their routines. Swing began in the 1920s with couples dancing the Charleston and Lindy Hop to jazz music. It evolved and grew over the years to include the Jitterbug, Boogie-Woogie and has been adapted to all types of music. Christian invites people of all ages to take his free classes at 7 p.m., Thursdays, March 10, 17 and 24. For more information, call 652-7243. --------------------- SWING DANCE CLASSES What: One-hour swing dance classes as a senior project When: 7 p.m., March 10, 17 and 24 Where: Del Oro cafeteria Cost: Free Phone: 652-7243