Many people are aware that Eastern Michigan University is home to over 300 student organizations and clubs, but between all the sports clubs and Greek life, there is the Ballroom Club/Swing Society hiding in the midst.
This may be because the club has gone through many incarnations and has been an on and off organization. According to the club’s president, Steven McClary, members are trying to revive the club and make it persevere.
The purpose of the club is to bring in many EMU students, staff, faculty and alumni and improve their skill in the many forms of ballroom dance. Membership is as simple as going onto the student organization page on the emich.edu website and sending a request; everyone gets approved.
The Ballroom Club/Swing Society accepts members regardless of race, age and religion. They just want people who are willing to learn, which means that people who have two left feet are still welcome. There are no membership fees, but members do have to pay to get into events.
On paper, the club is comprised of 62 members, but McClary revealed that only about 15 of those are active members who come to the events consistently. They are trying to weed out the inactive members to make the gap between paper and actual much smaller.
The Ballroom Club/Swing Society is fairly involved both on and off campus. They generally meet Mondays and Wednesdays between dance classes at 11:50 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:20 – 2 p.m. in room 212 of the Rec/IM.
At 7 p.m. Nov. 30, the club will host a swing workshop and dance, which will last for about an hour. After the lessons, participants can show off their new dance moves during the open dance, which will last until 11 p.m. It will only cost $3 for a night of fun, and refreshments will be provided.
In the past, the society has even worked with sororities to sharpen their skills. The club also frequents Sky Lounge which is a free event hosted by Campus Life. The next Sky Lounge is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Nov. 1 in the Student Center room 300.
The Ballroom Club will celebrate Latino Heritage with the EMU Center for Multicultural Affairs at Salsa Night, which takes place at 8 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Student Center Ballroom. The cost for the event is $5.
For those of you who don’t feel like leaving your dorm, the club is willing to come to dorms and hold lessons. In fact, they will be holding lessons Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. in Phelps and Sellers Residence halls.
While they are available for on campus dancing, the club goes on outings to multiple places off campus. The Phoenix Center, located on South Main Street in Ann Arbor, is one of their main stomping grounds. Every Friday the site holds lessons and open dance from 8 p.m. to midnight. The night focuses on lindy and blues and the cost is $3 for students and $5 for non-students.
At the same location, they also hold a west coast swing-dancing event one Friday every month. This includes lessons beginning at 8 p.m. followed by an open dance until midnight.
For the 21 and over crowd, the club visits Diamond Back Saloon for west coast swing, Texas two-step and line dancing. The Saloon is located on the North I-94 Service Drive in Belleville, Mich., and Friday nights from 8 – 9 p.m. they hold lindy and hip-hop swing lessons for $5.
While they participate in many of the dances listed above, the club also incorporates the foxtrot, triple time swing, waltz, urban/Detroit ballroom, tango, bachata, meringue and many more styles.
Although they are always involved in some type of dance event, the time commitment isn’t so intimidating for members. They are trying to establish a once a month business meeting, but people are always welcome to just show up at an event and dance until their feet hurt.
For more information about the Ballroom Club/Swing Society, you can email McClary at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Student
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