Getting into the swing of things

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As high school students in Irvine, we often find ourselves asking each other the same question: “What do you want to do?” This is usually answered in a small variety of ways. One: “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” Two: “I don’t know, we can get food…” Or three: “There is nothing to do here!”

If you grew up in Irvine, you may be all too familiar with this pattern because it is difficult to find interesting activities to do in our small community.   A group of students from UHS, including myself, has found a perfect solution to this problem. Swing dancing consists of 6 steps. Like traditional ballroom dancing, the man leads, and the woman follows.

As eager as I was to master these steps, I was simply an observer when I first started attending the dances. I watched all the pretty girls with their vintage hairstyles and envied their circle skirts gliding straight out as they turned. I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to be as good as they are and dance like they do. Everybody on the dance floor inspired me because they were mostly regulars who have been dancing for years. I committed to going every Friday night because the more often I went, the more the people would begin to remember me and ask me to dance.

I learn new things each time I go. Even now, after dancing there for a year and a half, I still learn new moves from people. But I did have a moment when I realized I had finally become one of them. I am now just as good as anyone else There. The transformation happened to me, and it can happen to you too.

The music and the people are really what motivate me to go.  All the dancers are so generous as they try to help others improve instead of just worrying about themselves. Swing dancing is a team sport in every sense of the word. I learned to be more social by meeting new, different people and connecting with each other through the unique passion we all share.

When asked why she goes to dance every week, Aki Barber (Sr.) said, “It is really nice to have a secret talent that nobody knows about, and there is something about trying something new and becoming good at it. It is something that I really enjoy doing with my friends.”

If the dancing itself does not spark your interest, you may take advantage of swing dancing as an amazing way of getting exercise.  Honestly, swing dancing does not even feel like exercise. I know most of us do not have the motivation to run on a treadmill for 20 minutes or go to the gym, so why not stay active through swing dancing? Lauren McClain (Sr.) said, “It is such a fun way to burn calories!”

But for me, swing dancing will always be a place where I can relax, let go of all my worries and just enjoy myself. Now, I know you are wondering, where does a place like this exist? The Atomic Ballroom, a small ballroom located near the John Wayne Airport, offers classes and holds social dances every week. The swing dancing nights are on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.

If you are ever asking yourself what to do on a Tuesday or Friday night, just come on down to the Atomic to learn a new skill and meet some new people.

By EMILY MIYAOKA
Staff Writer

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