The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

West Coast Swing sashays into Louis’ Loft

By in Culture

ÉMILIE LOPEZ

For those who love to dance, instructors Lorne Jensen and Katie Keller will be happy to welcome you to the world of West Coast Swing.

If you have never heard of this social dance, sashay on over to Louis’ Loft to learn the very basic steps. The beginner lesson lasts one hour, followed by an intermediate level lesson from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. After the lessons are over, you can freely practice what you have just learned in a friendly and inviting atmosphere.

You don’t have to come in pairs nor do you need to register beforehand — don’t be afraid to come alone. West Coast Swing is a very good way to meet new people of different ages and horizons, to have fun, exchange stories, develop confidence and also to hone one’s own dancing style.

West Coast Swing is a variation of the Swing and Lindy Hop dances, created by Dean Collins during the 1940s on the western coast of the United States. Its influence developed in the 1950s with the newfound popularity of rock music. It is a kind of soft version of traditional swing — which is more sophisticated and lacks as much kick, but keeps the same rhythmic basis.

You don’t need a background in dance to learn West Coast Swing. Simply come as you are! Since West Coast Swing uses different kinds of music — blues, acoustic and a vast contemporary category — you will find something that suits you and enjoy swinging to your favourite artists such as Shakira, Maroon 5 and Macklemore. Once you master the basic steps, you will completely let go and improve your style. After that, you will be able to practice West Coast Swing at student parties and impress your friends with this classy, fun and sexy dance.

Besides the regular lessons they give at the Loft, Jensen and Keller recently participated in a West Coast Swing flashmob on Sept. 6. They teach free lessons in the Toon Town Tavern every Thursday evening. With West Coast Swing Saskatoon, a local dance club, they also organize workshops throughout the year and invite other professional dancers from other parts of the world to join them.

The next event on their schedule takes place Oct. 24 to 26 and features the d’Amicos, a talented group of dancers from Texas. This kind of show is a great opportunity to watch high-level performances, participate in competition for fun, gain some dance tips from excellent instructors and share your interest — or perhaps even your passion — for West Coast Swing with other aficionados, beginners or professionals from Saskatoon or even Europe. As West Coast Swing is a dance that is spread all over the world, dancers from every continent gather for the events in official competitions as well as casual dance events like the West Coast Swing convention Return of the D’Amicos.

Local and international students are more than welcome to join the small community of dancers who meet to swing the night away. You won’t be disappointed by West Coast Swing’s special charm. It is a real source of pleasure and you will undoubtedly appreciate the feeling of freedom that you are able to share with your partner, whomever he or she may be.

Put on your dancing shoes and head over to Louis’ Loft on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to midnight to take part in some West Coast Swing.

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